Chile granny finds solace in online gaming

Maria Elena Arevalo, an 81-year-old grandmother from rural Chile, is not your typical online gaming player. While most players of the popular game Free Fire are unaware of her true identity, she transforms into a fierce warrior known as “Mami Nena” in the game. 

From her home in a small village, Arevalo takes on opponents with her gun-wielding skills, mowing down rivals in a battle for survival on a virtual remote island.

Arevalo, who is often seen wearing an apron over a frilly skirt, is far from what one would expect of a hardcore gamer. She was introduced to the world of gaming by her grandson, Hector Carrasco, after experiencing loneliness following the death of her husband of 56 years in 2020.


At first, she had no idea what a mouse was but soon became captivated by the digital world of gaming. Playing the game with her grandson brought her joy and helped her overcome the grief of losing her husband.

She has gained a significant following on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, where she shares tips and tricks with other players. Last year, she even traveled to Mexico City as a Free Fire ambassador for the game’s anniversary celebrations, marking her first-ever trip abroad.


Arevalo’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. She was recently recognized as one of Chile’s 100 most important elderly people, breaking down age stereotypes. Her grandson, Carrasco, is in awe of her and considers her his best friend.

Despite facing challenges like scleroderma, a disease that affects the skin, Arevalo shows no signs of slowing down. Gaming has become her passion, providing her with a sense of purpose and companionship. She is just one example of how older people are finding solace in gaming, challenging the perception that gaming is only for the younger generation.

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