An older couple smiling and having fun while playing video games

Video games aren't just for kids. If you're looking to relax or engage in some friendly competition, check out this list of popular video games for active adults.

Whether you’re looking for a new hobby while staying indoors or you’ve been playing video games since Pong was created in 1958, here are some gaming ideas that are great for active adults who want to have some fun and stay sharp.

While the common perception is that most gamers are young men in a basement alone, more than a quarter of self-identified video game players are over 50 years old, and more than half of the people who play games online are playing with others. According to the National Institutes for Health, studies have indicated that playing video games can improve your focus and memory as well as your vision. It also comes with therapeutic benefits, especially for pain management and anyone struggling with mental illness.

Your grandkids can probably provide a tutorial on the latest gaming trends like Fortnite. But, if you want to make this activity all your own, consider this list of video games for adults.

Picking a Platform: How to Play

An older man and his adult son getting competitive while playing video games on their smart phones

Before you buy a game, make sure you have the system to support it.

Many of the most popular games today are available on your smartphone or your tablet. There’s no need to purchase or download anything special. For example, Words With Friends is one of the best video games for couples, and it also offers social connections with anyone across the world. It’s as easy as downloading the free app on your Android or Apple device. Candy Crush is another phone-friendly game that's simple to install.

For more serious video games, you’ll need something like a Nintendo Switch. You can use it on your television, your computer, or even your mobile device. Other Nintendo platforms include Wii and Wii U. There’s also Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation. Before you buy a game, make sure you have the system to support it. If you want to avoid all those new purchases and upgrades, there are plenty of games that you can download straight onto your personal computer or laptop.

Best Video Games for Staying Fit

The disk and case for WiiSports Resort against a white background

Using the Wii remote, you can simulate swinging your club, bat, or racquet. (Image credited to seeshooteatrepeat / Shutterstock.com)

Wii Sports

Wii Sports is a great way to stay healthy and to keep moving, even during a quarantine. Users can pick their favorite sport, such as tennis, baseball, golf, bowling, or boxing. Using the Wii remote, you can simulate swinging your club, bat, or racquet. It’s good practice if getting to the golf course is currently out of the question or you missed the entire spring training season of baseball. Wii Sports can be played alone or with your friends and family.

Critics love Wii Sports, and the game has won several awards. Players get to choose a character and keep track of their progress as they continue playing from day to day, week to week, and so on. Several 55+ communities across the country have bowling leagues based on Wii Sports. If you haven’t played already, this is a great time to get started.

PGA Tour 

A great way to tee off without leaving home is by playing PGA Tour, a great video game for adults who love golf. You’ll need an Xbox or a PlayStation, or you can download a mobile-friendly version onto your phone. However, the best part of this video game is the handful of available tutorials, and for those, you’ll need the full console.

The brilliance of this video game is that users have the opportunity to play on some of the most celebrated golf courses around the world. Play at Pebble Beach with a view of the Pacific Ocean or Old Course at St. Andrews in the U.K. Players stay in control of their shots, and there’s a path provided for users to move through the amateur levels on their way to PGA-level play. There’s a whole 32-tournament season for serious players who want to ultimately qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The Most Relaxing Video Games

A Nintendo Switch on a coffee table displaying "Stardew Valley" on the screen

Get in touch with some childhood comforts and surround yourself with sheep, cows, and other farmhouse friends. (Image credited to Vantage_DS / Shutterstock.com)

Stardew Valley

What’s more relaxing than planting crops and raising farm animals? Not much, and that’s why Stardew Valley is one of the most relaxing video games for 55+ players. Get in touch with some childhood comforts and surround yourself with sheep, cows, and other farmhouse friends. You can play it almost anywhere; it’s available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, or PC. In the game, players adopt the persona of a farmer, but you can do a lot more than just build a barn and feed the chickens.

The game starts with a welcome to Stardew Valley—the location of your farm. Users who don’t know anything about farming are playing right into the theme of the game. You’re building the farm from the ground up and learning as you go. Find out what it’s like to live off the land, customize your farmhouse, care for your animals, and get to know your neighboring townsfolk. Also, there’s a whole online community that users can join to access recipes for fiddlehead risotto (fiddleheads grown on the farm!) and learn what to do with a slime hutch.

