Friday, January 29, 2010

The Olympics and Games

I was in China (in Wenzhou, a city on the East Coast about halfway between Shanghai and Beijing with a population rivaling that of New York City) in 2008, during both the lead-up to and actual event of the 2008 Olympics. And, by pure coincidence, I returned to my hometown of Vancouver and am currently living through (read: tolerating, barely) the civic hype machine of the 2010 Winter Olympics. So you could say that, for better or worse, the Olympics have been an incidental part of my day-to-day life for the last two years at least.

Kotaku links to an article published in Macleans wherein it is proposed that videogaming be included in the Olympics. The argument goes that the line between real and virtual athletics has been blurred to the point where focusing exclusively on "real" events is outdated, irrelevant, and just plain not very cool.

While I appreciate the sentiment, I think this is a ludicrous idea for a number of reasons. First of all, NO ONE is going to be interested in watching a bunch of people play games on TV. I don't care how you gussy it up, it is just not interesting enough to compel the average person to sit through it when they could be playing videogames themselves. Secondly, despite the bent of the article, gaming and athletics are (I'm sorry to say) pretty much mutually exclusive. That's not to say there isn't a huge crossover between the two interests, but there are established venues for each and including gaming in the Olympics smacks of 'desperate marketing ploy'. You are, of course, more than welcome to disagree with me in the comments.

Having said ALL of that... I was deeply amused when I played Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games and saw that all the skylines were those of Vancouver.

Has there been either a Mario game or a Sonic game set in YOUR city? How about both of them at once? I thought not.

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