Chris’ Epic Column

By Christopher Wood.
Last time I wrote in this fine column, I claimed that gaming was not a sport. For those with a brief memory of the past, or for those who did not bother to read my previous thoughts on parkour, I said that anyone could be good at gaming. That a caffeine junkie could do well at a game. After some thought on this, I have changed my mind on the subject. Gaming can be a sport in a limited sense, its no cross country, but it has its merits. One example would be the World Cyber Games (WCG), a global competition of gamers that originated in Korea. Ever since the 2004 WCG, the games have been held in different cities each year. Most important to the intended audience of this column would be the 2007 Seattle games. Those games had a total of 75 countries participating with 700 athletes. One of the major games that is played at these events is Starcraft. Yes, this is the same Starcraft that was released a decade ago. While most games fade into nothingness in a matter of months, Starcraft has not only clung onto relevancy in the realm of gaming, it has become the national past-time of Korea. To the extent of even having televised matches between the country’s top players. But Korea’s lunacy is only part of the global appeal of Starcraft. The game will run on almost all computers manufactured in the past 12 years, which allows people without access to modern components to run the game. This allows Starcraft to become a truly global game that is still played a decade after it came out. This says a lot about the design of Starcraft; it has a classic design that allowed it to be a standard for all others. But it has obviously not been matched, otherwise it would not still be played. The only thing that is foreseeable that could dethrone it would be its upcoming sequel, but that’s just a fresh coat of paint. Gaming has not produced anything close to the appeal that Starcraft has globally, which is important for gaming to be considered a sport. Without some common ground that all competitors can play on, you just have a competitive graphics demo. With common ground, it becomes a test of skill, not how much money you have. And isn’t that a quality of a sport?