The subtle art of granny bashing

Little old ladies and little old men across the United States are getting their own back, thanks to virtual sport.

As part of health trials in the USA retirement homes are providing their clients with interactive computer games; games which require the players to stand up and move their hands and bodies to animate a small character or avatar on the screen. Although the computer games allow competing players to play each other at baseball or tennis, the most popular game appears to be boxing.

So when family members visit granny, they regularly become embroiled in a knock-down drag-out virtual biffo with their forebear. The games, which are proving to be a great rehabilitation tool, are also providing the elderly with a chance to virtually clobber their kids and they love it.

I am no great advocate of what pugilists euphemistically refer to as the sweet science but I can foresee these interactive games becoming the next big thing in aged care.

When I found out my neighbour Beryl had one of the new-fangled machines I rushed on over to give it a go. It didnt take long to build a character. I called my avatar Big Merv and gave him a handlebar mustache and a box of high fibre cereal to smack his opponents with. Furthermore, my avatar only fights with the Rocky soundtrack roaring in the background. Hes got a big burly minder called the Big O a large shadowy figure dressed in robes like the Pope. Hes not very bright my little anime; he lets Big O do the talkin when things get a bit tricky like when someone asks him his name. So having established my avatar and given him a personality, I dared Beryl to a battle royale. She decided shed build a woman boxer, to fight the good fight. An anti-smoking female activist with rippling biceps, fighting with a copy of the rules of combat and a petition to save the whales.

It was a tough encounter. I spent the opening rounds playing dead, pretending that I was the retiring type. Then, in a desperate whirling combination of punches and bowel cleansing bran, my little guy threw everything at her. Annoyingly nothing landed. Beryl knew I was playing possum and when her Starlet Hope hammered me, she said it served me right. This is a new era, Beryl said one where an 80-something chick in a cardigan with a set of scones in the oven can kick my sorry arse.

Lets face it, I could have beaten her if I wanted to... she just caught me off guard this time, thats all. I won t let that Im-so-innocent-and-smell-like-jam-and-do-charity-work facade fool me next time.


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