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The Truth About Older People Playing Games

You might think video games are a young person's hobby; that Skyrim is for the twenty-somethings and crossword puzzles are for the senior citizens. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Older gamers are increasingly streaming on Twitch and showing up in various games. And despite their age, they're showing no signs of slowing down.

Take Audrey Buchanan, for instance. She's an 88-year-old who starts her day with breakfast and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Her carpal tunnel makes holding her Nintendo 3DS XL a challenge, but rather than quit, she simply puts the portable on her counter so she can keep playing.

"I don't want to disappoint my animals," Buchanan told NBC News.

Plus, we all know how that Tom Nook guy gets when he wants his money.

Or what about Will, the 66-year-old who calls himself "GrndPaGaming" on Twitch? Will has nearly 200,000 followers on the platform, where he treats his viewers to matches of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. And despite suffering a heart attack in mid-2018, Will is still at it, because he appreciates the way streaming helps him connect with others.

"It's literally opened up the world to me," Will said.

And then there's Shirley Curry, the 83-year-old Skyrim player that everyone has probably heard of by now. Curry didn't just pick up gaming one day and start with Bethesda's hit RPG. She actually got into games decades ago with Civilization 2. Of course, Curry didn't become an internet celebrity until she started uploading her Skyrim playthroughs to YouTube, where over 700,000 subscribers have signed up to watch her play. And she's still very much sharing those videos. On top of that, her fandom has earned her a spot as a character in a future Bethesda game.

"I know if I wasn't playing games, I would just be sitting here at home, quilting, reading," Curry said.

All that sounds fun. But shouting down a dragon? Way better.

Audrey, Will, and Shirley are just three examples. But there are many more senior gamers out there. Some are playing Rocket League. Others are looking for raid help in Destiny 2. Others still are cracking open their Astral Chain cases today to see what that's all about. So keep your eyes and ears open the next time you sign in for a round of your favorite game, and go easy on the "old" jokes: you never know who else might be playing.