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The gaming pensioner: No time for bridge when there’s raiding to do

Ask your parents or grandparents what their hobbies are and you’ll often hear hiking, bridge or gardening. Edith Pfiffner’s favourite pastime is somewhat unusual in her age group and can be summed up in three letters: WoW.

Although the number of gamers is constantly on the rise, the hobby still tends to be eyed critically be outsiders: It’s for kids, unhealthy and a waste of time. The average age of gamers has been 30 plus for a very long time, but those tenacious prejudices just can’t be shaken. Digital gaming is not particularly popular amongst seniors. After all, they did grow up in times before video games existed, let alone turned mainstream. But gaming can be a fun hobby for retirees, as Edith Pfiffner proves.

Edith is Steeve Pfiffner’s mum. Steeve works in our very own customer service department. Initially, my colleague Anadi Singh, who had the idea for this story, was looking for a gaming pensioner outside of the office. After driving almost every retirement home in German-speaking Switzerland nuts with his phone calls, we decided to ask round within the company. Our bait: a brand-new PC. The complete package was sponsored by Asus. The company was probably hoping to reach a fresh, lucrative customer segment. In any case, it made Steeve get in touch and tell us about his «World of Warcraft»-crazy mother. This sounds perfect and I decide to personally deliver the PC hardware worth 2,000 francs to Untervaz in the canton of Graubünden. The timing couldn’t have been better for Edith. Her eight-year-old PC recently gave up the ghost.

How it all began

Two gamers in the family: Edith and her son Steeve.

Just in time for the new «World of Warcraft» expansion pack «Battle for Azeroth», the 65-year old is now ready to rejoin the battle with her brightly blinking gaming machine. Her first encounter with Blizzard’s MMO was 13 years ago and she’s been loyal to the fantasy world ever since. As you might have expected, she was first introduced to the gaming world by her son Steeve. But it wasn’t love at first sight. «I’d occasionally look over Steeve’s shoulder and watch him play. At one point I asked him if he’d let me create my own character.» Steeve was happy to oblige. «I was completely overwhelmed with the steering. The mouse just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to and 3D was totally new for me. I gave up after 15 minutes,» Edith explains and laughs. That was back in 2004, right after the launch of «World of Warcraft». It would be another year until she went near the game again.

However, her curiosity for computer games was sparked, so she tried a different MMO Steeve was playing at the time: «Ragnarok». «Steeve always gave great introductions,» she says, throwing a glance at her son. She adds that they often play together. It was «Ragnarok» that introduced her to many gamers her own age. Following the dwindling popularity of «Ragnarok» and the rise of «World of Warcraft» to market leader, Edith and her new friends eventually followed the crowds to Azeroth. «I was surprised at how quickly I got the hang of the steering the second time round.» Naturally, her son was always at her side whenever she needed advice and tips. «I had a gaming mum and thought that was pretty cool,» Steeve recalls. «Other mums were always busy doing the housework, but we’d have gaming sessions together,» says Steeve. «Remember that time we were in a dungeon and you said: That’s my mummy?,» says Edith and both of them grin. To this day, Steeve is grateful that his mother is one of the very few people in his life who gets his passion. «Sometimes we discuss WoW over dinner instead of talking about our day,» says Steeve and chuckles.

Edith has various characters. This is her posing with her magician.

Speaking of food: Through her newly developed passion, Edith was also more understanding when Steeve didn’t immediately show up for dinner when she called him. «I used to make a stink until I discovered gaming for myself. That’s when I realised you can’t just walk away from a game.» Mother and son now have an agreement that you don’t start a new dungeon around dinnertime.

Edith thinks it’s important to understand your children’s hobbies. «I’ve always wanted to know what my kids are into.» She doesn’t understand parents who have no idea what their kids get up to all day and finds it quite dangerous. That’s why she chose to sit down and watch what these games were about.

The fascination with WoW

When it comes to «World of Warcraft», Edith is nobody’s fool.

Since Edith got into WoW back in 2005, there’s been no looking back. She played each expansion extensively. Her stats after 13 years of WoW: 20 characters on level 110. Since our interview, she has probably reached the maximum level of 120 with some of the characters. Being a former excessive player of the game, there’s one thing I need to know: Horde or Alliance? «I play both factions but Alliance is predominant. I find the Horde cities confusing. Even the new Horde city Zuldazar is total chaos,» is her flimsy excuse why she prefers the feeble Alliance (oh, did I mention that I used to play Horde?).

