As someone who grew up in a remote Canadian town, it’s a bit surreal hearing people talk about football in the same reverent tones that were the exclusive province (pun, sorry) of the church of Hockey Night in Canada. These days, like I think a lot of people here on Waypoint, I’m a semi-reformed sports fan. So even though it is surreal, it’s, I don’t know, self re-enforcing to hear the podcast folks talk though some of the same emotions I go through when I return to sport. It’s just weird to hear people praise the violence that we all know is going to ruin lives all over the world as people, particularly poor and marginalized people, put themselves through hell to try and turn sport into a ticket out of a bad situation. It’s weird to cringe at the hits that I would have cheered for as a younger person. It’s weird to feel so exhilarated at the thing at the same time.
And to bring this back to video games a bit, I have a similar relationship there. Take wargames for example. I love strategy games. Love them. When the game is making interesting decisions about space time and ability, I show all the way up. But when the games are about historical conflicts in the last few hundred years, or simulate the same, I can sometimes manage it for the sake of the game, but lots of the time I just can’t. I start seeing the figures as people that actually existed, that I feel I can understand and relate to, and might actually be related to. They suffered and died, and I’m playing a game about it. The more alien to me the history, the more I can get away from that.
And so there’s this whole genre, that I know would appeal to the game playing side of me, that I just can’t do. So like hockey, which I can watch and enjoy, if I mostly tune out the commentary, there are games I can enjoy, if I they create a distance from other things that I have a problem with.
So that’s a whole lot of “here’s me” to say, I like hearing the sport side, because I think it really does relate to a bigger conversation about the complex relationship we can have with creators, creations and competition in our media and culture.