Geeks unite! Computer
gaming a legitimate sport
On the DL
Gazette file photo
GAMES, GAMES. Gamers will be happy this weekend when they’re
playing PS2 among other systems.
It’s exciting, it’s fast-paced and it exercises your
wrist and your mind. No, not that. I’m talking about competitive
That’s right. Whether you know it or not, lots of people
around the world — myself included — now regard playing
computer games competitively as a genuine sport.
I can see the dissenting letters already. “There’s
no physical activity, the athletes are fat bastards and there’s
no skill involved.” Allow me to pre-emptively retort.
First, I’ll admit that physical activity plays little part
in playing computer games. However, you still need plenty of hand-eye
co-ordination, as players have to work a keyboard with one hand — certainly
a familiar phenomenon for many lonely gamers — and the mouse
with the other. Modern first-person shooters have so many keyboard
commands that your hands have to be as quick as your wits.
As for required skills, you’d be surprised at what you need.
Besides fast reflexes, you also have to strategize effectively
on your feet. The mental aspect of gaming is vast and unlike a
turn-based game like chess or Risk, the decisions are made on the
As for the lack of fitness in gamers, I must concede. Gaming is
not conducive to fitness, as the hours of practice are stationary
(unless you’re one of those freaks that spends his time at
Dance Dance Revolution.) Also, the foods linked with gaming aren’t
exactly healthy. When it’s 3 a.m. and you’re playing
a pitched game of Battlefield 1942, few things sate the appetite
better than the vaunted quarter pounder, despite the digestive
troubles that inevitably occur around 5 a.m..
In South Korea (the North is too busy with nukes), competitive
gaming is already huge. Top gamers are celebrities and three TV
stations devote themselves to covering tournaments, reviewing new
titles and interviewing game developers and players.
This weekend, Western plays host to its first-ever campus-wide
LAN party to take place outside of residence. For a full 24 hours
between Saturday and Sunday, the University Community Centre will
be packed with avid gamers. As of writing, over 60 people have
registered and it’s likely that even more will do so before
So don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. If you
still think that gaming isn’t a sport, I’d need more
space than this to convince you otherwise. In the meantime, for
the believers and the easily converted, I’m looking forward
to seeing your “mad leet skillz” this weekend.