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These games are a great introduction for older people who want to play

I’ve been working through all that comes with my 80-year-old mum being in palliative, end-of-life, care. It’s an emotionally unpredictable time, that much I expected. But also, it’s been a time of reconnection and reflection with her. Over the last few weeks, we revisited happy memories and renewed beliefs that offer her comfort.

More than one of these memories has been her encouragement of my discovery of video games as a child. We talked about visiting the Littlehampton Pier where we first laid eyes (and hands) on the large four-player Gauntlet arcade machine. She would stand by my side, providing 10 pence pieces for me to line up across the screen to mark my ambition (and status) to other kids waiting to play.

As we reminisced about the times she attempted to join in, tears formed at the thought of what her enthusiasm for my burgeoning hobby had brought to my life – not only a career in games but all those video game stories, trials and epiphanies I couldn’t imagine life without. But then, we were laughing together as she performed her (now infamous) impression of Gauntlet’s tumbling-into-the-exit sound.

Another of those things that grew from her support, many years later, was a database of video games for other parents. It’s a way to find great games for children, but also it’s been a rich source of games that Mum would love. These aren’t the usual crossword, text adventures or even brain training games that often get suggested for older players, but games that offer interactions only possible in the medium of play.


Here are some choice picks. Games that aren’t necessarily designed with a particular age of player in mind, but have worked well for Mum, and stand a good chance of working for most older players.

If you’re an older player and you’re looking for a way in, this is a great choice of places to start. And if you know someone who might fancy giving games a go, we hope this comes in useful too.

(We’re keeping a list of these on the database and I’ll add suggestions from the comments.)

Pocket Card Jockey

Platforms: 3DS, iOS Apple Arcade

Developer: Game Freak

Everyone knows how to play Solitaire, right? Pocket Card Jockey builds on this with the logical next step of card sequencing: horse racing! When I’ve suggested this for grandparents and older players, the card-play works well to make it seem welcoming. But this is then extended with strategy and light role-play elements to offer a fully-fledged video game experience.

The Alto Collection trailer.

The Alto Collection

Platforms: Android, iOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC

Developer: Snowman

Available separately on smartphones, the collection on consoles contains two games, Alto’s Odyssey and Alto’s Adventure; both offer a simple endless runner challenge. Here though, it’s as much about the feel of the snowboarding as it is exacting reactions. The barrier to starting is super low, with just one button to jump and that’s all.

Old Man’s Journey

Platform: Android, iOS, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Developer: Broken Rules

Despite being a little on the nose in terms of theme, this offers a nostalgic story of returning home to forgotten memories. Play involves simply raising or lowering the landscape to create a walkable path, in a way that invites experimentation and exploration. It starts simply but evolves into a proper head-scratching puzzle game.

Babble Royale

Platform: PC

Developer: Frank Lantz

This combines battle royale combat with Scrabble. You pick a starting position and then place tiles to make connected words and gain territory. If you can connect your word-web to another player’s, that’s them defeated. The familiarity of Scrabble makes the game approachable even for those who haven’t played online before. What’s great is that anyone great at Scrabble can do well here. Seeing a grandparent or older player get their first victory is a sight to behold.

Storyteller trailer.


Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch

Developer: Daniel Ben

Storyteller is a game about narrative logic. Each level presents you with a simple story to tell and the scenes and characters with which to tell it. The challenge is working out how to get each character in the right state of mind to play their part. It’s a tight puzzle game, but one that is approachable and doesn’t require the kind of video game grammar or thinking that other puzzlers often lean on.

Wilmot’s Warehouse

Platform: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS

Developer: Hollow Ponds

This is a game about creating order out of chaos. Lots of small boxes with icons arrive at the bottom of the warehouse and you need to decide how to organise them so you can provide the right items to the customers who arrive at the top of the screen. It’s a game about the satisfaction of being in control where you can play at your own pace with no penalty for being slow.

Untitled Goose Game trailer.

Untitled Goose Game

Platform: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Developer: House House

The combination of action and puzzle that playing a mischievous goose brings is a good fit for people who don’t regularly play. Some might think the time-pressured movement will be a bit much for older players, but because failing to be quick enough simply means you can try again (rather than lose progress) it works well.


Platform: PS Vita, PS4, PSP

Developer: Sony Japan Studio

Another action game that is welcoming and approachable for senior players. Whether you find a way to play this on the Vita or PSP, or in remastered form on PlayStation 4, the controls are just two buttons plus tilting. What starts as a simple traversal challenge soon adds in more mechanics that edge the player into a full platforming experience.

Monster’s Expedition

Platform: iOS, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC

Developer: Alan Hazelden

Help your monster move from island to island by pushing over trees to use as bridges. It’s a simple challenge with a clear call to action. The tree pushing soon gets more complex as you wrestle to orient the logs in the right direction to get you to the next island. But this game wants more than to flummox with complexity, as it leads you into raft building and double-height trees.


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