Practice, Practice, Practice

Whenever someone finds out I’m a videogame enthusiast, I can expect one awkward question. Much like the ever-annoying What kind of music do you like? I rank What type of videogames do you play? up there as equally baffling. I know some people tend to fit themselves into a niche, but if there’s a good game to be experienced (for any number of reasons), I’m generally on board to try it. Same with music, by the way, so you’ll never hear the stock response of Everything but country and rap come from my mouth (or fingers as they may be).

Though there is one type of game that I never play unless someone else actually brings it to my attention: sports games. Right now I’m casually looking through postings of videogame jobs and on looking through Midway’s selection of titles, I noticed that they distinguish between sports titles and other videogames (which are just titled entertainment). Where’s the difference? From what I’ve seen, most sports titles could be likened to RPGs if one really wished to push the issue. The difference for me comes in the coating. I prefer my dragons, elves, aliens, and robots to linebackers and the not as sexy as their real life counterpart Fußball players.

I’ve had some small amount of experience in off-beat sports titles, such as Mega Man Soccer (even if I was never a large fan of the series) and the Mario sports titles. Otherwise, my knowledge of the field is relegated to whatever glimpses I gleaned from my father’s Fußball titles (they were actually in German much of the time, so the word stays).

Yet, it’s curious, because if I think about it, these sports titles don’t really remind me of a lot of the work that goes into playing an actual sport. The main thing I see missing is the grind, though I may be woefully misinformed and they’ve since added that little tidbit into these titles. Which makes me wonder if MMOs are more akin to how we view sports these days. Personally, I find the grind behind most rather boring, as I would the practice behind playing most sports–even if I understand there’s an eventual gain. Because there’s no eventual end-reward, I come to the metagame realization that I’ll be doing this again ad nauseam and paying to do so. If I’m going to force myself through something for an end goal, I’d rather it be rehearsals for a play or some Joyce. Again, it’s the coating (and I’m much not so much for intense physicality).

Now, you see, I like MMOs in theory, though rarely in execution. I prefer social interaction with persons I know, and since I’m fairly decent at such interactions in person, I’ll just as likely go out and do such. If those friends happen to play games online, I’ll gladly play with them, but I rarely find enough that play an MMO where I would participate and be able to dedicate myself to it. While I know the advice most people would give would be to join a guild, I can’t say that the idea really appeals to me. I’m very much a creature of whims when it comes to the games I play, so dedication is something I lack in terms of playing a game enough to be ready for raids and other such events.

However, it makes me wonder, do most people who play sports (not the videogames) actually have fun at it? When I hear many sports players talk about it, I hear words such as dedication, the feel of victory, teamwork, but I rarely hear the word fun. Is this where we are going with MMOs such as WoW? They seem to have the same community feel that many sports do, as I see it. While I’m sure people are having fun, it seems to have become almost something secondary in pursuit of another goal.

Just a random thought I had, and I’m not sure if it has full merit.

About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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