Video games and the cultural and political economies of the third age

B Millington

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This presentation examines an emergent, though to date understudied, trend in media culture: the promotion of video games as viable entertainment and fitness devices for older persons. This is a trend perhaps best represented in Nintendo’s recent enlistment of actress Helen Mirren – now aged 68 – in the marketing of the Nintendo ‘Wii Fit’ gaming console, though it is one that is shown thrown the selling of many other games for bodily and cognitive fitness as well. Video games like ‘Wii Bowling’ have also been incorporated into activity programming in retirement centres in recent years. The presentation is specifically aimed at explaining these developments. In doing so, it draws from a range of scholarly influences and from studies into both video game marketing campaigns and consumer experiences. In one sense, the ‘sudden’ presence of seniors in video game marketing is deemed a product of political economic forces: the intensely competitive gaming industry demands that companies secure new markets in order to survive financially. In another, closely related sense, this trend is attributed to the changing meanings that surround the ‘third age’ (i.e., post-retirement) in a time of population ageing. The presentation concludes with empirically-based reflections on the benefits and challenges accompanying the use of fitness-themed video games among older persons. A noteworthy challenge – and one peculiar to ‘newer’ media like the Wii – lies in the need for seniors and in some circumstances their caretakers to develop both digital and physical literacies at one and the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventMedia, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) Conference - University of Bournemouth, Bournemouth, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jan 201410 Jan 2014


ConferenceMedia, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) Conference
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Video games and the cultural and political economies of the third age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this