Better, Higher, Faster, Hey You Kids Get Off My Lawn

24 07 2008

Saw this article on Yahoo: Digital revolution could be Olympics’ salvation.

I’ll say up front I’m a fan of the olympics as a concept. An international gathering of good-spirited competition between nations, sharing our cultures and taking on a variety of head to head challenges, is the ideal spirit of pure gaming. As a video gamer, that’s what I want to see more of, honest and generous people who struggle against each other and with each other. Although there’s only one gold medal, just participating in something greater than yourself is wonderous.

The problem comes in when you take that platonic ideal and try to make it work. Political bitterness between nations spoils the soup. Pathetic media airplay which is 60% rah-rah USA human interest stories and 10% actual games, and 30% commercials gets on my nerves. And now, you’ve got the above.

As much as the title suggests the Olympics are moving into the information age, there are quotes in here that suggest they don’t quite get it. For instance, they’re watermarking the video so it can’t go on YouTube — which is the obvious answer to the terrible television coverage, which omits most non-USA runs, which omits most GAMES in favor of their lousy montages of personal tearjerker stories. I’d rather watch a series of short runs on YouTube, or heck, on the official olympic site than watch that crap.

Finally, there’s this:
“You will never achieve in a video game,” Rogge told The Times newspaper in May. “It is not really success.”

Buddy, don’t claim you’re taking steps to modernize the games and attract youths with one side of your mouth and then spit on something they enjoy with the other. Success in a game may not involve the same skillset as success at track and field, but to play at the highest levels still takes practice, hard work, and ridiculous manual dexterity. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging kids to get outside and exercise, but don’t bitchslap an entire hobby in the process and tell the people who enjoy it that they’re pathetic.

As much as I adore the CONCEPT of the olympics, I probably won’t be watching much of it this year. China’s eye-rolling supervillainy combined with lackluster media work combined with attitudes like this? Yeah. I’ll stick to scouring those naughty underground video sites for clips that leak through, from the REAL journos of the olympics, the folks with cellphone cameras and a love of the game. They’re the only ones who get it. Show us the games and check your ego at the door.

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10 responses

24 07 2008
shadur

“You will never achieve in a video game,” Rogge told The Times newspaper in May. “It is not really success.”
I disagree, sir, and furthermore believe you to be a joyless douche.

24 07 2008
Anonymous

Yes, it’s interesting how the media tries to brand the Olympics as an American property at every opportunity. This is why my brother (whose wife is Finnish) had said that he prefers to watch the Olympics in Finland. Even if he can’t understand the commentary, he still actually gets the chance to ENJOY what he sees.

24 07 2008
lirazel

I stopped watching the Olympics about five Olympiads ago, when they stopped being about the drama of the sport and became soap opera. What finally and irrevocably turned me off was the story in, I think, the Swedish winter games… there was a cross-country skier whose fans included a little boy who was blind and could only hear out of one ear. They had him on TV with the usual “heartwarming story”, and the kid kept turning his head so that his good ear was facing the speaker. And his “handler” kept grabbing his head and turning it so that his visionless eyes faced the camera.

24 07 2008
kublaikhan

I’m boycotting the Olympics this year. China’s actions are just too over-the-top…I mean, c’mon, even Blofeld had better taste than whoever’s running China these days.
Besides, the only games I ever really watch for the Olympics are the luge and bobsled, anyway. I like roller coasters.
(Though…Women’s high dive is kinda fun. ;-P )

24 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Sick. Very sick.
I wish the media didn’t feel they had to turn every damn event into a tearjerker. It’s silly. And it eats up all the time they could use to show us the games, or to focus on non-USian athletes, even! I didn’t sign up to see the Drama of Humanity, I signed up to see competition. Bleck.

24 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I imagine non-commercial-powered Big Five media would do a better job of it. Times like these I wish I had a proper satellite dish.

24 07 2008
meagenimage

“You will never achieve in a video game,” Rogge told The Times newspaper in May. “It is not really success.”
By the same token, running around a track is pointless since you never *get* anywhere!

25 07 2008
lirazel

It is to geek.
In The Book of the Courtier (1528) Bassadare Castiglione notes, after a long discussion of chess: “Remember, when you have mastered it, you have only mastered a game.”

25 07 2008
omahdon

And here I was complaining that whenever the Olympics are on we get nothing but 24-hour coverage of all the events (barring several breaks in the day for local news and some random Olympic highlights). I guess the grass IS greener until someone points out to you that it’s made of plastic. O.o

25 07 2008
jengagne

Re: It is to geek.
Ooooh, burn points to meagenimage and lirazel! XD
(and indirectly to Bassadare Castiglione that is)

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