Games old people play

Games old people play

Grandma and grandpa are joining the wave in video and computer games as makers step up efforts to promote the software as exercise for the brain.

Based on growing scientific evidence, certain types of game-playing is increasingly being viewed as calisthenics for the brain that can be especially useful for seniors at risk of memory loss, dementia and various vision problems.

Makers of computer-based and online programmes aimed at the elderly have been growing, while Japanese giant Nintendo has sold more than 8.6 million copies, including 1.4 million in the US, of its Brain Age programmes for its DS game console.

Nintendo says it makes no specific health claims for Brain Age games, but the programmes, which were developed by Japanese neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima and include tasks in memory, mathematics, reading and even music, are “challenging exercises to get users’ brains pumping".

The company says the games are designed to stimulate the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex which helps apply stored knowledge to everyday skills.