Wordscapes

Active adults who love crossword puzzles will enjoy this relaxing video game that also requires a little bit of brainpower. Wordscapes is easy to download onto your phone, tablet, or laptop. There’s no special system needed. This game is a great way to keep your mind sharp, and it provides a challenge, even to skilled wordsmiths. The idea is to put together words that will fit into a standard crossword puzzle, but those words aren’t just given to you—they’re scrambled. 

The goal is to create as many words as you can within the parameters provided. Millions of people play this game, and there are social media pages on sites like Facebook where people gather to compete and compare notes. It’s a great way to feel productive even while you’re relaxing in your recliner or on your patio.

Easy Video Games for Fun and Fantasy

Three plastic Pikachus and a plastic poke ball surrounding a smart phone displaying "Pokemon Go"

Pokemon will show up in strange places. Don’t be surprised if you start to get obsessed with finding these cute creatures. (Image credited to pim pic / Shutterstock.com)

Pokemon Go 

Easy video games are more than just a way to pass the time; they also offer a satisfying payoff for the least amount of work. This is one of the reasons why active adults love Pokemon Go. There’s not a whole lot of skill or thought involved; players basically wander around looking for little monsters. There’s no special equipment or gaming system needed; you simply download the game onto your phone. It’s an all-ages game, making it easy to compete with your kids and grandkids.

Pokemon will show up in strange places. You can find them in your own backyard, but to increase your chances of gathering more and more creatures, you’ll want to take a safe walk through your neighborhood. Don’t be surprised if you start to get obsessed with finding these cute creatures.

Guitar Hero 

Learning to play an instrument is hard, but pretending to play an instrument like a legend is easy. That’s why users love Guitar Hero, a video game that allows you to rock out with bands like Queen and Van Halen. The tiny guitar that you don’t actually have to understand how to play is available through several gaming consoles, and there are even versions available for your phone and other mobile devices.

Hearing some great music brings pleasure on its own. Easily participating in that great music is even better. There are versions of this game that focus exclusively on a single band if you’re particularly committed to one group. Guitar Hero Aerosmith is one of the most popular.

Best Video Games for Couples and Competitors

An older couple smiling while sitting on a couch and playing a game on a tablet

Some of the best video games for couples allow you to be competitive and playful.

Jeopardy

Some of the best video games for couples allow you to be competitive and playful, so get together for a date night that involves some trivia. You can play Jeopardy together or with a third player if you want to stay close to the format of the game show. It’s easy to feel like a contestant; you have Alex Trebek reading the clues and the same music that counts down your time during Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy.

Jeopardy can be found on Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii U. If the clues prove to be too challenging for you and your better half, don’t worry. There’s an “easy mode” where you can get a set of multiple choice answers. That takes some of the pressure off, especially if you’re trying to impress your partner.

Scene It

Scene It is another great video game for couples or small groups. It allows you to test your movie and pop culture knowledge. It’s available on the Xbox, and up to four players can get together online or offline. There are several ways to play.

With the "Pictogram" selection, you’ll play word association where you guess the movie based on pictures. The "Movie Clips" selection allows you to identify films based on some dialogue. If you know a lot of movie quotes, this is the best option for you. The "Who Am I" selection quizzes players on actors and corresponding films, and in the "Child’s Play" option, you have to decide which movie is being illustrated. There are lots of other categories and ways to play too, and you can choose a short-form or long-form game.

The Latest and Greatest Video Games for Adults

A Nintendo Switch sitting on a wood surface and displaying "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild"

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most popular games for people who love fantasy and action. (Image credited to Wachiwit / Shutterstock.com)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Zelda game series has been around for a while as a popular video game for both adults and kids. But The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has only been available for a few years, and it’s already one of the most popular games for people who love fantasy and action. It’s available on the Nintendo Switch and Wii U.

Watch the trailer for this game, and you’ll be treated to soaring seagulls, a gorgeous seaside landscape, and all the magic and mayhem that gamers love. It’s an artistic adventure, and this latest installment of the Zelda franchise helps to reinvent the storyline without losing the original scope that keeps people dressing up as their favorite characters and embracing the entire fictional world.

FORM 

Players who like puzzles and aren’t easily put off by surrealist dreamscapes might enjoy one of the newest video games to hit the market: FORM. It’s brainy and fluid, one of the best video games for adults who like magic. Early adopters have described the game as metaphysical and visually stunning. It’s available through the PlayStation platform and comes with a storyline that leaves users wanting more.

Virtual reality is a big part of new video games. FORM meets this trend and invites players into a world that seems to be borne of their own minds. This game was just released in April of 2020.