The Olympic games, another old man criticises video games

The average Olympic contestant is 24, the average Olympic viewer is 46 and the average International Olympic Committee member is 61.7. And their president, 66 year old Jacques Rogge, is worried about the competition from video games:  “Kids are attracted to visual, interactive forms of communication. It’s not going to be easy for sport to counter that.”

But, worryingly, he then goes on to say: “You won’t hear me saying sport is not fun – it is. But it requires austerity and discipline. The answer is achievement. You will never achieve in a video game. It is not really success.” But, presumably he thinks that sports are. And this demonstrates just how out of touch with reality he is.

To me a top professional video gamer, like Jonathan Wendel, is exactly the same as an Olympian. They take a mundane entertainment that we can all do and reach a stratospherically higher level that only a handful of people on the planet can achieve. They inspire by taking the human condition to rarefied places.

But surely being an Olympian or a professional gamer is not achievement or real success. It is just taking a form of entertainment to the nth degree. Real achievement or success is raising chidren to be good citizens, building a business from nothing, serving your community well or advancing an area of human knowledge.

And the Olympics lost all credibility when they started dishing out half a dozen gold medals to one person. For swimming.

1 Comment

  1. As an Australian I love the ability of a single person to win multiple gold medals, especially in swimming, since we wouldn’t be competitive otherwise 😛

    I think competitive gaming has a lot of potential. It will be a very long time before a gaming competition could achieve the kind of reputation something like the Olympics has, but I can definitely see it competing with the more common sports like Football (of it’s various kinds). We already have MLG stuff shown on EPSN, even if it is one of the secondary channels and mostly very late at night. Korea’s Starcraft obsession also shows that it’s possible for a mainstream society to get behind games and gamers as celebrities.

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