Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Grandma Plays Bingo, Bitch!

Grandma sometimes indulges in the old-timey sport reserved for the elderly- Bingo. For those of you who have never been, Bingo is sort of like a cross between the lottery and Rock Paper Scissors. It's all luck, but you convince yourself that strategy is somehow involved. Normally you will have one grandma in a corner with a single sheet of games (9 games) and the "hardcore" grandmas sitting together smoking; each with two pads (18 games) sitting in front of them, lucky dobbing color ready to scan the paper at high speeds for such tricky beasts as B6 or the elusive N25.

We've all done stupid things of which we're somewhat ashamed. I've seen the movie "Koyaanisqasti" at least thirty times. I'll probably watch it again, feeling all superior and artsy because I "get the message." But going with Grandma to play Bingo without alcohol in any form is probably one of the dumbest.

I can best Grandma in Halo 2; she can kick my ass in Hot Shots Golf. I can out team her in Madden; but she can destroy me in Doom 3. I can climb a rock wall pretty fast; but Grandma will be forever known as the Bingo Gladiator.

Most bingo halls in the area cater to the elderly, so they read out the numbers nice and slow; reaching in to a big ol' bin of balls and lethargically reciting the numbers in between long sips of hot coffee. But not this place- this place has for one reason or another hired what seems to be a cattle auctioneer from the 19th century. If this man spoke just a bit faster, he could out compete the digitally shortened legal disclaimers at the end of furniture commercials on the radio. This means that after the guy reads out a number, one has to search through 18 cards to find it multiple times all before his speedy hand picks up the next ball and repeats the process.

And I have to go to the washroom because god DAMN that was strong coffee.


I manuver my way through the corridors of walkers, wheel chairs and oxygen tanks knowing that I may be lynched if I distract any pensioners away from their zen focus. I might as well have been a dancing clown with an airhorn at a LAN party. I knew I lost this game; by the time I would get back, twenty numbers could have been read and there was no way I could catch up.

When I returned; Grandma showed me my cards and said "you won, you have to go over there so they can confirm it." Well son of a bitch. While I was off in the bathroom Grandma had managed to play all four cards; 36 games simultaneously; with the Micro Machines guy at the helm reading numbers.

When one plays video games, one plays hard in all games it seems. To say the least, I was humbled by the experience.

--More updates on the way! Sorry about the delay in posting over the weekend; we were out of town busting heads for the boss. Coming tonight- Ask Grandma Hardcore #3; Open Forum..... More to come tomorrow..... Thanks for all the comments and e-mails! --


  • At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are SO funny!

    Thaks for making me laugh out loud at least once a day.

  • At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    my grandparents partook in a similar weekend quasi-gambeling extravangaza..

    Monte Carlo night at the local Bowling alley..

    handing an 8 year old a 20$ so he could play arcade games while they bowl for cash and get drunk, is a sure fire way to guarentee that said child grows up to drink copious amounts of alcohol in social sitatuons, throw money away needlessly gambeling, and play video games for 6 to 8 hours on a regular basis..

    thanks grandma

  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger Collin said…

    I was wondering if either you or your grandma had an opinion, as gamers, about this:


  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    After reading the article, I had to do a little thinking. I could see the issue both ways, I suppose. On one hand, it is true that one can read many more books from many different publishers in contrast to the number of limited gaming companies with access to to the tools needed to develop and promote games for major consoles. I can understand the frustration of gamers and developers alike looking for vast collections on systems of "what could have been."

    There is a reason that the industry tries to keep development so controlled. There was a good Escapist (see my links) article that mentioned the gaming industry is BIGGER thank the movie industry. Think of the opening of a major blockbuster and what it pulls in on its first day. Now think of Halo 2. Bungie and Microsoft made a fucking awesome game and sold it for 60$ a pop. Most movie theaters charge around $8 a head to view the flick once; and then if it's any good, most of us will at least rent it or buy it on DVD for about $15-20. The gaming industry is hugely successful only because of the buying habits of the consumer.

    They can't bank on sleeper hits and innovation; they have to answer to investors. This means there are a whole bunch of shitty games based off existing popular culture that have little to do with the joys of gaming. Luckily, there are plenty of great games that come from pretty decent, gamer-friendly companies that try to make a game worth playing, rather than simply hyped enough one just has to BUY it and use it as a status symbol.

