Making the PS3 Grandparent Friendly

GameSkinny: teaching old folk new tricks since 2013.
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To the console generation, the PlayStation controller is practically just a limb extension and its use is second nature.

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But to a 63-year-old woman, it might be alien technology or witchcraft. To my Mum’s credit, she didn’t back down from the challenge and even bought the award-winning Journey as an aid to familiarising herself with controller use.

Attaching a keyboard and mouse made certain functions better, even if not all aspects of the interface are mouse-friendly. Using a console controller to “type” is only slightly less frustrating than carving letters into stone tablets or sending smoke signals. There are still certain console idiosyncrasies to overcome, but a keyboard is really a must have for any sane PS3 user.

There’s No Port Left 

It’s worth noting that the in-production PS3s only have two USB ports (their predecessors had 4) – and at least one of those will sometimes be required to recharge the wireless controller. A USB hub resolves this bottleneck if having to repeatedly disconnect and reconnect assorted devices becomes inconvenient.

However, for my truculent, septuagenarian Father the PS3 controller was a non-starter (I’m just waiting for the complaints about the arthritis in his thumbs). My Mum saw this as a good thing – after all, he had the big TV in the other room and she was hoping that he would be discouraged from using the PS3 entirely. I’m still not sure if purchasing a PS3-compatible TV remote was the correct diplomatic decision, but it certainly makes using the PS3 for movies and TV a far more familiar experience.

Despite some challenges with downloading updates to a remote rural area that still thinks the internet is something they bury dead fishermen in, my elderly parents have now joined the console generation. I’m so proud.

Buying Extra Bits

To sum up, peripherals to consider depending on budget and need:

  • Keyboard (highly recommended unless you like to torture yourself)
  • Mouse (not well supported by the main interface, but useful for internet browsing and a few games)
  • USB hub (for reduced USB port hopping on newer PS3s)
  • PS3-compatible TV remote.
  • External Storage (a consideration for 12GB Super Slim buyers)

That’s the old folk sorted. Now to the never-ending challenge of staying one step ahead of the critters…

NEXT: Childproofing the PlayStation 3 – Parental Control Guidance


PlayStation 3 Retirement Assignment Series
  1. The Family Fallback for ‘The Other Room’
  2. Making the PS3 Grandparent Friendly
  3. Childproofing the PlayStation 3: Parental Control Guidance
  4. PlayStation 3: Age Appropriate Gaming and Protecting Your Credit Card

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Image of Mat Westhorpe
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.