There is a special esports center in Japan made exclusively for older people. The goal is to connect them through video games and help them avoid feeling isolated, especially amid the pandemic.

Image credit: South China Morning Post’s YouTube channel

The ISR esports center was opened in the city of Kobe in the summer of 2020 but gained attention again this week after South China Morning Post published a video about it.

According to the center’s owner Koji Nashimoto, it was established to help people “find sense of purpose after retirement, avoid feeling isolated as well as create a sense of community.”

Every person who is 60 years old or older can visit the ISR center. The registration is free of charge, offering visitors 90-minute gaming sessions. The players can then talk to each other and drink some tea during the 30-minute break.

63-year-old Tamae Hitomi noted that these sessions help her feel a little younger. And Yuriko Takeda, 70, said that gaming is a good way to train her brain: “I can come here every month with intention of enjoying a new game, even if it’s just a little new, so I never get bored because it’s fresh.”

The ISR staff teaches older players the basic elements of each game, trying not to give them too tricky and complicated tasks. It helps them find a stress-free and safe environment, where they can feel connected to other people after being isolated from the world during lockdowns.