    I'm not going to say this company=good and this company=bad because I won't kiss ass. I will say that I've liked what major game companies have produced over the years, and most of what Grandma plays is based off reviews given by major magazines, some of which recieve advertising dollar from the game companies themselves, and some with obvious access to the companies themselves. While this may make the game industry insincere; it doesn't change the fact that we've played some really fucking cool games.

    I'm curious to see what Redwood City and the folks at EA are making. If a group threatens EA with developing an open platform with some decent games- I'll probably play them- I'm a gamer; but that doesn't mean I'll stop buying EA games if I like what I see.

    This is a hugely complex issue an idiot like me can't possibly summarize a response to in the comments section of my blog about Grandma, but I'm open to discourse about the whole thing. I'm sure a common ground can be reached.

  • At 6:29 PM, Blogger Stephanie said…

    It's a conundrum. Pure and simple.

    And, I would like to state for the record,that I LOVE The Escapist. I have pace myself and make it last all week. (new issue tomorrow!) Thank you for introducing me to it!

    And I love your Bingo story!

  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Collin said…

    Common ground shouldn't be a problem. I don't agree with everything that was written there either. I commented with the link before I'd finished part one because I was curious what your take on it would be.

    I've been a gamer for as long as I can remember, starting with the Atari 2600, and have always wanted to be a game designer or have some part on a game designing team. Now that the majority of the Gaming Industry has "Gone Hollywood" the chances of my being able to do that are slim to none.

    In an environment similar to what the Scratchware Manifesto is talking about I would have a chance.

    I have done some game artwork for a shareware gaming company based out of Germany but I basically got shafted on that.

    I don't know the answers either. I've played many great games and many not-so-great games that were powered by hype. No matter what though, I'll keep on gaming.

  • At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LOL, great article today. Only you could make Bingo funny.

  • At 7:14 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    There is obviously a lot to the issue I as a gamer rather than a developer just won't get right away. I understand marketing, but you mentioned getting shafted on some shareware work- that's harsh no matter who you work for dude- That just sucks.

    There have been plenty of really great shareware games I've enjoyed, and it isn't hard to pony up the cash to the address on the main interface of the game to send some love the developers way. The fact that you got cut out out of the deal reflects an aspect I just don't have enough information on.

    If the principle of the article is that up and coming developers or developers in smaller companies needs to be recognized more- abso-fucking-lutely. I'll buy your games, I'll play them, I'll game till I die on good games, man. I just won't burn my Playstation 2 in effigy, thasall.

    Well, it's just after 8:00 on the East Coast, so I got to open up a new forum; but if you want to keep talking about the issue- you are more than free to put up comments in this thread or e-mail me; it's always good to learn more about the industry- and I'm completely willing to be educated.


  • At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What did you win?

  • At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Funny Blog! As a kid i was taken to bingo my grandmother and tortured mercilessly for hours on end but i never complained! Mostly because she won often and bought me toys! lol

  • At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There are rumours that bingo is being banned in the US, is that true?
    In the UK, bingo has suffered in recent months due to the ban on smoking in public places, causing smoking customers to either go outside for a cig and face the harsh cold (not a good move for the aged) or stay at home and not play, thus forcing people like me to Free Internet Bingo Games. But banning bingo completely is ridiculous! It is a very mind form of gambling at the most! If you’re going to ban bingo then the lottery has to go too surely? Isn’t that gambling?
    Bingo is a number game, based on pure luck, so really it’s not even similar to other gambling games such as poker and sports betting. It’s just like buying a lottery ticket just you have to get more numbers! So then why is it such a problem? Its just takes away the older generations entertainment while the younger generations indulge in perfectly “legal” things like DRUGS! Can they not see which the bigger problem is?

  • At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Iv started playing internet bingo games recently and im starting to become a big fan, it’s a great way to spend a few hours in the evening if I cant be bothered to leave the house! There are loads of good free online bingo sites I find new ones all the time.

  • At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    they can't just ban bingo like they banned online poker can they?

  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    grandmas rule at bingo

  • At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looking at this content, I had to try and do somewhatGW2 Gems contemplating. I could see the problem both ways, Maybe. On one side, it is a fact that one can study many more publications from a variety of publishers as opposed to the quantity of minimal video gaming organizations using use of for the tools needed to create andMoP Key encourage game titles pertaining to major games consoles.


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