With school starting back, I think it’s past time for me to address a game that has become an obsession for so many. It’s almost comically violent, and a lot of people simply enjoy watching others play rather than playing themselves– and for something that’s supposed to be fun, it gets taken incredibly seriously. I’ve seen remote controllers thrown across rooms. I’ve seen hopping, steaming Yosemite Sam-like fits of rage. I’ve seen real tears shed over intense matches– and those are just the UGA fans I know personally. No, I’m not talking about the popular video game Fortnite; however, I’m glad you brought it up, as I have seen a number of people bemoaning their children’s love for this hot, new pastime. Surely, it deserves closer examination.
I grew up on the Nintendo Entertainment System. All throughout my childhood and youth, I played video games every bit as consistently and passionately as my friends who played on school sports teams. I might not have worn a jersey or gotten much attention from the cute cheerleaders (read: no attention from the cute cheerleaders), but that’s not the world we live in today. There is legitimate, social credibility that can be earned from being proficient in video games. I’m sorry if that makes no sense to you, Ethel, but that’s what’s up. There are legal minors who are making millions of dollars by simply streaming their game-playing on the internet. There are eSports leagues, where the best players from geographic regions are teamed up to compete against the best in the world– and they actually get to wear jerseys! These may not be conventional sports, but they aren’t that different from athletically focused sports. There are incredibly successful futures ahead for many of these players, and they’re finding that success doing something they truly love.
Maybe some parents are upset because their kids would rather run a stealth attack on Tilted Towers than go outside and have a catch? Maybe they’re upset that their kids aren’t as interested in their collection of college football memorabilia as they are collecting goofy skins and dance emotes to use while blasting their way through Dusty Divot? I’m sure there are as many reasons to hate this trend as there are kids participating in it– but you are hard-pressed to convince me that there is much difference between the adolescent obsessed with Fortnite and the adult obsessed with his favorite sport or sports team. But this shouldn’t be upsetting, as it illustrates a commonality that binds us all together. Aren’t all games– whether sports, video, board, or card– just distractions from the crippling existential dread of our collective impending doom? We are far more alike than we often realize. So, whatever your flavor, I say game on!