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Is it possible to become an internationally acclaimed sports superstar by playing video games? Well, if you look at eSports lately, the answer is yes! Sports tournaments, where players compete in video games, are serious business and have become more and more popular over the course of the last decade. Top teams can walk home with prizes ranging in the millions of dollars and earn themselves world-wide acclaim.
For example, just this past winter, Canadian competitive Starcraft II player, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, became the Starcraft II pre-Olympic eSports champion. Her winnings netted her $50,000 and the right to compete in season 1 of South Korea’s 2018 Global Starcraft II League (GSL). This is a huge deal in the eSports community as she is one of only 26 non-Korean players to ever have won, and she made history as the first woman to do so.
As players like Sasha have fiercely competed in their leagues, they have also strengthened the legitimacy of the sport, so much so that the Olympics are now considering adding eSports to the roster! Recently, the Paris bid team (who represent France’s efforts to host the Games) said it was discussing the possibility of introducing eSports as a demonstration category. This represents a huge step towards recognizing eSports as a valid arena of competition on the global stage.
Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee President, specified that games which promote violence or discrimination would not be considered for appearance in the Olympics. As we gamers know, while most current eSport competitions do focus on games which feature violence, there are a plethora of games which could fit the International Olympic Committee’s requirements. So what kind of games might we expect to see? Here’s our suggestions for a few medal-worthy trials.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild could almost be its own version of the Olympics, as it offers several different kinds of events in which players could compete, including Korok archery, shield surfing, paragliding, and horse racing. The existing in-game challenges are tough enough, but considering the enormity of the world of Breath of the Wild, the Olympics committee could certainly come up with their own.
Just imagine the thrill of watching a shield surfing race down the lava-strewn cliffs of Death Mountain, then a frantic scramble to collect Korok seeds though archery trials, only to end with an armorless horseback race through Lynel country!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart is an absolutely smashing pick for an Olympic game. Here you’ve got competitive racing crossed with something akin to the shotput (as you throw obstacles like banana peels and vision-impairing ink at your opponents).
Mario Kart’s easier cups wouldn’t provide an adequate challenge for Olympians, but with the infamous Rainbow Road thrown in the mix, the high-end courses could certainly keep hopefuls and fans on the edge of their seats (especially if they don’t disable that infernal blue shell).
Super Mario Bros 3
Hey, this one was technically already featured as an eSport on the big screen, in the iconic finale of 1989’s The Wizard. As one of the top three highest selling NES games ever made, and featuring controls and mechanics which reward highly-skilled gameplay, Super Mario Bros. 3 has maintained its all-star status in the speedrunning community to this day.
With lots of different categories (Any %, Glitchless, Warpless, and All Stages to name a few), SMB3 attracts runners from all over the world, with every runner racing to conquer Myamoto’s masterpiece as fast as humanly possible. With the advent of Kaizo Mario hacks to increase the difficulty to insane levels, a Super Mario Bros. 3 speedrun race could be an amazing addition to any display of Esport skill.
Dance Dance Revolution
If you’re looking for an eSport with a physical component, nothing will get you sweating like Dance Dance Revolution. In the game, players stand on a platform that acts as a controller and must hit directional arrows with their feet in time to musical and visual cues.
The game can even be played in teams, giving the added opportunity for competitors to show off their synchronized dancing skills. If the Olympic committee wanted to truly challenge the players, they could use the song “Thousand” by Moby, which set the Guinness World Record for having the fastest tempo in beats-per-minute (BPM) of any released single at 1,015 BPM. Have paramedics on standby, please.
Getting Over It
This bizarre rage-inducing game about a naked man sitting in a cauldron trying to ascend a mountain with only a sledgehammer offers what might just be the hardest challenge yet: Which eSports athlete can go the longest without screaming while playing Getting Over It. Times will be measured in seconds.
We think these picks would make for awesome, and probably hilarious, additions to the eSport demonstration category. Which games would you want to see featured as competitions for the 2024 Paris Olympic games? Let us know in the comments below!
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Hailing from New York, Jessica Fisher is a writer, artist, and all around geek. In addition to Geek & Sundry, she writes for Gameosity.com and produces the Gameosity Reviews Youtube Channel. Find her talking about all things geeky on Twitter as @miniktty.
Image Credits: Nintendo, Konami, Noodlecake Studios Inc