Cue up John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” competitive video gaming may be an official Olympic sport as soon as the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. It is almost certain to be a part of the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad to take place in Paris in 2024. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already got goose bumps.
Gayle Dickie, CEO of Gamer World News Entertainment, recently stated that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering adding “eSports” in order to attract younger viewers. Dickie told FOX Business Network: “I think including these sports by 2024 would be a fantastic idea not only for the country of France, but for the world in terms of increased revenue and advertising.” She said that Olympic Games “viewership is down 24 percent in the 18-49 demos,” adding that, with 2.2 billion “gamers” throughout the world, the addition of competitive video gaming will substantially increase viewership of the summer games.
Why add them to the summer games? Wouldn’t it make more sense to attach them to the winter games? If it’s 22 degrees below zero out, staying inside and binge-gaming is almost excusable. If you don’t have a job.
The original Olympiads were a platform to showcase human fitness and the beauty of a toned, healthy body and what it could do when properly molded and motivated. Is this in keeping with that idea?
I shouldn’t be skeptical. What could be more thrilling than watching a 27-year-old man from Chicago, Illinois, who lives in his mother’s basement and spends 11 hours a day playing Grand Theft Auto and stuffing his face with Cheetos compete with an acne-faced youngster from the suburbs of Paris to see who is better at handling his joystick?
I think the IOC should have three separate entries for eSports: a “Classic” division, a “Modern” division and an “Actual Sports” division. Those athletes competing in the Classic division would play “Pong,” “Asteroids,” and “Pac-Man.” (“Ms. Pac Man” might be better to placate the #MeToo types…as if any might be watching). Those battling it out in the modern division would be playing games such as Pokémon, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Counterstrike and Minecraft. The Actual Sports division would see teams competing in games such as the legendary Sega Genesis NHL ’94, Golden Tee Golf, Big Buck Hunter II, and Madden NFL 2024.
The drama! The pageantry! Imagine, if you can, Team Uruguay facing off with Team Croatia in a heated game of Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Brothers! Or Japan and Mozambique engaged in a pitched battle of Angry Birds or Star-craft 2. It doesn’t get any better than that. The thrill of virtual victory versus the agony of faux defeat!