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The best video games for older people

30th September 2020

Video games are associated with younger people, but now older gamers make-up a large portion of the industry’s consumers. Research from 2019 revealed that 42% of Brits aged between 55 and 64 and one in four (27%) of people aged 65+ have played video games within the last five years.

With winter now on the horizon and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, lots of people will be spending more time indoors. Gaming is one activity you can try as it has many benefits with its complex controls and fast pace games providing a mental workout for older adults. People with mobility problems who need stairlifts or have movement issues in their hands can now enjoy playing video games with technology such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller specially made with extra-large buttons and joysticks making gaming more accessible.

From action and adventure games to sports and role-playing games, there are so many different video games that older people can play. This guide looks at the best games for older gamers.

Best video games for older gamers

  • The Professor Layton games
  • Old Man's Journey and Wide Ocean Big Jacket
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Wii Sports
  • PGA Tour 2K21
  • Flower

The Professor Layton games

Available on: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS

If you’re looking for puzzling adventures, crafty conundrums and baffling brainteasers, then the Layton series of games are perfect for you.

Diane Hutchinson, the editor of Girl Gamers UK, highly recommends older people try out this series of games.

“Video games are a great hobby for all ages as they can help with things like eye/hand coordination and memory. However, not all games will appeal to all players. For older gamers, I would definitely recommend games with little or no urgency. The Professor Layton games have always been popular, with their fun stories and multitude of puzzles.”

There are lots of different games which are a part of the series and these include:

  • Professor Layton and the Curious Village
  • Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box/Pandora's Box
  • Professor Layton and the Lost Future
  • Professor Layton and the Last Specter/Spectre's Call
  • Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
  • Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
  • Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
  • Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

Old Man's Journey and Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Available on: Android, Nintendo Switch and iOS (Old Man’s Journey). Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS (Wide Ocean Big Jacket)

One of the reasons some older people are playing video games more is to improve their memory. Old Man’s Journey is one such game that is about memory and old age as players help a grandfather-figure navigate the countryside. Along the journey, you will find out about the grandfathers’ fascinating life!

The Wide Ocean Big Jacket game is unique as it focuses on the conversations you often have while camping. Players follow teenage friends Mord and Ben, who have recently begun to date one another, and their camping trip with Mord’s uncle Brad and aunt Cloanne. In the game you will be roasting hot dogs on the fire, telling ghost stories and visiting the local beach whilst talking about topics ranging from nature and the best ingredients for your hot dog.

Andy Robertson is a Freelance Journalist and runs the Family Video Game Database and he shared his thoughts on why older people should play video games, especially Old Man's Journey and Wide Ocean Big Jacket.

“Video games are a brilliant way for the old and young to connect. Intergeneration games like Ibb and Obb, Deep Time Walk and Abzu offer a powerful way to spend time with grandchildren.

“Some specific games are also a good way to consider getting older. Video games about ageing may sound a bit morbid but actually offer new ways to be hopeful and positive about the latter part of life. Games like Old Man's Journey and Wide Ocean Big Jacket ask interesting questions of what we value about life.”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Available on: Nintendo Switch

The fifth main title in the Animal Crossing series allows players to customise their character who moves to a deserted island. You are then able to create your own personal island paradise and can explore it by gathering and crafting items, catching insects and fish and developing the island into a community of animals.

Diane explains why it is a great game to play for people of all ages.

“More recently though, Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch, a game in which the player tends their own island while enjoying many relaxing activities, from fishing to gardening, is a game that people young and old could sink hundreds of hours into, and it is regularly updated to bring new events and features.”

Wii Sports

Available on: Nintendo Wii

Although this game was released way back in 2006 and in today’s standards could be deemed as simple, the success it has had is unquestionable with it being estimated that more than 82 million copies of the game have been sold worldwide.

Players can select one of five sports (tennis, golf, bowling, boxing, or baseball) and then you are able to use the Wii remote to mimic playing the sport in real life. You can swing the remote like you swing a golf club, play a stroke in tennis or throw a punch in boxing.

The game has the benefit of getting players up onto their feet and has been known to improve players co-ordination and balance. It is a classic game but is still regarded as one of the best video games for older gamers.

If you are looking for a more modern game, then Ring Fit Adventure is another game you should consider buying. The fitness game for Nintendo Switch uses a Pilates ring and leg strap to track your movements and sees players take on the role of an athlete, exploring a world and fighting monsters on your way to defeating a buff dragon boss.

PGA Tour 2K21

Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Sticking with the sports theme, golf is one of the world’s most popular sports and is a favourite pastime for many retired people. If you are a big golf fan, the PGA Tour 2K21 game allows you to play against the pros in the all-new PGA Tour career mode.

Players can play against Justin Thomas and 11 top pros on real-life courses including TPC Sawgrass, East Lake Golf Club, and more. You can even create your own player and pick the equipment and apparel from brands you love as well as being able to design your own course.

If you suffer from mobility problems and struggle to play golf nowadays or with the weather turning bad over the winter months, you can instead play PGA Tour 2K21 with friends in online matches.


Available on: PlayStation consoles, PC

This game allows players to glide through a world of subtle mysteries that you can explore at your own pace.

Flower sees players carry a cluster of colourful flower petals around diverse landscapes and you can witness the petals take on a life of their own. During the game you will fly above lush fields and rolling countryside. Along your journey will be given a number of objectives that you must try and achieve, but one of the great things about the game is that there is no time limit so you can casually explore the different landscapes.

That Video Game Blog has reviewed the Flower game and said: “Flower has been described as an interactive poem that evokes emotion from players who experience it. Like most poems, the levels in Flower range from gentile, peaceful environments to utterly depressing landscapes. Players are left with a brilliant example of a game that doesn’t have to be difficult or overly suggestive to leave an impression.”

There are lots of benefits for older adults who play video games as it helps tackle loneliness and depression and can keep the likes of dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay for longer. If you have mobility problems and need home stairlifts, then there are games that encourage you to get up and be active. The aforementioned video games are challenging and fun and are some of the best games for older gamers.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only and are up to date as of the time of publishing