Recently I found an article titled “Sorry, nerds: Video Games are not a sport” As someone who has played a large amount of both traditional sports, as well as video games considered eSports, I figured I’m about as qualified as this guy to give my own opinion.
Problems with the article
It’s very obvious that this guy has a huge stick up his ass when it comes to people who play video games. He shows this by saying things like “in order to regulate competitions between young adult gamers, taking over a role that had previously belonged to their mothers who needed the garbage taken out.” Just based on this alone it’s obvious that he has a mental image of a fat slob whose life is in shambles being the only type of person who plays professional video games.
He begins by talking about the founding of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, which is an organization that oversees leagues for eSports titles for college teams. After saying the above quote, he tries to dismiss the concept of handing out “athletic” scholarships to those talented enough in an eSports title to earn one by saying “Imagine being that kid’s parents. ‘Oh, yes, Dylan just got accepted with an athletic scholarship.’ ‘That’s wonderful. Cross country, right?’ ‘No, Wario’s Woods.'” Never mind the fact that Wario’s Woods isn’t considered an eSport title, he hasn’t yet made an argument as to why eSports shouldn’t be considered a sport. He’s only trying to make jokes to make the concept of scholarships for being good at an eSports title seem outlandish or ridiculous, to try and sway your opinion without having to make an argument.
Finally, in the following parargraph he attempts to make an argument as to why eSports shouldn’t be considered a sport. “Video games are not a sport. On the loosest imaginable definition a sport involves not only skill and competition but physical exertion and at least the possibility of injury. Even darts and pool and ping pong are, in the broadest sense, sports. Sitting on a couch interacting with your television set is not a sport, otherwise watching CNN with your grandfather would be one. So would self-abuse.” So not only is his definition of a sport not correct, but his attempt at funny and clever little comparison between sitting on the couch and playing an eSports title falls flat. The definition of a sport is as follows: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” All video games require varying amounts of physical exertion, and eSports titles in particular are typically held in high regards because of how difficult they are, and how high the skill ceiling is in the game. Chess is considered by many to be a sport, but has less physical exertion than a game such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO. Sitting on the couch with your grandfather includes no physical exertion, whereas playing a video game does. Obviously it’s nowhere near the level of a traditional sport, but all eSports titles require very in-depth and intricate strategy, which is a concept lost on most people who have never played one of these games. Professional players, at least in CS:GO are always practicing, whether it be strategy or aim, they’re putting in more hours than most people working regular jobs. No professional players are just lazing about on their couch and raking in cash, they’re constantly playing and thinking. Following the actual definition of a sport, and not the made up one this guy is going off of, eSports meet the requirement of physical exertion, but also of skill and competition between players or teams. Anybody who thinks that it doesn’t take much skill, time, and/or effort to compete at a professional level have obviously never tried to play these games competitively, else they would know how much work it actually is.
In the following paragraphs, he shifts from video games to the modern college experience. “Undergraduate education is actually a four-year-long debt-financed summer camp for lazy overgrown teenagers. It has nothing to do with the life of the mind, and even less to do with old-fashioned vocational training. One worthless piece of paper is as good as any other, which means that the directional state former polytechnics have to find some non-academic means of competing with each other for the loan dollars that will one day crush their underemployed 20-something graduates.”
Ah, that’s his problem. He’s one of those assholes who shits on the generation below him in an attempt to make himself feel better, something as old as society itself. It really weakens your argument when you shit on a whole generation of students, many of whom work incredibly hard to succeed, in an attempt to dismiss something you just simply don’t understand. Calling a college degree worthless just yet again shows how out of touch he really is, although he does have a point about the crippling debt that most grads face.
Look, if he wanted to just write about the shit-show that is modern-day student debt, then that’s one thing. I actually agree that the crippling student debt is a massive issue that we as a country need to address before it bites us in the ass, but you come off as out of touch by shitting on not only video games, but a whole generation of college students.
“As I write this, hundreds of millions of dollars are being made streaming video games on the internet by people with few or any other marketable skills.” To you, someone who obviously doesn’t understand the concept of people who enjoy watching others play video games, it may seem ridiculous that people earn hundreds of thousands of dollars by live streaming themselves playing video games. It further shows your lack of understanding though bu claiming that these people have “few or any other marketable skills” than just playing video games. You have a couple different ways to “make it” as a streamer. You either have to be so good you’re in the top percent of the top percent of players, which draws viewers for the same reason that the NBA or NFL does. You can also be entertaining and funny, which draws people not solely for the game play, but for the personality behind the screen. Either way, it definitely takes a certain skill set to actually succeed as a streamer.
“Enjoyed in moderation, they are probably a harmless pastime like anything else. But increasingly the reality is not 10-year-olds leveling up their Pikachus on the school bus or even high-school kids unwinding with a little Goldeneye but adults — almost all of them men — in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s playing games for hours every day. Gaming is not only a compulsion, but something far more sinister — what one game designer has called “a simulation of being an expert.” In a country without meaningful or well-paying opportunities for work young people disappear into their fantasies of competence in which they fly airplanes and score touchdowns and perform daring commando raids without having to go further than the refrigerator.”
How is playing games any different than watching TV for a few hours after work every day? It’s a hobby just like any other, and more engaging than something like TV. Calling gaming a compulsion doesn’t really mean anything. Like my previous point, watching TV is a compulsion, there’s a reason that tons of people brag about binging TV shows. And while it is true that many young people use video games as an escape from a shitty life, how is that a bad thing? Would you rather them be stranded without a coping mechanism? Playing video games doesn’t hurt anybody else, and if it wasn’t video games they got addicted to it could’ve easily been something far worse. I can’t say the same for other games, but at least in the pro CS:GO scene it isn’t uncommon for players to be completing bachelors or masters degrees while also dedicating countless hours to improving in game. Pro CS:GO players don’t fit the stereotype that he seems to have for pro players. Sure there are some overweight players, but there are also plenty of players who used to play traditional sports, are in very good shape, have fine social lives, and are well-rounded, functioning adults. It’s a fairly good representation of the worlds population actually, with both fit and overweight players, players from different backgrounds, players of different ages. The old stereotype of a fat man-child is an old, tired, inaccurate caricature that people love to use to shit on players.
“Video games are, in other words, another of those illusions we peddle to convince people that the world’s problems do not exist.” How the fuck do I even respond to something so stupid. Yes, while some may play to temporarily escape a shitty life, this isn’t some black mirror episode where real life is impossible to differentiate from the in-game world.
“Sports, by comparison, are very much of this world.” People often play sports to escape a shitty life as well, a common talking point among pro players of various sports. Yet you don’t use that same concept of escape to try and say that real sports are dangerous and not legitimate forms of competition.
“Compared with what’s going on inside a PlayStation the most insignificant Saturday afternoon baseball game between two clubs with losing records is a thing of epochal significance, brimming with meaningful human drama.” Wow, people tend to enjoy different things in different ways, what a crazy concept.
I don’t have a good segue, but a short point that isn’t usually discussed is that getting eSports recognized as a sport would help with international tournaments and events. Players often have to get a visa to travel and compete in a different country, which can sometimes be denied. Getting eSports recognized as a sport would allow for an easier process to obtain a visa. This, in my opinion, is more important than winning the support of the people who don’t view eSports as a sport, because most won’t change their minds no matter what happens.
This article just reeks of an old man not understanding a new medium, screaming “Get off my lawn!!” and thinking he’s clever for making weak arguments against things he doesn’t understand, and shitting on a younger generation to make himself feel superior, like the generation before him, and the generation before that, and the generation before that, back to the beginning of time. Whether he likes it or not, the push to legitimize eSports will continue.