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Nuns get hooked on game therapy


PopCap has sent along word of the tragic downfall of the pious retirees at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Mississippi. A seemingly innocent copy of Bookworm burrowed its way into the souls of the elder sisters, clouding their prayers with garbled language and burning blocks. Then Bookworm led to harder addictions, like Bejeweled and Chuzzle; and now "games have become a regular -- and important -- part of daily life at St. Mary of the Pines." Blasphemy!

But seriously, for a culture that's become dependent on drugs to deal with the suffering associated with aging (and just about everything else), the prospect of casual gaming being used as practical therapy is refreshing news. We just wish someone other than a casual game distributor was spreading the word.

Fun "facts" for your next water cooler convo:

  • 47% of all casual game players are 50 or older, and nearly 20% are 60 or older
  • Of players 50 or older, 74% cited cognitive exercise (mental workouts), 86% noted stress relief, and 62% chose memory strengthening as benefits they experience from playing casual games
  • Fully 32% of respondents 50 or older said the games distract them from chronic pain/fatigue, and nearly one in ten said they derive actual relief from chronic pain/fatigue when playing
  • "Seniors" play casual games for longer periods of time, and more frequently, than younger players. 65% of players age 50 and up say they play the games on a daily basis, compared to less than half of younger players.
  • As the single most important reason for playing, subjects age 50 and up chose "stress relief/relaxation" (39%) and "mental workout" (21%)
  • 86% of older survey respondents said that they felt playing casual games offered them physical and/or mental health benefits, compared to 74% of under-50 respondents
  • Only 18% of subjects 50 or older selected action games as one of their genre preferences, compared to 50% of respondents under the age of 50
  • Older players chose puzzle (84%), word (66%), and card (57%) games as their top three genres of video games

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