Duncan’s Debates: Can We Really Consider Sport Games Video Games?
Fun though discussing whether or not video games should be considered sports, I decided recently that discussing the converse of the issue — whether sport games should be considered video games — was also a vitally important issue for us to tackle. Perhaps it isn’t as serious as the topics we’ve dealt with in the past, but it does happen to be an area in which I have a lot of personal bias, which admittedly may not rest on the most rational or objective grounds. Regardless, it is something I always enjoy arguing with people about, and on that basis it is as good a topic for a Duncan’s Debate as any.
For clarity’s sake, I should probably be clear in the fact that I’m defining a ‘sport game’ in this context as a game where you play a conventional sport — rugby, tennis, soccer and what not. Racing games and such are exempt from this definition, as are video games themselves (regardless of the outcome of last edition’s debate). It’d be trippy if they weren’t, though, because then you could be playing a sport game just by playing a game. And then if you played an actual sport game you would be inception sport gaming, or something to that effect. But I digress.
Personally, I’ve always considered sports games something of a joke. Perhaps I simply don’t connect with the appeal, but I think it is far more likely that the appeal just isn’t there in the first place. Sure, it’s cute and all to run around re-enacting the Premier League Final on FIFA or the like, but at the end of the day you aren’t just severely limited in terms of your ability to do what you would actually like to (with your options pretty much being limited to ‘pass’ and, ‘shoot’ if things get really exciting), but you don’t have direct control over an avatar — your control shifts from one to the other, depending on who’s got the ball, or whatever. I honestly fail to see not just how a sport game could be as much fun as the real thing, but how it could really end up being any fun at all. It all seems absurdly formulaic, grossly over-simplified and thoroughly uninspiring to me.
Disclaimer: Just so we’re clear, this is intended to be far more of an opinion-driven, lighthearted debate — I am by no means trying to de-legitimise sporting games as a whole. Hyperbole is a great way to start an interesting debate, though.