Sparettes vs. Strikers

Shirley Gwinn bowled a 233 game - and she did it without ever setting foot in a bowling alley. Gwinn joined a virtual bowling tournament that pits local senior centers against each other using the Nintendo Wii video game system.

Through this technology, players at Mizell, Joslyn, Cathedral City and Coachella Valley senior centers have formed bowling leagues and will spend the summer competing against each other. The teams have their own distinctive T-shirts and names like The Sparettes and The Strikers.

Nintendo released the $250 game console a year and a half ago. Since then, it has grabbed a far bigger demographic than most video games, likely because it isn't played like other video games.

"When it first came out, it wasn't even on our radar," said Mark Maxwell, director of programs for Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs. "Then we started hearing more and more stories of seniors using the games, and it fit with what we're doing here."

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