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Victor LoBello, 63, competes in a Nintendo Wii bowling league at Giovan’s, a restaurant in Crest Hill, Ill. - Image courtesy New York Times
Nintendo console bowling over the geriatric

The Nintendo Wii continues to cross the once-thought to be impossible barrier: age. Nintendo, traditionally a company focused on the younger spectrum of gamers, is experiencing unparalleled success amongst the elderly. In February, the Wii became latest rage at the Sedgebrook retirement community in Lincolnshire.

The latest success story of the Wii comes from Greenspring Village Community in Springfield, Virginia, where retirees have quickly grown fond of Wii Sports. Not only is the entire video game industry, including Nintendo, surprised at Wii’s broad appeal, but retirees are surprised at the fact that they are now part of the video game demographic.

“I'm 82 years old, so I missed that part of our culture. Soap operas, yes. Video games, no,” said Ruth Ebert, part of the Greenspring Village Community. “It was funny, because normally I would not be someone who would do that,” she said, referring to playing video games.

Ebert one day picked up the Wii Remote to try Wii Tennis, which reminded her of younger days when she played the sport. “I played tennis, if you can call it that, as a high school student. I had such fun doing it,” she said.

Baltimore-based Erickson Retirement Communities manages more than 18 retirement establishments around the country with 19,000 residents is installing Wii consoles in each of its locations, according to the New York Times.

Although Wii Sports consists of five different activities, Wii Bowling appears to be the most popular in the upper age bracket. Flora Dierbach, 72, helps organize Wii Bowling tournaments in Erickson Retirement Communities in Chicago and tells of the virtues of virtual bowling. “It's a very social thing and it's good exercise ... and you don't have to throw a 16-pound (7.25-kg) bowling ball to get results,” said Dierbach to Reuters. “We just had a ball with it. You think it's your grandkids' game and it's not.”

Wii Bowling is also spreading to those outside retirement homes. Dick Norwood, 61, owner of a Wii and privy to its features, convinced a local Italian restaurant to being a seniors-only Wii Bowling League, where nine couples now show up for every Thursday.

“When I started calling people about it, they had no idea what I was talking about, and they were laughing at me saying, ‘You want to start a bowling league on a video game in a bar?’” Norwood told the New York Times. “Well, we got there the first time, and we were there for six solid hours. In the past, I probably would have agreed that video games are just for kids. But I’ll tell you, at our age when you bowl for real, you wake up with aches and pains. Those balls aren’t light. But with this you’re getting good exercise, but you’re not aching the next day.”

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By kyparrish on 4/3/2007 6:02:35 PM , Rating: 3
I'm all for spreading the Wii-love, but it feels like every day or every other day there is another story about Wii's in retirement homes, cruise ships, restaurants, etc. We get it, it's pulling in non-traditional gamers!

How about a story of where I could actually FIND a Wii, as they have been non-existent in my part of North Carolina since the system launched.

RE: Again?
By deeznuts on 4/3/2007 6:07:59 PM , Rating: 5
We get it, it's pulling in non-traditional gamers!
The Wii. So simple even a cavem... i mean retirees can play it.

J/k guys don't get your panties in a bunch! Rate it down rate it down...

RE: Again?
By knowyourenemy on 4/4/2007 8:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
The Wii. So simple even a cavem... i mean retirees can play it.

I'll give you a point for that, ha ha!

RE: Again?
By Goo on 4/3/2007 6:11:28 PM , Rating: 4
Nintendo should release a sport channel so those retirees can bowling with their old friends around the world.

RE: Again?
By fic2 on 4/3/2007 8:24:12 PM , Rating: 2
I have been thinking about getting a Wii for my 77 yo dad. I think he would enjoy it, but only if he could play against other people from around the world. I can't really see him playing by himself or trying to talk friends into coming over for video games.

RE: Again?
By brandontres on 4/4/2007 1:35:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm hoping Nintendo will release and updated version, possibly with more sports, with online play. It'd be nice if they'd just give free copies of an online version if you registered your Wii online or something. I think that Nintendo is aware that people want online play.

Think of it:
Senior citizen bowling leagues from around the world competing.

Nintendo would just have to simplify the friend code process so it wouldn't be a painstaking task, but they're pretty adamant about those codes... We'll just have to wait and see what happens!

RE: Again?
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 10:20:01 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. They should charge a small amount to make Wii sports online when their online service finally is up and running. Maybe 100 Wii points or something like that.

RE: Again?
By bunnyfubbles on 4/4/2007 1:59:40 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter how sick of it you are, more articles on news like this is indication that the Wii is not a mere fad. The more news like this the more we know the Wii is here to stay, maybe even become top dog of this generation of the consoles.

If you don't like reading about it, don't click the link.

RE: Again?
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 10:25:32 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, we have more people on this page that piss and moan about the anti Sony articles that this website (and practically all other websites) have been posting in the last year. I guess when George Carlin said "the public sucks" he was right in most cases. Way too many people that post here won't just go away and find a news site that is biased toward the game system they like. And I say biased because trust me, if you think ANY news site is "fair and balanced", then think again. Everyone on the web is out to promote their own agenda. If you don't agree, just move on.

