Evolution of Video Games and Athletics
This entry was created by a student in Stanford's Rhetoric of Gaming class. For more about the class and the assignment, click here.
My topic is exploring how the evolution of video games could come to effect sports and athletics. As video games become more advanced, they also become more realistic. When such realism is applied to sports-related games, it is possible that the game itself could be used to train humans to be better on the field. Indeed, the Wii has already started this trend. While it is debatable whether games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit actually improve one’s athletic ability, such games are a clear indication that advancement in technology could lead to more realistic games that have more tangible effects in the real world.
My source is a CNN article from September 2008 that discusses a new technology that could use thought control in video games. The technology, called the Emotiv EPOC headset, is able to recognize and process basic thought patterns in the human brain. Such technology allows for a deeper and more intense video game experience than anything humans have ever imagined. The article notes that Tan Le, President and co-founder of Emotiv Systems, “envisaged the lines between games and reality continuing to blur” because of this new technology. If, as Tan Le believes, video games can continue to become more realistic because of this new technology, then the indication is that the skills needed in real life will start to coincide with the skills needed in gaming. Such an event would open the possibility for video games to be used as a method to both train and build skills that could be used in real life.
Although the article never mentions sports explicitly and despite the fact that the device would seem to be aimed at mental activity rather than physical activity, the article still fits into the conversation about my topic because it is strong evidence that my hypothesis is possible. The technology, once developed more, could certainly be used to train the mental parts of sports. When I say mental parts of sports, I mean how fast your brain is able to process physical activity by others. For example, when a pitcher throws a pitch to a batter in baseball, it is of pivotal importance that the batter quickly be able to see the pitch, process what he sees, and then determine many things about it, such as its location, speed, and the type of pitch. The technology being described in the article could conceivably evolve to a point where it could both test and train such sports-related mental skills as reading a pitch, thus suggesting that my hypothesis has some validity.