Mention a Nintendo Wii game console and you'll see their eyes light up with joy. Hearing them recount the many wonderful attributes of the popular game system, one would think it was the best thing since frozen pizza. And maybe it is.
These aren't children talking about the Wii, however, these are senior citizens at the Williams Senior Center, grandparents and great-grandparents, who are just as addicted to the machines as their offspring's offspring.
Seniors, such as Linda Henderson and Penny Joy and many more, traveled to the Williams Recreation Center each Tuesday to use the center's Wii. There, once they got accustomed to the game, the group formed their very own Wii bowling league, called the Gutterhuggers. Max Bishop, director of the Williams Senior Center, retains the league's scores for the group. The Williams Rec Center allows use of the Wii during Family Game Night Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Williams area resident Penny Joy said she loves her weekly trips to play the Wii.
"I think it's one of the most exciting things we've done," Joy said. "Competition is fun."
"I go for the fellowship and companionship and it is exercise that we don't even know that we're doing," said Williams resident Linda Henderson. "The good thing about this bowling is that anyone can."
The Wii, launched across the United States in late 2006, has been so popular with seniors in Williams that a number of the city's youth decided to hold a fundraiser to buy members of the Williams Senior Center a Wii of their own. When they were nearly halfway done with the fundraiser, private donors kicked in the remaining funds to purchase the game console, which retails for roughly $300. Altogether, and with the assistance of the non-profit "Inspirations" group, the Williams Alliance, the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, and the city of Williams, the youth raised a total of $142. The youth presented the funds to a grateful crowd at the Williams Senior Center Jan. 8.
While Joy said she'd miss the trips to the rec center, she said she was thrilled by the prospect of having a Wii at the Senior Center.
"It was just too difficult to go over there, because of the weather," she said.
Henderson said she appreciated all the help the seniors received from the rec center and the youth in the community.
"These young people here are just awesome," Henderson said.
Rose Newbold, Williams recreation manager, said she would miss seeing the seniors during their weekly trips to the rec center, but added that she was glad the youth at the rec center were able to help in the purchase of the Wii.
"We've enjoyed their weekly visits," Newbold said.
Since its 2006 release, the Wii has sold over 15.9 million units in the United States alone. Japanese consumers make up the second largest sales figure, with 6.91 million units sold. Over 12 million units have been sold in other regions across the globe, according to reports.