If you’re new to online gaming and want to get started, this might be the perfect place to begin. In fact, I wish I’d known this stuff a few years ago as my mother would have loved some of these games.
The best free online games for older adults consist of tried-and-true favorites. Each of them is free to download and play. With incredible graphics they range from exciting action play, intellectual challenges and special interest games.
The mobile gaming market is massive and continues to explode year after year. In 2020, it generated over 77 billion dollars worldwide. Some of the best sites to download games include Google Play, Amazon, and the Apple App Store.
To be candid, I used to view online games as somewhat frivolous and a waste of time. What changed for me was realizing how far these games have evolved and the many benefits.
Especially as we age; mental stimulation, social engagement and keeping up with technology takes on greater importance.
Benefits of Online Games for Older Adults
Whether discussing ourselves or an aging loved one, there’re many benefits of online games. On the surface they’re entertaining and help pass the time.
Digging deeper, they can provide mental stimulation, social interaction and overall enhanced wellbeing.
Doing something you enjoy heightens feelings of satisfaction and happiness. This holds true for online games as well. A sense of accomplishment is achieved by solving the task at hand or moving to the next level.
Research from North Carolina State University found older adults who played video games, reported higher levels of emotional well-being. Overall, they were happier and experienced fewer depressive symptoms.
Playing online games is proven to increase mental sharpness in older adults. Studies reveal enhanced cognitive abilities in areas such as judgement, decision making and memory. Problem solving and word games are generally considered the best.
The majority of games support integration with other players. Thus, a sense of community is fostered when playing tournaments and other group activities. This is a great way to get to know people with similar interests.
Another aspect is strengthening friendships by inviting friends or family to play along. You can, either, get together for an afternoon of fun or play remotely. This is also a great way of keeping in touch with grandchildren.
Improved Self Confidence
With such rapid technological evolution, many older adults feel they’re falling behind. In fact, the average smart phone is more powerful than the computers used to put a man on the moon in 1969.
In particular, some seniors don’t have the confidence to use their phones for anything other than the basic needs. Such as making / receiving a call or checking the weather. All those other capabilities remain unused.
Setting them up with some fun games they enjoy promotes familiarity with their device easing the technological barrier. This in turn boosts their self-confidence.
1. Candy Crush Saga
Candy Crush, initially released back in 2012, remains one of the most popular games ever. In fact, it has been downloaded more than 2.7 billion times! This includes Soda Saga, Jelly Saga and Friends Saga.
If you’ve never played it, you might be questioning the appeal. The core gameplay is matching three colored candies in a row. That’s when the fun begins!
As the three matching candies disappear, others from above drop down creating new combinations and taking on a life of their own.
It’s one of those games perfect for passing a few minutes on the bus or waiting at an appointment. With mouth-watering graphics, 3D imagery and an ever-changing environment, playing is a blast.
Although, if you’re not careful, you might find yourself not being able to put the darn game down. It’s that addictive! New levels are still being added with team play available.
While completely free to download and play, advanced users may choose to purchase extra moves or other add-ons.
2. Super Mario Run
Super Mario Games have also been around for a long time and were first released on the Nintendo gaming console. The downloadable app for phones and tablets is a game changer.
All the excitement and action can be played with one hand. If you've never played it before, check out this YouTube video.
Mario races forward and the timing of your taps will have him executing spectacular jumps and mid-air spins. Ultimately to rescue Princess Peach, but first to avoid obstacles and gather coins.
World Tour is the main gameplay mode with 24 levels. More advanced and premium levels include Remix 10, Toad Rally and Kingdom Builder.
3. Angry Birds 2
Another one of the best online games for older adults is Angry Birds. Three days after it’s 2015 release, it was downloaded over 10 million times. Since then, it has had over 4.5 billion downloads!
There’s something addicting about slinging those birds at the evil pigs. The graphics are stunning with about 240 levels. New capabilities are earned and the challenges increase. There are also team play options.
Strategy is involved as different colored birds have specialized capabilities.
For example, the red bird gives out a battle cry which acts like a sound wave. The blue bird splits into three and can easily destroy ice objects. The black bird detonates like a bomb, blowing up most structures.
4. Farmville 2: Tropic Escape
The game concept is escaping to a tropical island and running your own resort. Your new life in paradise begins with setting up amenities such as a Tiki Bar, Sushi Stand and much more.
These are earned by farming tropical fruits, crafting fun drinks and food delicacies. This YouTube video chronicles the start of the adventure and the first few levels.
