Old-school gamer

Lisa Moore

Grandma plays grand gamut of games

Barbara St. Hilaire, 69, of Mantua, has been playing video games since the 1970s. She is currently a video game correspondent for MTV and has a monthly Web broadcast titled “The G-Hole.” MICHELE ROEHRIG | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

XBox, XBox 360, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Nintendo DS – Old Grandma Hardcore is a true gamer equipped with all of the latest systems.

Barbara St. Hilaire, 69, of Mantua, also known as Old Grandma Hardcore, and has been gaming since the 1970s.

“I started with arcade games at bowling alleys,” St. Hilaire said. “I was on a bowling league.”

St. Hilaire said she spends an average of 10 hours a day playing video games.

“Most of it’s in the evening after supper,” she said. “I plop down in the chair and that’s where I stay.”

Grandson Timothy St. Hilaire, a photographer for the Record Courier, said he attended Kent State for a year. He created a Web site, www.oghc.blogspot.com, in June about St. Hilaire, posting video and photographs of her gaming. By July, they were seeing a lot of traffic to the Web site.

“I started the Web site that kicked off everything,” Timothy said. “We average about 300 e-mails a day, and I think page loads are almost up to a million.”

Since the Web site was created, St. Hilaire has been very busy. She was hired as a video game correspondent to review video games for MTV Productions.

Grandma’s show is called “The G-Hole,” a video game show featuring top-secret tips and exclusive news, on MTV Overdrive, an Internet broadband channel.


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Timothy said “The G-Hole” “will remain on MTV Overdrive for the life of the show.”

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 19 percent of computer and video game players are 50 years old or older.

Video games help keep senior citizens mentally focused Yvonne Pattie, activities director at Kent Health Care said.

“Just like doing crossword puzzles and word searches – it keeps them mentally focused,” she said.

St. Hilaire said she thinks all the media attention is silly.

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” she said. “I just love to play video games.”

Daily e-mails and a ringing phone keeps Timothy busy managing Grandma’s schedule. The St. Hilaires are scheduled to fly out to New York on Sunday to meet with ESPN The Magazine.

“Don’t ask me what a sports magazine wants with a gamer,” St. Hilaire said.

Grandma will celebrate her 70th birthday on Feb. 1.

“We’ve had a big year and Grandma’s turning 70,” St. Hilaire said. “I mean she’s in her prime, man. She’s got years to go.”

Contact news correspondent Lisa Moore at [email protected]