Gaming Grandad

The story of a 74 year old, who games online with his friend in California!
23 June 2020

Interview with 

Chris Berrow, Naked Gaming Podcast


An Xbox controller


Garry Bowhill-Mann is a full time carer for his wife… a grandad, and at the age of 74, a gamer! He’s been using gaming to meet up with his friend Mike Nolan, who’s 71, so they can play Division II and Ghost Recon together...

Garry is based in East Anglia in the UK… Mike is in California...

They actually met online… but not so long ago they also met in real life for the first time!

Chris Berrow - I caught up with Garry and Tullulah Self - his granddaughter… who helped to make a film about his experiences called Game of Life… and we’ll hear from Mike as well later on…

Garry - Oh, I've always always played games. Yeah. I mean, going back right back when I was younger, I used to play chess and those things. I got a computer for my degree and I discovered you play video games on it. And there was one called Dungeon Keeper.

Chris - And games nowadays are so complicated and the graphics are so good. And they're, they're very realistic as well. Is that, I suppose, one of the attractions that brought you to some of the most current games, because the Division II is hugely, you know, complicated and it's about taking cover and stuff like that. I guess that's one of the attractions nowadays.

Garry - Yeah. Yeah. I mean your avatar, you sort of grow to it and you, um, it's a lot more technical now than the graphics are brilliant. 

Chris - Then tell us about this meeting. One of the key moments of the film is this journey and this flight...

Tallulah - We knew right from the start that to make this film work and make it a journey. We want to have the moment where they meet. I mean, at the time it seemed pretty ambitious that we were going to take my 74 year old granddad all the way to California. So I spoke to Mike because obviously we needed to get him on board and he was great.


Chris - How often do you talk? 

Garry - We play every day at two o'clock and Mike comes on.

Chris - Yeah. What is the time difference? It must be super, super early for him. Oh, I see. Oh, you've got a clock there. That's so you know when to call him and you know, we're in kind of unusual, weird times at the moment, a lot of people are staying in more than they normally would be. But have both of you found gaming to be useful during this time, because I've certainly been playing more, more than ever myself.

Garry - Yeah. I mean, I think so, especially in my age group, because we've been really locked away all the time, it gives me an outlet and somebody to talk to, and actually talk about things that are going on. 


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