Friday, June 02, 2006

Video Games in the Olympics?

Here's an interesting article discussing thoughts of putting video games in the 2008 summer olympics...while I agree with the comments that it can be fun to watch the "best" compete in virtually anything...that appeal can be very short lived in some venues and often Video Gaming is one of those venues.

I still remember the days where most "multiplayer" games were turn based and you had to sit by and watch your opponent as he jumped on turtles, at power pellets, or shot aliens. This could be fun and entertaining, especially the trash talking you could give, but the real reason for sticking around to watch was the expectation that I'd be playing in a few minutes. There are times when I'll stop and watch somebody really good play a game just for the sake of watching them play. It's fun to watch over someone's shoulder as they pull off a perfect race or as they run through a squad of enemies and head shot them all.

Granted, I feel the same way about watching some of the other "sports" they have in the can be fun to watch for a few minutes, but in the end, I often prefer the highlights and the medal score for some events.

There was a TV show way back when called "Starcade" (I think) that featured arcade machines set up in a TV studio and groups of teens would come in and compete against each other. You'd watch them go 'head to head' in a timed round on Burger Time or Galaga. I can't remember the other aspects of the show (whether they had trivia segments or anything to help determine play order or something like that), but as a kid, I found the show entertaining mainly when they played a game I was familiar with and I sat back thinking "I could totally waste that player." So for kids and video game addicts, an olympic staging of video games could be a real draw and could help increase olympic viewing (I understand that American Idol and Desperate Housewives both surpassed the olympics in TV ratings last winter...pretty sad).

What's more sad to me is that the Olympics have to be focussed so much on TV viewing. The point of the olympics is to bring the best athletes in the world together to represent their's not supposed to be about generating ad revenue through TV ads and banners plastered around by various sponsors. Without the major corporate funding, could the olympics fade away and die or would non-profit orgs and government powers step up and keep them running? It's tough to say. I'm sure the IOC would push for increased gov't support and non-profit support, but in the end, the world is far too greedy.

And now that I'm straying off topic, I'll end this post and wish you all a good weekend. :)

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