China’s Elderly Have a New Obsession: Video Games

During the pandemic, seniors have emerged as China’s fastest-growing demographic of new gamers — and gaming influencers.

Old Man Yang can barely contain his excitement as he tries out the racing video game Gran Turismo Sport.

The 86-year-old has hooked up a steering wheel and set of pedals to his PlayStation 5, and is now fighting to keep a Volkswagen sedan from swerving off the track. As the car lurches toward the barriers, his entire body sways from side to side.

“This feels so real, look!” he shouts. “Take it easy, you almost hit the table,” his wife responds with a smile.

The former engineer, whose full name is Yang Binglin, spent his career working on hydrocarbon exploration for Chinese oil companies. But since retiring, he has found an unexpected second vocation as a gaming influencer.

Several times a month, Yang uploads videos and livestreams of himself playing his favorite games to the Chinese video platform Bilibili. His channel, which he has named “Hardcore Gamer_Old Man Yang,” has become a cult hit on the site and now has over 230,000 subscribers.

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– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.