Edith with her fiery flying mount

When she’s not completing tasks in her questlog, she’s chasing achievements. Achievements are unlocked once certain requirements are met. This can be killing a specific number of enemies within a specific time frame, finding lost treasures or catching a fish in Orgrimmar – not an easy thing to do when you’re part of the Alliance. «All I did was wait for an important World Cup game to be broadcast on TV and then I just snuck in,» Edith explains proudly. No achievement is too difficult for her and it gives her great pleasure whenever she overcomes a challenge. Dungeons and raids, in other words, the game areas you tackle in small and large groups, are not her thing. Having said that, she regrets to this day that she never experienced a legendary 40-player raid from back in the day. Therefore, she’s not taken with the announced WoW Vanilla server.

I want to know if she was ever tempted by another game? «Of course I was. I‘d regularly suggest a new game to Steeve, such as “The Lord of the Rings Online”. But he never sticks to a game for very long. And I just stayed loyal to WoW.»

Little understanding from friends and family

Only very few peers are able to relate to Edith’s hobby.

Hans, her husband, often just shakes his head in disbelief. «It’s enough to have one addict in the family,» was his first reaction, Edith says with a smile. «All he uses his PC for is information, planning trips and browsing forums,» computer games were never his thing. Even though he never showed any interest for gaming, he never had a problem with his wife spending a large part of her spare time in a virtual fantasy world. «I’ve tried convincing friends to try it out but they say: No way, I don’t want anything to do with that.» Many of them just don’t feel like they could manage, Edith says. «Look at you, you’re addicted!» is something she hears a lot. «Surely it doesn’t matter if I’m sitting in front of TV or the PC.» Edith thinks the television is a greater danger. «When I tell people I’m going home to watch a movie, nobody cares. But if I say I’m going home to raid, all I get is blank looks.» She stresses that sitting in front of the TV all night like a dead fish is totally acceptable. Even though gaming is a lot more active. «Games keep you flexible. They’re challenging and require quite a bit of multitasking,» Edith says confidently.

She stresses that she has a lot of spare time as a pensioner. Between 8 and 10 p.m. is when she’s usually online. If the weather’s bad, she occasionally also logs in during the day. But that’s not to say that she spends all day at her computer. «We’re usually out and about during the day. But in the evening, when my husband’s watching his Alaska documentaries, I play WoW.»

Long-standing friendships

Edith is online almost daily, nurturing her friendships.

What many elderly people don’t realise is that online games can be very communicative. «There’s a serious lack of communication when you’re watching TV.» When she’s online, however, Edith meets new people – many of them her age. She adds that it’s much easier to get to know people online. «At our age, you don’t enjoy going out in the evening that much anymore. And once you’re sat, you’re sat.» WoW knows no boundaries when it comes to making friends all over the world. Many of these acquaintances have been going strong for years. Edith has even travelled to Germany to meet a guild friend. This has also happened the other way round and she has welcomed someone in Untervaz.

These friendships are nurtured and people get worried if they don’t hear from you for a while. «Everybody asks what’s happened. Especially when it comes to gamers my age. You just never know what’s going on if they disappear without saying a word...» But these are mostly just gamers going cold turkey. They often pop up again as suddenly as they disappeared.

For Edith, stopping is not on the agenda. It would be a shame considering she now has a new PC. As long as Blizzard keeps updating «World of Warcraft», there’s no need to turn your back on Azeroth anyway.

Are there any gaming pensioners in your family? Maybe you’re one of them? Let us know! We’d love to write more about mature gamers.

And finally: Edith’s gaming setup

  • ROG Huracan G21CN-CH021T (Intel Core i7-8700, 16GB, SSD, HDD)
  • ROG Huracan G21CN-CH021T (Intel Core i7-8700, 16GB, SSD, HDD)
  • ROG Huracan G21CN-CH021T (Intel Core i7-8700, 16GB, SSD, HDD)
CHF 1849.–
ASUS ROG Huracan G21CN-CH021T (Intel Core i7-8700, 16GB, SSD, HDD)
2

Availability

  • approx. 3–4 weeks

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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  • VG278Q (27", 1920 x 1080 pixels)
  • VG278Q (27", 1920 x 1080 pixels)
  • VG278Q (27", 1920 x 1080 pixels)
A
Energy efficiency
A
CHF 318.–
ASUS VG278Q (27", 1920 x 1080 pixels)
27" FHD (1920x1080) TN Panel in 16:9 format / 144 Hz / AdaptiveSync / 400 cd/㎡ / 1ms GtG / Speaker / Rotatable, treble, tiltable, pivot / HDMI, DP, DVI-D
8

Availability

Mail delivery

  • More than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 12:30
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 14:00
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 12:30
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:15

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  • ROG Strix Flare (USB, CH, Cable, Cherry MX Brown)
  • ROG Strix Flare (USB, CH, Cable, Cherry MX Brown)
  • ROG Strix Flare (USB, CH, Cable, Cherry MX Brown)
CHF 169.–
ASUS ROG Strix Flare (USB, CH, Cable, Cherry MX Brown)
Start your gaming fireworks with the ROG Strix Flare - a mechanical gaming keyboard that has everything you want
8

