For Abel, an airplane mechanic and a father of two, videogames provide a way to let off steam after a stressful day at work. Geezergamers.com–which allows players to meet on forums with names like “Get off my lawn”–offers a safe haven for Abel to find “suitably mature joystick companions,” writes the Journal’s Miguel Bustillo.
Another site is 2old2play.com, whose minimum age is 25. In the WSJ piece, 20ld2play says it “carefully screens applicants for ‘squeaky voices’ and other telltale signs of adolescence.”
For the generations raised on Pong and Pac-Man, the sites provide opportunities to play against other mature gamers in virtual senior leagues. Some players, like 77-year-old Ralph Atkinson from Melbourne, Australia, are part of The Older Gamers, which has some 57,000 members worldwide (Atkinson shreds his competitors in Battlefield 3).
In the U.S., the average age of game players is now 30, according to the Entertainment Software Association, while the average age of frequent game buyers is 35.
Stefaan de Keersmaeker, a 41-year-an information-technology expert from Melbourne, founded The Older Gamers. “There is still a stigma associated with this pastime,” de Keersmaeker tells The Wall Street Journal. ”It is very hard to explain to some people, but it’s not all kid’s play anymore.”