Getting Into Video Games At 80 Years Old


[WED APR 12; B2-B3; ’Pelimaailma avautuu vielä kahdeksankymppisenäkin’, Susanna Lähdekorpi]


Pirkko Mättö, 80, came to the game mornings because she was curious and wanted to learn something new. She says instructing has been professional and proper. In the picture, intern Jenni Penttinen helps Mättö. Photos: Esko Tuovinen


* At the Hämeenlinna City Library game mornings, senior citizens are casually guided into video games


The people look focused in the game room Bunkkeri.

Seven senior citizens have ventured to participate in the game morning, organized by the Hämeenlinna City Library. There, people can get introduced to various computer and video games.


The library arranges game mornings on every Thursday of April at 10-12, as an experiment.

– I came because I was curious. I want to learn new things so I can stay lively and involved. Then I can compete with my granddaughters, because grandma knows how to play, too! Laughs 80-year-old Pirkko Mättö.

She explains she uses computers fairly little, because her husband takes care of bill payments and email correspondence.

– I use it mainly to look for recipes, but I have played some Solitaire and solved Sudoku puzzles with it.

She has been guided by her two sons, both of whom are ”computer wizards”, Mättö says.


Pirkko Mättö had already done some careful exploration of new computer games during the morning. In addition to Solitaire and Wheel of Fortune, she had tried out a princess coloring game, a game involving fruit, and Bubble Shooter 2.

– The bubble one was my favorite, in which you shoot bubbles of a specific color. I learned that pretty fast. I have had to ask for help frequently, but the instructors have been patient, states Mättö.


Game nights for 13-20 year-olds as well as for those under 13 have been held at the library for a long time.

– We wanted to offer a possibility for seniors to learn gaming. Different ways of learning to use a computer and the Internet, and it can also be done through gaming. So many services are almost solely online now, so learning how to use the Internet has become a must for seniors as well, points out library informatician Hanna Kaisti.

– Gaming is at its best fun, useful, and easy. And we also have a social element: you can meet new people and have coffee together. We go over the simplest kind of games, so no one is required to know how to do anything beforehand, she adds.

During Spring, the library has arranged peer instructing for seniors. Volunteers have been helping seniors with using phones, tablets and digital services, but they’re on break until this Autumn.


The game mornings for seniors in April were planned by leading informatician Seija Shemeikka and intern Jenni Penttinen.

The games have been chosen by Penttinen, who also introduces them and guides the players in the game mornings.

– We go over one or two games per time. I’ve tried to find games of different kinds: action, sports, building games. Various browser games like Bubble Shooter 2 and GeoGuessr seem to be popular today. We’ve had a fun, relaxed, and excited atmosphere here, Penttinen describes.


Kari Laitinen, 66, is also participatiing in the game morning.

– This is completely new to me, a strange world. I’ve never played video games. I never had the interest, but one young boy got me into it. I would like to know how to play with him and speak the same language about games.

By the end of the first game morning, Laitinen’s opinion on computer and video games had changed entirely.

– I’d imagined these games were all about killing and breaking things apart. Those war games don’t interest me. My niece informed me that there are many other kinds, too. She’s been developing educational games.

Instead of war games, Laitinen was intrigued by GeoGuessr, in which the player gets placed randomly somewhere on Earth. The player then starts to move around nad figure out where in the world they are.

Laitinen also found dialect games interesting.

– This has been fascinating and so much fun. I’m happy to see what may come out of this. I’m going to attend every game morning that I can.



Game mornings for seniors

* At the Hämeenlinna City Library game room Bunkkeri (Lukiokatu 2).

* Every Thursday in April at 10-12.

* Free of charge. No registration required.

* Good for beginners.

* The game room can hold up to 15 players at a time. If more attend, theyt take turns.

* Easy to learn games are introduced every time.

* On April 13 Mario Bros + Wii Sports.

* On April 20 Minecraft, in which structures are built out of blocks in a 3D world.

* On April 27 music game Guitar Hero + visual adventure game Journey.

* Additionally, a Bingo game is held every time, with book prizes.



Intern Jenni Penttinen (on the left) had some time to use a computer herself. Keijo Piilola and Kirsti Tawast, along with five others, participated in the first game morning at the library. The game room Bunkkeri can hold up to 15 players at a time.


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