Availability

Mail delivery

  • 8 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 12:30
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 14:00
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 12:30
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:15

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  • ROG Gladius II Origin (Cable)
  • ROG Gladius II Origin (Cable)
  • ROG Gladius II Origin (Cable)
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ASUS ROG Gladius II Origin (Cable)
Ergonomic, wired, optical gaming mouse optimized for FPS games and with aura sync support
6

Availability

Mail delivery

  • 5 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 12:30
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 14:00
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 12:30
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 13:00
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 12:00
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:15

PickMup

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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User

Philipp Rüegg, Zurich

  • Teamleader Odin
Being the game and gadget geek that I am, working at digitec and Galaxus makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop – but it does take its toll on my wallet. I enjoy tinkering with my PC in Tim Taylor fashion and talking about games on my podcast . To satisfy my need for speed, I get on my full suspension mountain bike and set out to find some nice trails. My thirst for culture is quenched by deep conversations over a couple of cold ones at the mostly frustrating games of FC Winterthur.

84 comments

3000 / 3000 characters

User hosae

Meine Mum spielt unglaublich gerne die bescheuerten Games auf Facebook, Candy Crush Saga und Co.

Zählt das?

12.09.2018
User Philipp Rüegg

Nein, einfach nein 🙈

12.09.2018
User Spl4tt

Hahahaha

12.09.2018
User Anonymous

lol, ich bin 34, noch nicht Senior aber gamend und ich kann mir vorstellen, als Senior auch noch zu gamen, warum nicht? :-) Computer und Gamen gehört einfach zusammen, heute besser denn je.

Mein Vater spielt auch nur Jassen etc. Ich habe ihm mal CounterStrike GO und Battlefield gezeigt und es reizte ihn, das auch zu spielen, aber er kann es nicht.

Wenn man nicht damit aufgewachsen ist, ist es wohl schwierig, das zu lernen, eigentlich ist es einfach, aber für so ein älterer Mensch nicht,KA

12.09.2018
User Anonymous

Da überreded man sich mal bei so einer tollen digitec Story eine Meinung abzugeben, schliesslich seit ihr jetzt ja alle Autoren geworden und erhält gleich eine -1, wobei ein anderer für einen völlig sinnfreien Kommentar +9 erhält. Das war das letzte Mal, das ich hier etwas zu irgendetwas sage!

für die meisten älteren sind unsere Spiele zu, schaut mal einem älteren Mensch am Cpmuter zu, nur schon wie die die Maus bewegen, sooo lame und schlecht, scheinen einfach damit überfordert zu sein

12.09.2018
User Anonymous

Kommentar gelöscht. Bitte halte dich an die Community-Regeln.

12.09.2018
Answer
User eichof99

Meine Mutter 71 Jahre jung. GTA Online Level über 600 und jetzt kommts, sie heisst auch Edith ^^.

13.09.2018
User Buellerist

Hallo Eichhof99
Für eine Sendung zum Thema Gamen suchen wir bei Einstein genau solche Kaliber wie deine Mutter und würden sie gerne kennen lernen. Wenn das möglich ist, meld dich doch auf inputeinstein@srf.ch

31.10.2018
Answer
User _saem_

Ich feiere sie. Meine Mum spielt dafür Solitär. xD

12.09.2018
User Fulio

Wenn mein Vater mit mir (32ig) begeistert über CS GO am Mittagstisch in Zürich diskutieren kann, welcher mit Jahrgang 59 seit 2 Jahren CSGO spielt, wir im Anzug gekleidet über einen misslungenen B rush auf Mirage lachen und die umliegenden Personen die Welt nicht verstehen. Moments like these!!!!!

13.09.2018
User Christian Walker

Also die Favs meines Vaters sind Mario Tennis und Super Smash Brothers auf dem N64 den ich beim Auszug da gelassen habe. phaha

12.09.2018
User Santana2

Toller Bericht, man sollte sich heute echt nicht mehr verstecken müssen als Gamer, ob alt oder Jung.

12.09.2018
User ExtraTNT

Wie wird es in 50, 60 jahren aussehen?, wird dann die jugend wandern gehen und uns überreden auch mal raus zu gehen... und wir werden dann es verwerflich finden raus zu gehen und nur wenige werden es machen... ;)

12.09.2018
User KevRWL

Gute Frage.. 🤷‍♂

12.09.2018
Answer
User realmatrix

Hi
Ich (59) habe 1985 mit Spielen begonnen (Tetris), ich habe noch ca. 50 Spiele in der Vitrine.
Was soll das Theater mit den 50+, ohne diese würde es die Spieleindustrie gar nicht geben.
Freue mich bereits auf "Battlefield V"

14.09.2018
User phaupt

Es ist wirklich schade, wie man sich als Gamer auch heute noch manchmal rechtfertigen muss. Edith hat diese Problematik ziemlich gut auf den Punkt gebracht!

