For decades children have gotten enjoyment out of playing video games. Now as technology and interests have evolved game systems aren't just for the young anymore, but also for the young at heart.
Want to get in on the game? Here's what you need to know to get started:
What's out there?
Tait Jorgenson, operations manager for Best Buy's Clark Street store in Chicago, says Xbox and Playstation tend to be geared more toward the "hard core gamer."
"Nintendo consistently makes it simple with an all ages friendly system," Jorgenson says.
"The controller itself is much easier to put in someone's hands and have them enjoy it."
If you aren't sure which is best for you, one of the questions a sales person is likely to ask is: What do you want to be able to do? Or, what type of games are you looking to play?
So, it might be helpful to spend some time in the game section of a store or on each company's website to see which games seem most interesting.
While all three systems have a wide variety of game choices the largest categories for Xbox and PS3 are action and adventure.
The Wii game system comes with Wii Sports including tennis, baseball, boxing, bowling and golf.
Participants can play alone against the computer or against several players at a time. Jorgenson says Best Buy has each gaming system set up in the store so customers can try them before making a decision.
Jorgenson says, while each system has its audience, the Wii system tends to be most popular with families and older adults.
"For the most part, if you are new to gaming you would certainly find the Wii to be a great system and easy to use. The games are appropriate and easy to play and follow," he says.
While video games traditionally involved people sitting and playing on the couch, the Wii revolutionized interactive games. Rather than just pushing a button, participants can swing their arms like you would with a golf club or tennis racket.
"The slightly active games are meant to get people off the couch and play," Jorgenson says.
At Alexian Village of Elk Grove, a supportive living community, they host learn to play classes for Wii and also have a group of residents who consistently play. A group of residents recently competed in a Wii bowling tournament with other teams through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Megan Rich, life enrichment manager, says people can participate whether they play sitting down or standing up.
Andi Rothenberg, community life manager, says they tend to really get into the games and also attract spectators.
"You can do it with your grandchildren," Rothenberg says. "We've played with the (local) high school soccer team. It's intergenerational."
Another popular program is Wii Fit Plus, which includes moderate exercise programs and helps people track their weight, body fat, balance and body control.
The package comes with a balance board and light to moderate exercise programs.
Other popular programs target the cerebral side including brain challenges, puzzles, quizzes and trivia as well as traditional games such as Scrabble.
Get the hook up
Anyone looking to purchase a game system should be prepared to answer additional questions about their TVs including: Do you have an HDTV? What sort of input do you have to hook the system into?
Most gaming systems come packaged with a standard cable and power cord, but additional cords may be necessary. For example, if there is only one input on the TV, and a VCR or DVR player is using it, adjustments may be needed.
In addition, the Wii comes with a Sensor Bar that is mounted above the TV to record the motion of the controller and connect it to the system, Jorgenson says.
For most systems the first controller is programmed, but additional controllers for multiple players need to be programmed manually.
For those who aren't even sure what "input" means, it's best to ask for help.
Jorgenson says for $150 Best Buy's Geek Squad will come to your home to set up the system as well as walk the customer through how to get it running.
Rothenberg says after the initial set up, the Wii is easy to use.
"It's very user friendly. You plug it in and it tells you exactly what to do," she says.
A handy alternative
Jorgenson says things to look for if purchasing a hand held system are a good size screen and minimal buttons for ease of use.
Beyond the games
Today's gaming systems do more than just run games. With added purchases the game systems can connect to others live to communicate or compete against another player with a similar system anywhere in the world. Gaming systems also are being used to stream TV shows and movies.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun