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Videogames Aim For Olympic Recognition 116

Chris Morris at CNN's Game Over column reports that there is a push on for possible representation of pro gaming at the 2008 Olympics. From the article: "Television networks are getting interested, too. NBC's USA Network will air a series of seven hour-long shows featuring Major League Gaming tournaments this fall. But financial and network interest don't earn a sport an Olympic berth; Just ask fans of golf, motorcycle racing and bowling - or, for that matter, baseball, which (along with softball) will be dropped from the Olympics in 2012. And the fact that video gaming is so technology dependent could be particularly damaging."
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Videogames Aim For Olympic Recognition

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  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @03:25PM (#15438691)
    One thing Olympic sports have in common is that the rules of play don't change that much each cycle. Soccer is played on a flat field retangular field every time. The mass of a discus or javelin is always the same it was last time. Oh, and it doesn't matter who makes the balls, timing devices, or shoes used, those are interchangable sponsors that can change every cycle.

    If there were to be an Olympic First-Person Shooter event, everybody would have to play the same sanitized game which wouldn't have any new maps utilize the latest whiz-bang technology. Imagine America's Army gone open source and stripped of American and Teriorist designations.

    This is just not going to happen. Forget about it. Nothing to see here.
  • What makes it qualify as a winter sport or a summer sport?
    • Winter sports all involve ice or snow. Basketball, an indoor event that is played in the USA during the Winter season is a Summer event because it uses neither ice nor snow. Hockey, since it involves ice, is a Winter event.
    • Winter sports are the games that require extreme amounts of computer muscle -- that way you can put your computer in a pile of snow for cooling. All the other games get put into the Summer category. Also, it would have to be internet-integrated so the athlete's could compete in the real-life conditions of having 13 year olds talking about girls and "pwning".

    • Personally I think the idea of playing video games sounds stupid for all but the Special Olympics.
  • IIRC, most people ignored the last Olympics. Aren't vidoegames already there, or possibly even better off?

    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/02/1 6/PM200602166.html [publicradio.org]

    • by olego ( 899338 )
      I ignored the last Olympics because of how it was covered by the network(s) in this country. NBC, I believe, held exclusive rights to show the events it deemed most entertaining, with about 15 minutes of commercials between 10 minutes of events.

      I also tried watching some events online, but I didn't have IE6, and it didn't support any other browser properly.

      Because there is a mind-boggling embargomonopoly on the Olympics here, and because I'm not willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money to buy cabl
      • by rnturn ( 11092 )

        Olympic Recognition? It'd be nice if what was shown by NBC was recognizable as the Olympics. IMNSHO, the Olympics haven't been the Olympics since, say, Munich. Rather than penalize countries that refused to play by the rules (East Germany, Soviets, etc.) the IOC just rolled over and let full-time professionals compete. From that point it's been downhill. Ever since it's been one doping scandal after another. And that's just the Summer Games. The Winter Olympics have been a disgrace for even longer what with

  • What games? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @03:27PM (#15438717) Homepage
    Making video gaming into an Olympic sport is silly. "Video gaming" is really more like a grouping of many, many distinct sports rather than one sport. What games would be played? How would records be kept? How could you have a "world record" in videogaming? Presumably, the games we play now are vastly different from the games that will be played in 50 or 100 years, so how do you compare records from one era to the next?

    Other Olympic sports are discrete entities with well-defined rules that don't change much over decades or centuries. Video gaming changes significantly from one year to the next.
    • "ther Olympic sports are discrete entities with well-defined rules that don't change much over decades or centuries."

      Not so. The modern Olympics have new events added almost every cycle, while some less-popular events are canceled. Fencing, for example, is under constant threat of removal.

      Rules changes are common as well -- from regulations of ski sizes and shapes, to the ball used in football^Wsoccer (see the concerns about the new ball to be used in the World Cup), to regulations on bicycle material
      • So, what's your weapon? :)
        • Was sabre. You?
          • Foil. Sabre is too fast, epee is too slow. Though, with the changes in the timing of the boxes, foil has slowed down a lot, too. I have been refereeing a lot more, recently, and will probably go in that direction in the future. :)
            • I've been out of it for a while, what changes did they make in the timing?

              When I fenced competitively, electric was just starting to be used for sabre, TONS of problems with the captors (sp?) and with not registering dead circuits (like when people would disconnect in the back to avoid a touch), easier in sabre since the off hand is kept down, not up. Big hooplah at the individual State championships when I was a senior in HS -- many of the schools couldn't afford electric equipment for sabre, and their
              • Sabre is still really, really fast. The right-of-way rules exist, but most sabre touches consist of the two fencers advancing upon eachother, hitting, and turning to the referee whilst screaming loudly. Most referees will give the touch to the louder screamer. This is a bit of an exageration, as there are some good referees running around, but not many for sabre. Hell, I'm not comfortable reffing sabre, though I am pretty good in foil. In foil, they made two changes to the timing:

                First, in order to
                • I've directed a lot of sabre bouts, and the most common action was, of course, "simulte," but occasionally, a prize-de-affaire or stop (in time or not). I'm sure that hasn't changed, since the offense far outweighs defense in sabre in terms of effectivness. Interestingly enough, though, I find it does almost mimic the idea of cavalry riding by each other, so it's true to its roots.

                  Slowing the action down in foil makes sense to me as well, since historically, the risk of injury meant that you'd spend more
  • GTA (Score:1, Funny)

    I can just imagine ... Joe Blow taking home a gold medal for winning at Grand Theft Auto! My American hero! Wave that flag proud!
  • For the Final Fantasy Olympiad XXVIII...

    Okay... seriously... I guess if syncrhonized swimming is a "sport" than so is team DDR...
  • Baseball is played and enjoyed by billions (OK, maybe one billion) people around the world and couldn't manage to retain its slot in the Summer Games. Why should any videogame be in there?

    (Well, OK, maybe Starcraft. It's at least as popular as curling, and like curling is dominated by countries other than the USA.)

    -Isaac
  • The Olympics are about physical achievement and performance.

    Videogames do not promote such ideals. Otherwise we'd might as well add BEER PONG to the list of events.

    Jeeeezzzzzz!

  • Oferpetesakes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Odin_Tiger ( 585113 )
    It'll never happen, and as an avid gamer myself, I say "Thank God!"
    If the Olympics accept gamers, then it'll be one more excuse for them to not get outside, ride a bike, etc. The Olympics are for physical athletes, not people with unusually high twitch-response ability.
    • The Olympics are for physical athletes, not people with unusually high twitch-response ability.

      I don't think video games should be considered for the Olympics, but I disagree here. If you want a gold medal or world record in any timed race event, you have to have unusually high twitch response.

      See Justin Gatlin [www.cbc.ca] for example. His 9.766 time in the 100m wasn't good enough for sole ownership of the world record after it was rounded up to 9.77.
      • I think the poster implied that the Olympics are not for people whose sole exemplary attribute is high twich response. A sprinter, for example, must have fast twitch response, but they also must be excellent athletes. Being first off the block isn't enough to win, you also have to be able to run fast.
    • The Olympics are for physical athletes, not people with unusually high twitch-response ability.

      Some of the Olympic sports that run counter to this comment are:

      Archery
      Shooting
      Table Tennis
      Curling

      They rely more on twitch response (except curling) than actual physical capabilities. I'd also include fencing as a twitch response sport, but it does require a fair amount of athleticism.

      Video gaming would seem possible, being enjoyed around the world. But the fate of chess and other comments that have pointed out th
      • Re:Twitch sports (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Odin_Tiger ( 585113 )
        Uhhhm...no, I don't think so. Archery is about patience and steadiness. There's no worry that if you don't get a bullseye in 0.01sec from seeing the target, it will shoot you back. Same for shooting. Table tennis...vaguely, sorta, kinda. But it requires far more than depressing a finger / thumb 1/4", and the ability to move your whole arm, as well as your body for wild shots, is more a matter of overall health than twitch. As for curling...I don't even see how that has anything at all to do with 'twitc
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @03:32PM (#15438760)
    All the other issues with this (that others have mentioned) don't even matter because video games aren't sports to begin with! This would be as ludicrous as making Poker or Tax Accounting Olympic "sports!"
  • I'll file this under 'stupid'. First, who in the typical gamer's age range watches the olympics. Second...well there is no second. I just don't like the Olympics and don't like hardcore gamers enough to agree with something like this going down. We should add kite flying, beer can crushing, grocery bagging and ummm anything-I-can-do-real-well-that-others-might-not - be-able-to do-that-I-want-to-be-noticed-fror-because-in-high- school-the-swim team-tried-to-drown-me to the Olympics.
  • You need to bring younger viewers back if you want to keep making money. To do that, you need to embrace non-traditional sports. They did it with snowboarding - and look how the popularity of that has surged in the Games

    Ok, I agree. But what about the sports that we see on the X-Games? I'd much rather watch skateboarding, BMX, or motocross than people playing video games. I enjoy gaming as much as the next nerd, but watching someone else play is just not fun. Watching someone faceplant on some stairs or

  • won't happen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CheechWizz ( 886957 )
    Isn't one of the main goals of the olympics to unite diverse people from all over the world, because sport is such a great unifier?
    Videogames are not universally accessible by any means that disqualifies it from being an olympic sport, period.
    • Most winter sports are inaccessible to a lot of the world, not just because of where people live but also the expense (it's cheaper to buy a football/soccer or just run around than it is to buy hockey equipment, skis, etc). Does that mean we shouldn't have the Winter Olympics?
    • Videogames are not universally accessible

      Neither is snow, but we still hold the Winter Olympics every four years...

    • You must be new here. The proper way to say this would be like this.

      <sarcasm>Isn't one of the main goals of the olympics to unite diverse people from all over the world, because sport is such a great unifier?</sarcasm>

      Unless you were serious in wich case you must be new to this world. Sport is such a big unifier that whenever two soccer clubs meet their fanclubs try to kill each other. When nations meet on the soccer field you get more nationalism then at a Nuremberg rally.

      As for the olympics

  • You should have saved this one for April 1st.
  • by MrCopilot ( 871878 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @03:41PM (#15438833) Homepage Journal
    "Whaddya Doing honey?"

    Training for the Oympics, Baby!

  • The IOC will never allow a "sport" where a 400-lb, 30-year-old, bald slob can win a gold medal.

    Nice try though.
    • I think you've forgotten what the guys on the weight lifting teams look like. Granted, the slobs you're talking about can't bench press a car....
    • The IOC will never allow a "sport" where a 400-lb, 30-year-old, bald slob can win a gold medal.

      Especially since they got rid of baseball! ;D

      (I kid because I love. Also, David Wells frightens the heck out of me. Me, small children, and buffet restaurants.)
  • Higly unlikely (Score:2, Informative)

    by deltagreen ( 522610 )

    Chess and bridge have wanted to get into the Olympics, but I think the idea has been abandoned by most players of those two games. Among the silly effects it did have while going on, was drug testing in chess. Yep, testing for all kind of steroids and enhancers, although caffeine is probably one of the few things that actually would have given any sort of advantage in chess. Speaking of which, will pro-gamers be able to live without caffeine it becomes an olympic sport? :-P

    Another problem is that there ar

    • Actually, drug testing in chess really wasn't silly at all. The Russians -- (among the top in the world, unlike America, chess is viewed as a real profession in Russia) -- would use any means they could to get their players to do their best. Anatoly Karpov-- a World Champion for many years --would have a team of advisors that concentrated solely on the drugs and medication he would be given. If his advisors saw that there was going to be a long, complicated position up ahead, they would give him a drug t
      • How would they do this during an important game? Wouldn't this be pretty difficult to do during say a World Championship match? Korchnoi's team made a huge fuss about the yoghurt Karpov received during a game, and that it might be a potential message from his seconds. I have a hard time seeing Karpov being allowed alone with anyone who would give him the drugs.

        And didn't Karpov also have a tendency to become exhausted as long matches progressed? I think the Russians didn't do a very good job with those dr

        • Re:Higly unlikely (Score:2, Informative)

          by fuzzyfozzie ( 978329 )
          "They will go to greath lengths to get the most from their players, for example, sometimes during my matches I was wired and tested for blood pressure, heart rate, galvanic skin response and other things. I was given amphetamines and tranquilizers on the days of important tournaments...Karpov has a doctor on hand to regulate his medications. During the match against Korchnoi he was so exhausted that they had to give him high dosages of amphetamines, which saved him in the end." --Lev Alburt
          • Hmmm, interesting. Hadn't seen anything so specific connecting Karpov to drugs. This is something that would be administered between matches, not during?

            I still don't think drug testing in chess is worth the hassle, though. With all the different banned drugs that include many substances found in common medicines, I'm sure something like the ongoing Chess Olympiade is a nightmare to properly regulate and test according to Olympic standards. After all, the vast majority of participants there are amateurs,

            • I meant between GAMES, not matches. Sorry about that.
            • Yes, I would assume it would be given between games but I'm sure there have been instances in which it was given during. You might have read (or heard, or saw) Searching for Bobby Fischer which is an account detailing Josh Waitzkin's rise to the chess scene. Although it is about scholastic chess, the majority involves international chess and has lots of interviews and accounts of GMs. It's an interesting read and is where I picked up this qoute.
              I too agree that there should not be drug testing in chess b
    • Only amateurs. Kinda of kills the deal doesn't it?
  • Over in the UK we're getting our first proper online gaming TV show this June. 1 show a week on a little-known satellite channel. It's from a company called Prize Fight and it's called Prize Fight TV. PF seem to do online gaming for cash prizes, and from what I gather they'll be using the show as a sort of highlights package for CSS, Q3 and BF2 (lol BF2 has highlights?) games. Their website is here [prizefight.co.uk].
  • Well as many others have pointed out, Olympics are about physical competition on a balanced playing field.

    Nothing to do with video gaming there.

    Professional gaming IS definately on the rise though, and as a pro gamer it's nice to see more in the news about pro gaming, but I think we are already moving in the right direction (larger, televised events, more sponsors, etc.) The Olympics is fine how it is, let them keep curling, discus, javelin, and whatever else ya see there. Keep gaming to gaming leagues.

    What
  • The number one reason gaming will never become an olympic sport

    BAWLS (and other assorted energy drinks)

    I mean, think of the doping scandals!
  • These games would be on the same prestige as the Olympics, but it would have things that require only mental/reflex skill. While the Olympics is about physical endurance, performance and ability, the games would have things like pi-memorization, videogame contests, mental arithmatic, pattern recognition contests, etc.

  • "That Korean got l33t skillz."
  • Now I get it, they're talking about the special olympics, right?
  • This is nothing more than a gimmick.

    Is video game prowess different than marksmanship or archery? Not all that much, but that makes no difference. The last thing the IOC wants to be known for is keeping the world's kids in dark rooms (see Miyamoto) playing video games for a chance at gold.

    And what games? What machines? The Global Gaming League is simply looking to grab headlines to promote its coming TV deals, hoping that youth will start following Fata1ity (or whatever her handle is) like she's the nex

    • Is video game prowess different than marksmanship or archery? Not all that much

      Uh, what? As a gamer who's shot a gun and bow quite a bit in his life, there's a big difference between actually shooting at a target and pointing-and-clicking with a mouse.

      The problem is excellence in gaming doesn't bear the sex appeal excellence in athletics does.

      I don't think sex appeal has all that much to do with it. For example, look at Olympic wrestlers. Cauliflower ear - hardly sexy.

      I think it's more to do with the fac
  • Video games are not a sport and gamers are not "cyberathletes". I love gaming as much as the next guy and nearly went pro twice (fell just short of making enough money to make it more than a money-making hobby), but I resent these people who are trying to make gaming into something it's not.

    Soccer and gymnastics and all the other sports and athletic events are lessened when we try to group gaming in among them. It is a unique competition, and deserves its own unique venues.

    You want to add something new and
    • Go look up the meaning of "sport" and come back and tell us again how video gaming isn't one, so I can call you a liar and an idiot (instead of just an uneducated buffoon.)
      • http://onelook.com/?w=sport&ls=a [onelook.com]

        Look through those definitions. Almost all of the ones that discuss the "sport" that we are talking about (as opposed to a kind of person, or a summer cottage in Maine) emphasize physical excertion. Of course, you can find other defintions that would (maybe) include video games, but many of those are rather vauge (one states that sport == recreation -- maybe recreational sex should be an olympic event?)
  • Video games are not a sport. If it doesn't involve getting your ass out of a chair and actually moving something other than your wrists, you're gonna have to work pretty hard to call it a sport.
    And why are we looking at this sort of thing? Most videogames are terminally boring to watch someone play. If we're going to add somehting to the Adlympics, let's at least pick a sport which has been around for a while and has some real recognition and respect. I still want to know why we don't have Sumo as an e
  • I think one of the main reasons this will never happen is that it does not involve any physical exertion, it's the new equivalent to a game of chess or a card game and it will only ever reside in it's own leagues. Which is arguably where it should stay, some things have their place and to be honest, the olympics is definitely not the place that gaming should be celebrated as a sport.
  • Competitive skydiving and golf aren't even an olympic sports. Why the hell should video games be?
  • So i will share it with you.........

    Got this dang imagine of curling with Tetris blocks stuck in my brain now so try not to think about it too hard. ......you're welcome :)

    Ok, the whole idea is silly. When do they add poker?

    Now a Non-olympics event for games,poker,??? for players from around world could be fun. (I want a cut tho FOX)
  • No, emphatically. I've been been a gamer since forever, and the only thing media coverage of games does is make me feel guilty by association. 85% of the print media is unreadable, and video coverage is exponentially worse. Every gaming program I've seen on the TV just oozed the SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM RAR OMG 2 D MAXX BOOBIES angle until I wanted to shoot myself in the head. YOU HEAR ME G4? FUCK YOU.
  • http://www.tronguy.net/images/TronGuyWallpaper800x 600.jpg [tronguy.net] (Warning: NSFW!!!)

    Spandex-clad geeks???

  • Any endeavor where a fat guy like me can win a gold medal isn't a sport.
  • Nerds playing Quake meet none of those. Go back to your mom's basement.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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