13.09.2018
User Elko76

Meine Mum ist 71 und spielt seit 20 Jahren Age of Empires

20.09.2018
User Anonymous

Deine Mutter hat guten Geschmack!

18.10.2018
Answer
User Rumpli

Mein Bruder, meine Mam und ich haben früher jeweils gemeinsam Pokemon oder Zelda gespielt. Mittlerweile leben wir nicht mehr in einem Haushalt - jedoch ist bei allen die Liebe zu den Spielen wie Zelda geblieben. Bei Besuchen muss man als Sohnemann ab und zu mal die ganz schweren Level lösen :D

12.09.2018
User danbla69

Oja WOW, unzählige Stunden Grinden, Questen Dungeons und Raids. Leider wurde die Kommunity immer mühsamer. Wenn wer ne ernsthafte Frage stellte, kamen fast nur noch blöde Antworten. War früher anders. Das neueste Adddon hab ich mir gespart. Aber wer weiss, wenn bei Diablo nicht bald was geht und die Klassikserver tatsächlich online gehen. Wieso nicht.

12.09.2018
User mortagius

finde ich sehr cool. lustigerweise habe ich in meiner gilde ebenfalls 2 silver gamer. mein onkel 58 und ein bekannter mit 68 die beide mit uns world of warcraft spielen. wit hatten. gestern kurz das thema eine gilde für sie zu finden die nur aus 50+ spielern besteht.

13.09.2018
User -Spooky-

"silver gamer"

Nette Umschreibung.

15.09.2018
Answer
User vauxie

Mein Mage hat praktisch das selbe Tmog, cool!

12.09.2018
User michaelköl

Ich habe 1989 mit Spielen begonnen und werde es im Jahr 2039 als 65-Jähriger bei guter Gesundheit sicher immer noch tun :-)

13.09.2018
User ch4ot

Meine Eltern spielen, ganz ihrem Alter gerecht, NES

14.09.2018
User rowen

Hallo Gemeinde, ich bin 52 und zocke zur Zeit Zeit 1-3 Std. täglich Rocket League. 😁 Bin kurz vor Expert und das freut mich wenn es so weit ist. Ich game seid der ersten Spielkonsole die es gab so vermute ich 1982. Heute ist es eine XBox One mit 50" Leuchter. 😁 Schöne Grüsse aus Bern rowen@bluewin.ch

19.09.2018
User Elexys

Dä Artikel muess i grad mim Mami schicke :)

21.09.2018
User Glaundrim69

Ich habe früher mit meinen Eltern die alten Lucas Arts Adventures gezockt, besonders Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, haben wir geliebt. Mein Vater zockt inzwischen nur noch Wimmelbilder :(

12.09.2018
User KosuU

Nichts neues ich hab schon von leuten gehört wo die ganze Familie zusammen raidet (3 Generationen)

14.09.2018
User Andi.K

Ich habe zwar keine Mutter die Zockt ,aber ich sage immer solange ich am PC spiele , bin ich nicht in irgendeinem drekigen Ort mit irgendwelchen Drogen. Es könnte auch schlimmer sein.

15.09.2018
User meninosousa

my father still beats me in age of empires(I, II and III), since i got my first network cards (long time ago)

21.09.2018
User Tocimog

Genial... ich spiele selber seit 2011 WOW. Ich kann das nachvollziehen👍👍eifach nume suuuper... viel Freude noch und gut Loot😄

26.09.2018
User Tocimog

Also bin auch Gildenoma mit 54😂😂

26.09.2018
Answer
User Macromancer

Zu toll Edith! :) Viel Spass und Gute Beute in BfA

27.09.2018
User starke87

Server? Ich will denke ich werd Fanboy 😅

12.09.2018
User debär

Hani Muetter ghört? 😅*ish nöd böss gmeint*

12.09.2018
User Wasimov80

Mein Vater gamet wie verrückt ( hat ja auch zeit dazu) er ist 68 und beim world of tanks / world of warships kaum zu schlagen. Nebenbei noch diverse rpg's und strategiegames. Und der hätte das lineup wohl dringender nötig als die liebe edith😁😌

13.09.2018
User Buellerist

Hallo Wasimov
Für eine Sendung zum Thema Gamen suchen wir bei Einstein ältere, anfefressene Gamer. Könntest du mir seinen Kontakt auf inputeinstein@srf.ch angeben. Wäre super.

31.10.2018
Answer
User xMuhash

Meine Oma spielte immerzu "Bejeweld" oder Angry Birds am PC. Mein Grossvater hingegen war jeweils zuerst vor der Playstation 2 und danach auf der Playstation 3 zu finden. Er spielte das eigentlich nur Ballergames wie CoD oder Battlefield.

19.09.2018