Centenarians: “The Key to a Long Life is Video Gaming”

Apparently the fountain of youth may come with batteries. Recent research suggests that sedentary activities such as watching an hour of TV may take off 22 minutes of your life, but they didn’t say that about video gaming. Physical activity is obviously important, but there are people who thank video games for their mental health. For those who scoff at this activity as just a mindless form of entertainment, it would be best to wait until you hear them speak about it. They may make you change your mind.

The first story is from Japan. Meet Umeji Narisawa. Her story was featured on the TV show “Nani Kore Chin Hyakkei,” which shows interesting stories around the world. The following video is the entire TV segment, though it’s all in Japanese. At the time the video was shot (it was televised in August 2011) she was 99 years old.

Narisawa loves the game “Bomberman,” which was released in 1985 on the “Nintendo Famicon” – known in the West as the “Nintendo Entertainment System,” or more colloquially, the NES. The controller has only two buttons, and the movements are very simple; but at the end of the video clip above, you can see that she is able to thread a needle herself. Clearly, something is keeping her fingers nimble and her eyes sharp.

Obviously being that Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world, we don’t know if playing Bomberman is what’s keeping her from going senile. But that’s what she believes is the case.

Narisawa plays for hours every day, and has been doing so for the last 26 years. Every single day, she beats all 50 levels of the game – and clears them twice when she’s really “on.” This got Kotaku asking, “Is this the world’s oldest gamer?” Well now it’s time to go to England.

I’m not sure how old Narisawa is now, but Kathleen “Kit” Connell just turned 100 a few of months ago, prompting The Sun to ask “Is this Britain’s oldest gamer?“ She has been playing on her Nintendo DS – a handheld system still very much in production – which she received for her 96′s birthday by her daughter. The English grandmother rotates through ten games, including Scrabble, Family Fortunes, and Brain Trainer. Here is one picture of her playing Art Academy.

This kind of thing has some people wondering if video gaming will later become the main source of exercise. Whether or not it becomes the main form of physical exercise, listening to Connell talk about her love of gaming makes me wonder if it should be a standard activity for mental exercise. ”I can’t speak highly enough of this Nintendo [DS].” she says. Just watch the following clip and see for yourself:

In a time where there appears to be no end in sight for the technological advancements of tomorrow, so few people of the older generations even know about what’s happening or what’s becoming available. Having not grown up in the environment of web-based interconnectivity, it’s obviously understandable, yet unfortunate.

As Colleen said, ”I don’t know what I would do without it.” Perhaps it’s time for the older generations to get serious about video games.

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