Lots of fun and adventure as you:
There’re multiple variations of the Farmville themes. The tropical escape might be the most fun, especially for anyone intrigued with island getaways.
5. Words of Wonders: Crossword
Crosswords can be frustrating and intimidating. Words of wonders creates a whole new spin by providing the letters necessary for each puzzle. The first levels are easy and get progressively more difficult.
This YouTube video will give you a better feel for what it’s all about.
Besides improving vocabulary and spelling skills, you’re traveling the world discovering hidden secrets of the seven wonders and incredible cities. This is an entertaining way to sharpen your mind and give your mental processes a work out.
TETRIS® is the official mobile app to the world’s favorite block puzzle game.
Traditional play allows endless hours of enjoyment or try the quick mode, when you only have a few minutes. The game can be played as a single player or in Tetris Royale, with up to 99 other players.
Fitting these different shapes together is easier said than done. This YouTube is an excellent beginner video illustrating the many combinations.
Of special note, studies of the “Tetris Effect” revealed reduced anxiety with the brain becoming more efficient. Further brain imaging research found regular play led to thicker cortexes, creating greater spatial reasoning and memory retention.
7. Mahjong Solitaire Classic
Another brain stimulating game is Mahjong solitaire.
The goal is to clear all tiles by matching them in pairs. This not only improves concentration, but also stimulates the mind. Playing such games might even lower risk of dementia!
This YouTube is from the creator of the game, Arkadium, and provides a great tutorial on how to play it.
Moreover, playing is relaxing and even therapeutic. It’s you and the tiles as your pattern recognitions skills sharpen. When you get stuck, there’s a “hint” and “shuffle” feature to get things moving.
With a wide variety of boards and layouts, you’ll never get bored.
Another brain teaser, 2048 is challenging and offers hours of fun. The objective is getting the tiles to add up to 2048. This requires thinking quickly and strategizing your moves to align the board. This You Tube shares strategy tips on how to win.
Another advantage of 2048 is it doesn’t take up much space or data on your phone. This means it can be played offline or when an internet connection isn’t available.
Backgammon is a game of skill, strategy and chance. Historical variations were played in Mesopotamia and Egypt thousands of years ago. Thus, it’s considered one of the oldest games and the online version is even more fun.
This YouTube video reviews the top ten mobile backgammon games.
Millions of backgammon lovers from around the world play it on a daily basis. If you’re up to the challenge, you might find yourself competing against someone in a far-off land.
10. Fishing Clash
Avid anglers will love this thrilling fishing simulator game. The game mixes the excitement of sport fishing along with all the bragging rights of the big one which didn’t get away. Play singly, invite a friend(s) or join a tournament.
For a demonstration, watch this YouTube.
Enjoy adventures in some of the world’s best fishing spots in the world. Learn about hundreds of different species of fish and feel like you’re on an actual trip.
11. PGA Tour Golf Shootout
Another simulation game is PGA Tour Golf Shootout with stunningly realistic graphics. Play on five gorgeous courses with eighty-five holes. Again, play singly, invite a friend(s) or join a tournament.
If golf is your passion, be sure to check out this YouTube.
As you advance, you’ll be able to upgrade to over fifty golf clubs with special powers and unique abilities.
12. Casino Games
If you enjoy hitting the casino occasionally, there are literally dozens of gambling apps. Each of them can provide the games and excitement right on your phone or tablet. All fun and games until you run out of money, just like at the real casinos.
At this point, they’ll make you an offer to purchase more to keep on playing. Rather than spending hard earned money, my preference is to switch to another casino app. Each day they replenish your play money, so why spend your own?
You might be interested in MGM Slots Live which can be seen on YouTube. Besides great graphics and an exciting user experience, it's possible to earn loyalty points for real life rewards.
The only caveat when it comes to casino games, gamble responsibly.
Closing Thoughts on Best Free Online Games for Older Adults
If you’re a newbie to all this, these are the best free games to get started with. They’ve all stood the test of time and you should be able to download / play them for free.
With the amazing graphics and multiple levels of play; you’re sure to have endless hours of entertainment.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of online games is mental health, particularly for seniors. Considerable research has been conducted into this topic.
Benefits include sharpened focus and concentration, reduced anxiety, improved problem solving skills and potentially, a lower risk of dementia.
As wonderful as all this sounds, there’s much more to keeping active and engaged. In our article, The Ultimate Guide of Things to Do, we share more ideas on how to make the most out of your retirement.
Related post: 12 of the Best Card Games for Older Adults