A Japanese pensioner has a cult following on YouTube and is one of the oldest online gamers in the world.
Hamako Mori (92) is better known to her 539 000 subscribers as Gamer Grandma.
Her appearance belies the dragon-slaying, grenade-throwing warriors she commands when she picks up a controller and immerses herself in her favourite video games.
The pensioner has been gaming since 1981. The first gaming console she owned was Cassette Vision and since then she’s played Super Mario Brothers, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and Call of Duty, staying up until the wee hours to complete her games.
She’s a big fan of the PlayStation 4 console and particularly enjoys action games like Grand Theft Auto V.
“I didn’t touch it until recently because it’s difficult to play. But recent action games are visually spectacular and they often use actors for characters. So I’m really obsessed with it now,” she says.
Hamako first became interested in video games after she saw kids playing them.
“It looked like so much fun and I thought, ‘It’s not fair if only children play it’,” Hamako says.
“I thought life would be more fun if I knew how to play it. So I started playing – at first, while no one was watching.”
She played on her own before launching her YouTube channel in 2014. The channel grew rapidly and her most popular video boasts at an impressive 4,7 million views. In 2020, Guinness World Records officially awarded her the title of the oldest gaming YouTuber in the world.
“It’s fun being watched by a lot of people, rather than playing alone,” Hamako says.
She has no complaints about her fame.
“I receive a lot of comments saying, ‘Don’t work too hard’. Everyone is so kind. Their comments leave a strong impression on me and make me want to make more videos that people enjoy. I still look forward to everyone’s comments,” she says.
Hamako admits that it’s getting difficult to use the controller as she gets older, but says she has no intention of abandoning her hobby.
“It’s getting hard. It really is, [but] I won’t put it down just because it’s difficult. It’s better than doing nothing,” she says.
“I want to play well no matter how old I am. I want to continue as long as possible.”