Is it time to push for a Digital Olympic Games?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

In the pantheon of competitive sports is there room for a universally recognised digital event?

Skill, fast reactions, endurance, strength (of mind and body) and sheer determination, five of the key caveats that the Olympians and Paralympians of this summer have shown us in abundance as they’ve competed for gold in their chosen events.

Coincidentally however (as has been discussed in detail elsewhere), there’s a lot of crossover between the requirements to compete in the Olympics and to succeed in the ever popular world of competitive videogames, so much so that the question has been asked as to whether there’s room for the inclusion of videogame competitions within the Olympic Games itself.

The traditional argument goes as such: clay pigeon shooting, archery, curling… none requires a huge amount of physical strength, but instead each relies on no small amount of skill, a natural affinity for the sport and hour upon hour of practice. The very same combination of requirements needed to get great at games, be that Super Mario or Counter-Strike.

Now, I’m not going to quite go to the same extremes, and demand videogame inclusion at the Olympics – that is unless snooker or darts ever make the grade, in which case I’ll be leading the campaign – but I could certainly envisage games players competing in their own world-spanning event, a Digital Olympics as it were.

I’m not talking about gamers competing over games of Daley Thompson’s Decathlon either (though that would be something to behold), but rather classics of the gaming world, as the best of the best compete in their chosen game across tests of endurance, speed, dexterity and so on.

Why couldn’t such an event take place in the city hosting the Olympics every four years, with a similar Digital World Championships in each intervening year as is the case in athletics? Certainly there’s no shortage of fans – just look at the game sales figures in the majority of countries across the world – and no reason, with the right organisation, why stringent rules couldn’t be brought in to ensure full equality and fairness.

The games used could be standardised and new ones only introduced after an approval process (much as in athletics), disqualification for false starts and such would of course be possible, records would have to be set in the arena to be valid and, perhaps most impressively of all, men and women could compete in events together, a first for any Olympics.

There would be a certain level of technology required to stop TV coverage coming across as tacky (see GamesMaster the TV show) and the whole event would have to be taken 100% seriously from everyone involved for it to work – something that would quickly have to established in the inaugural games – but, I for one think it could work.

I’ve come up with a few examples of events I’d want to see, including best times I’ve found online (which might not be definitive); could you see this working and if so what events would you be keen to witness?


Street Fighter

The natural fit for the Olympics’ own array of fighting events would see the best of the world’s Street Fighter veterans battle it out for supremacy. I could see disciplines – akin to the various weights in boxing – separating out those who prefer SF2, SF3, SF4 and all versions in between; while why not also consider Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Guilty Gears, etc. in answer to the myriad fighting events of the Olympics?


Super Mario World

World 1, stage 1. The equivalent of the 100 metres as competitors speed through the first stage of one of Mario’s greatest ever adventures in the fastest time possible. No need to stomp any enemies, nor collect coins, simply have Mario’s heels burning in a display of precision control and sheer speed.

Fastest time: 40s.


Dark Souls

The hardest game on current-generation consoles and players afforded as long as they need to complete it, from first enemy to final boss in a display of skill and endurance. No doubt competitors would already know every shortcut meaning that medal winners would be those able to keep their nerve in check and deliver – just like Mo Farah in his own endurance events.

Fastest time: 35m 7s (View this rather remarkable feat here).


Counter-Strike

The world’s most competitive team-based first-person shooter and so the equivalent of the likes of hockey, handball, etc. Skill, team-work and commitment all prerequisites for success and bags of excitement… enough said.


Battlefield 3

Where Counter-Strike is all about claustrophobic, quick paced exchanges BF3 can be a much more of a chess-like affair when played properly. Expect teams of experts from each country to come packing the kinds of tactics only otherwise see in the middle of a real warzone.


FIFA

Speaks for itself, football is in the Olympics, FIFA is the best football sim around right now, and we all like a good game of footy whether we’re talking actual or digital. Personally I’d be happy to see whichever is the current version as the version of choice – you never know, maybe EA would sponsor it…


StarCraft 2

Arguably the world’s most played game, especially when it comes to professional competition, and so a no brainer for inclusion at the Digital Olympics; the only question is whether we take StarCraft or StarCraft 2 as standard. Personally, if only for how much better the superior visuals would come across on TV, I’ve chosen the sequel.


Tetris

It has to be the Game Boy original of course, in a test of how many lines you can generate in a count-down scenario (largely because some players could allegedly go on indefinitely without a timer). Therefore I propose 10 minutes, 1 Game Boy and your nerve.


Donkey Kong

As anybody who has seen The King of Kong will know, there’s a never ending war going on in our midst, which sees owners of the Donkey Kong arcade game going at it hammer and tongs to record the highest ever score on a game which only has a finite number of screens and a series of known glitches to exploit, including its infamous ‘kill’ screen on level 22 should competitors make it that far.

High score: 1,090,400


Quake III Arena

The best dose of pure deathmatch is obviously a title much debated, for me Quake III Arena offers the definitive experience but, as was the case with the fighting category, I’d be willing to accept more than one category here with Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War and so on all potential candidates for added disciplines.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    1st Line Service Desk Analyst

    £27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

    Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?