“Mario Kart” or “Wii Sports”: when the controllers invite themselves to the retirement home

ReportageAt the Chenêts retirement home, in the town of Courbevoie, video game workshops are organized every week for residents.

Marguerite is somewhat lifted. ” Stay there, you! He does not stop making the zouave, this one! “, she exclaims in front of a screen which broadcasts part of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch, Nintendo’s console. As she watches her character, Luigi, deviate from the circuit, she tries somehow to straighten her steering wheel under the encouragement of an audience whose average age is around 80 years old.

Since March, she has been one of the twenty or so residents of the private retirement home of Les Chenêts, in Courbevoie (Hauts-de-Seine), who go every Thursday to the video game workshops organized jointly by the Silver Geek association and the young volunteers of La Bêta-Pi, which involves professional facilitators and volunteers with different audiences. Silver Geek’s objective: to promote intergenerational links and respond to the digital exclusion of the elderly while allowing them to practice physical activity using video games.

From the top of her 100 years, Lucienne comes forward, waves the Wiimote and, with a confident gesture, makes a strike

In a room decorated with lanterns and crepe paper garlands, shortly before 3 p.m., two rows of chairs were arranged around a giant screen so that everyone could enjoy the show. In turn, the animators propose to the residents to compete in the bowling test of the video game Wii Sports. From the height of her 100 years, Lucienne walks with the help of a walker with feet adorned with tennis balls. She waves the Wiimote, the console’s motion-recognition controller and, with a confident gesture, performs a strike, immediately applauded by a handful of residents.

Bowling game on

“She is a champion at 100 years old! », exults Odile, who spends most of her time commenting on the performance of others. She is one of the rare participants to have already played video games before participating in the workshop, in particular, on a tablet, word search applications and memory games. She also goes often to other activities organized within the retirement home, such as bingo and knitting. “It keeps us busy: it’s not always fun to be alone in your room. »

Older bikers than ever

Several residents tell us that they had difficulties at first – including Josiane, who practiced using the Wiimote even in her room – before becoming more comfortable. The animators who are there to accompany them and play with them have modified certain parameters, to make the games more accessible: ” On Mario Kartwe disable everything that is throwing shells and banana peels »sums up Anne-Laure, one of the volunteers, listing the list of “weapons” available in this parody of a car racing game. “We’ve also turned on autopilot mode, so players just have to turn the wheel, and we’re trying to put in tracks that aren’t too visually overwhelming – the Desert or the rainbow roadit’s not ideal. »

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“Mario Kart” or “Wii Sports”: when the controllers invite themselves to the retirement home