Can we please stop this nonsense?
Listen, I have no issues with video games. In fact, I’ve loved them my entire life.
When I was little, I would walk to the convenience stores around my neighborhood to watch the older kids play the standup games, hoping they’d give me a chance to pop in a quarter. It usually didn’t happen, though.
I can remember playing the original Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo, slowly advancing my way through the levels, and then leaving it on pause for hours while at church because there was no memory back then. When the machine turned off, the game started over from the beginning.
Once I could drive, I’d go to the arcades and waste entire evenings enjoying the chaos of countless games producing flashing lights and loud sounds.
Even as an adult, I’ve owned a number of different systems over the years, and pretty much everybody is addicted to one game or another on their phones.
I actually believe video games are more than merely simple diversions and consider them beneficial tools capable of honing certain reflexes and skills, like hand-eye coordination, concentration and problem solving.
My problem with video games is due to how they are being represented — as sport.
I’m not sure exactly how the label came about, but the term eSports is about as misleading as seeing the words “all natural” on the side of a soda can.
For anyone unaware, eSports are essentially organized tournaments that crown champions for various video games. It can be for one-on-one fighting games or team-based shooting games or anything in between.
I guess I just have a fairly rigid definition of sports, and it doesn’t involve staring at a television screen.
Sports require either a person or team to play both offense and defense, there must be some sort of points scored, and it cannot be judged. Basically, if it doesn’t fit those three criteria, then it isn’t a competition or game of skill.
Therefore, things like golf, auto racing, mixed martial arts or running are not technically sports.
This doesn’t mean the athletes don’t share many if not all of the same traits or that one requires more discipline or preparation than the other, but there is a difference.
Maybe I’m complaining about a technicality, but the world of competitive video game playing is as far from a legitimate sport as poker, spelling bees and American Ninja Warrior.
But the eSports industry generates millions of dollars, drawing stadiums full of fans for its most prominent events. They have airtime on ESPN and Turner Broadcasting stations and even have a tab on ESPN.com. And eSports is still only in its infancy.
As a lifelong lover of video games, I’m happy to see how mainstream they have become, and I it’s cool how eSports is bringing together fans and legitimizing competition.
I just wish they’d change the name.