A great-grandmother who describes herself as a “video game addict” plays up to eight hours a day – even in the middle of the night.
Bridget Odlin was ahead of her time when she picked up her first controller over 40 years ago.
She bought a Nintendo console with a Super Mario title for her son Andrew, who was then 13 years old – and loved it.
Bridget is so well known in gaming circles that she is promoting a national tournament later this month at the age of 76.
The former councilor from Louth, Lincolnshire, said, “I remember vividly Andrew wouldn’t let me go and he said to me,” Oh, you would just ruin it. “
“But I was really curious and shortly afterwards my husband bought me my own console along with another copy of Mario and I was absolutely thrilled. I was hooked.
“My son couldn’t believe it. He was telling everyone at school, ‘My mom plays video games!”
“It really helped us to have a connection. Teenagers are hard to understand at times, but my game has given us a level playing field and something to talk about. “
She added, “We even started playing games like Mario Kart together.”
Andrew died suddenly in 2009, but the mother of three, who has nine grandchildren between the ages of 30 and seven and two great-grandchildren between the ages of one and seven, still thinks of him when she plays.
Bridget, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), says gambling kept her healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said, “I played many, many games while we were suspended. It kept me sane.
“Because I shield myself, I haven’t been to stores or anything, so gambling was a lifesaver.”
Bridget’s husband Philip, 68, a retired motorcycle mechanic, is now a gamer too.
He always supported her obsession – and even bought her every new Nintendo and PlayStation console as soon as they were released.
She said, “He always bought me new consoles when they came out because I never lost my gaming thrill.
“I’ve played hundreds of games and Philip really spoils me.”
Bridget has since managed to convince motorcycle enthusiast Philip to take up the hobby after telling her what to do in a video game she played while on vacation in Lanzarote.
As a fan of open-world and puzzle games like Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, she admits that she snuck out of bed in the middle of the night to solve gaming problems.
She said, “If I’m stuck with a puzzle and wake up at 2am and think,” Oh, I know how to do that. “I get up and turn on the console.
“I’m a keen player, I’m an addict.”
Her passion for gaming also makes her a super cool grandmother as she often connects with her grandchildren through a console and says that her knowledge of video games helps bridge the generation gap.
Bridget believes gaming is good for the brain and wants to encourage other elderly people – and families – to take over controllers and play, especially during the pandemic.
And she is excited to promote the Cadbury’s Heroes League tournament on November 14th on the live streaming platform Twitch, which is being hosted to raise awareness of the benefits of gaming.
She said, “People say video games are only for teenagers sitting in their bedrooms, but they’re not.”
“Children can outgrow their grandparents quickly when they become teenagers, but our love of video games means we can always find common ground.
“I think I’ll be in my wheelchair and still play.”
Visit the Cadbury Instagram page or watch the tournament on Twitch on November 14th to connect with your family about games and Cadbury Heroes.