RE: Again?
By h0kiez on 4/4/2007 11:05:57 AM , Rating: 2
It's amazing that nearly every site I frequent with forums of one type or another (dailytech, ars, various "hot deal" sites, digg) all have posters saying that that particular site is a bunch of Nintendo fanboys and Sony haters. Maybe people are just paying attention.

RE: Again?
By Scorpion on 4/4/2007 12:56:43 PM , Rating: 2

It's just like how all of the mainstream News media picks up on stories usually relating to celebrities, rather than a more meaningful spectrum of news. I would say that DT does a fair job of covering a broad spectrum. There are just a plethora of Sony news articles that mostly focus on the bad press, because honestly, the volume of good press just isn't there.

RE: Again?
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 10:17:54 AM , Rating: 2
How about a story of where I could actually FIND a Wii

Well, you'd have to have the morals of michal1980, but you could always rob a retirement community and get away with one.

RE: Again?
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 12:47:04 PM , Rating: 2

Wow, looks like the guy in this article may have tried to take my advice. It was a joke dude!

RE: Again?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/4/2007 3:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm....the article did not talk about a Wii, unless I missed that. However, have this interesting article:

Four American senior citizens on a cruise, on a stopover in Limon, Costa Rica, fought off a band of young muggers in February, and in fact one senior (age 70) killed one of the thugs (age 20) with his bare hands, according to an Associated Press report. [KXAS-TV (Fort Worth), 2-27-07] [Hamilton Spectator, 2-7-07] [CNN-AP, 2- 22-07]

Now, are you sure you want to steal a Wii from senior citizens, if it is the source of their happiness???

Elderly Computing
By Felofasofa on 4/3/2007 8:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
I set up a PC for an 81 year old, who had had a stroke. His hands shook so much he couldn't pause the cursor long enough over an icon, in order to click it. The tiny little Vista shutdown icon, forget it. It was very frustrating to watch, but it struck me that MS's latest GUI was next to useless for this guy. A Wii like remote driving the GUI would have been better.

RE: Elderly Computing
By Visual on 4/4/2007 4:26:16 AM , Rating: 3
there are trackballs, think he could manage that?
and how about a keyboard? teach him to tab around windows, alt-shortcuts, shutdown with winkey, u, enter... wait, there is a shutdown icon? i never knew! or did you mean the power button on the case? it works the same...

his hands are shaking and a wiimote would have been better? yeah sure, because it totally doesn't react to motion...

RE: Elderly Computing
By Visual on 4/4/2007 4:28:28 AM , Rating: 2
hey, i know! we need lightguns instead of mouses! old rangers are gonna love them!
still not good for shaky hands though... kids and old people love the Wii
By NotAok on 4/4/2007 9:38:51 AM , Rating: 2
But when is the Wii going to appeal to the hardcore gaming crowd?

RE: kids and old people love the Wii
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 10:47:41 AM , Rating: 3
Wake up NotAok, because to an extent, it does. Not EVERY 'hardcore' gamer loves the Wii, just like not every hardcore gamer likes the PSP, or the PS3, or the Xbox 360. Nintendo wanted to design games that were more fun and different than something only 14 year olds with a severe inferiority and anger complex would enjoy. They're bringing gaming into the mainstream, instead of trying to target a specific audience, and even though the hardcore audience might drop 500 bucks on a video card, or 100 dollars on a keyboard, the mainstream audience is MUCH larger and provides Nintendo with a much wider base of interest. It's like saying Wal-Mart sucks (in this case, Wal-Mart being Nintendo) and yeah, some things about wal mart suck, but with them appealing to SO many different people, and being cheap, they became the biggest company in the world. The bottom line is, to increase their bottom line in this market, they HAD to appeal to the masses because their name was already tarnished with several members of the 'hardcore' community. But when they found this mainstream audience, they struck gold. Sony and Microsoft will copy this whole strategy, if not just the motion sensing remote.

By Regs on 4/4/2007 10:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
I love life but I play Doom and Quake.

I was lucky and got a Wii a month ago ...
By psychobriggsy on 4/3/2007 8:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
But I'm still looking for a second Wiimote :(

I'll have to see how my parents like Wii Sports when they're next down.

By Phynaz on 4/3/2007 9:00:20 PM , Rating: 2 has WiiPlay in stock.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/4/2007 3:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
You can not find a second Wiimote, because I bought them all, HAHAHAHAHHAAHHA, and I'm not going to give them up...never, Never, NEVER!!!

What a great idea!
By Iroh on 4/4/2007 9:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
I don't know why I didn't think of this before.

Recently, I was thinking of some way to "give back" to the community.

I'm going to contact a local retirement home that I volunteered at in the early 90's and offer to bring our Wii over once a week for their use.

I don't play my Wii much anymore. My kids play it a few times a week, and at the same time, my kids may learn some lessons about sharing, generosity, and kindness.


RE: What a great idea!
By Ripvanwinkle on 4/4/2007 7:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
Good thought there Iroh! Much better than the crap posted buy the young pups that have nothing worth noting here that I can see. R_E_S_P_E_C_T. When they grow up their whining will be unchanged and just as worthless.

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