Senior Online Gamers: Passing the Time and Fine-Tuning the Mind
Farmville. Boggle Bash. Spades. Bejeweled Blitz. Scrabble. Mafia Wars. If you’re on Facebook, you probably recognize these games (and if you’re like me, you have hidden more than your share of the feeds of your gamer friends). Though online games are enjoyed by people of all ages, one group has emerged as the most fervent fan base of popular online gaming Web site Pogo.com: baby boomers and senior women.
I had a chance to chat with a few of these gaming aficionados about their passion for Pogo – in between games, of course.
What They Play … and Why
Caryl Derenfeld is a certified laughter yoga leader and teacher trainer and the owner of Learned Conversations, Inc., a business dedicated to seniors. Every night before she goes to bed, the 52-year-old plays Scrabble; Spades; and Poppit, an arcade game. “It keeps my mind working,” Derenfeld says, “and my goal is to get more than 400 points, which I have on many occasions.”
Ann Middleman, a 50-plus fan of online Sudoku, has played the game all night long on more than one occasion. Intermittently, she’ll complete crossword puzzles online, but, as she puts it, “you do one and it’s done.”
The continuity of Sudoku is what draws her in, and she’s constantly trying to beat her best time. Middleman prefers online games to watching TV – after a long day at work, her way to veg is with a good game of Sudoku on her Netbook. “It takes some thinking and skill. You don’t need anyone else to play, and you can put it down anytime (ha!).”
For 51-year-old blogger Susan Tordella, online bridge is her obsession: “I’m totally hooked,” she says. “I play several times a week and don’t care if I play bridge ‘live’ anymore.” Tordella has been a fan of the game for most of her life, but she could never play as often as she liked. To play a good game, she
says, you need four people of somewhat equal ability — and coordinating four people on a regular basis is a complex game in itself. Enter online bridge: “There’s no planning. Just sign on, a few clicks and I’m in a game – fantastic!”
“I play on Pogo every day,” says S. Arnold. Arnold’s son signed her up for the site after she had surgery for breast cancer, and gaming became an effective form of physical therapy. “I love it,” she says. “I play Word Search, Boggle Bash, Monopoly Slots, Yahtzee Party, Lottso Express, and Keno every day, as well as any other weekly games for badges.”
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