Gaming industry for the young and old

I still haven’t figured out what those software companies that write for the extremely young (age three to eleven) and those that are now targeting the elderly, are smoking. As one that grew up with computers surrounding him all his life, I can say that the games that taught basic arithmetic were never as amusing as games that were developed for the sake of fun.
Why was that? Because number games aren’t FUN! (Not to mention the graphics sucked).


Any child at any age would rather play something fun. The key is to embed those skills into a game without having the player realize it’s there. Thus, challenging both the developer and the player into solving how to create a fun but non-invasive gaming form.
For example, games such as the Silent Hill series, Onimusha series, and even many of Square-Enix’s fine variety of RPGs have mini-games within the actual. There is no reason why these mini-games and/or puzzles throughout these games couldn’t be developed for the younger generation. Apply what you have for your gen-X to the younger gen-Y and Z and you’ll have yourself a winner without having to advertise it as “Play With Me, 1-2-3” or something else awful that gets backroom shelved as fast as it goes in the store. Yes, it’s possible to make an Yu-Gi-Oh adventure game that appeals to little kids, or even a Bob the Builder adventure game without having the learning lessons be so blatantly obvious.
Similarly, I had a discussion with my wonderful better half a while back about video games for the elderly. It definitely keeps the mind active and proven by the ever so eloquent Old Grandma Hardcore. She brings gaming to a new level because it makes people realize that just like movies, the elderly don’t NEED specially-made things for them (exceptions include DDR, certain EyeToy games, et al).
Arthritis might plague some of the elderly, but it doesn’t make them lose brain cells! Sheesh.
Many of the older generations do have a harder time grasping the console based controllers (just as our parents’ generation sometimes have issues with VCRs), but you get them into something such as World Championship Poker, or High Rollers Casino and they figure it out within a week on how all the buttons work. I’ve actually had the wonderful experience of watching someone that was not a technology advocate pick up the Playstation 2 controller within a week because of High Rollers Casino.
To dumb things down for the elderly is just insulting. The gaming industry needs to realize that the issue isn’t because of age. It’s because you haven’t touched on subjects that these folks love as hobbies. For instance, some of the generation that grew up in the 1920s through 1940s enjoy chess and checkers. Perhaps one marketable idea for this group would be to set up an Eyetoy and allow them to play against one another across the nation while chit-chatting about the times past. Then there are others that like the current blood and violence such as OGHC. These women and men fall into this large gaming ESRB market called “Mature”.
Find the medium that they enjoy and you’ll have yourself a great niche market. Until then, quit treating them like their sub-human. And as Tim St. Hilaire from OGHC would say:
Game on!