Category Archives: Games

Sports vs eSports

My kids never really got into watching sports like baseball, basketball, football, etc. When I was their age (teens to eary 20s) my life revolved around watching all manner of sports whether it was live or on TV, but my kids would probably rather have their toenails removed than to be forced to sit through a couple of hours of game watching.

Actually I need to revise that last sentence; at least one of my kids LOVES watching video of other people playing the newest "sport" – eSports aka video games. According to this article he's not alone:

In October, some 15 million people tuned in to watch Major League Baseball’s World Series in the United States. But that’s nothing compared to the other big sporting tournament that took place around the same time: In late September and early October, 32 million people watched the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship, according to a new report (pdf) from SuperData, a games research company.

Indeed, the finals of the competitive tournament for players of the online multiplayer game resembled a major physical-world sporting event, with the 18,000 tickets to watch it live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles selling out in one hour. On the day, the capacity crowd gathered to watch teams do battle against each other as they spawned minions and unlocked glyphs.

I really am so0000 last-century.

Jon Just Planted His Field of Incredulousness on Farmville

One of my pet peeves about Facebook was getting all those stupid apparently profitable notices about what my friends were doing on Farmville or Mafia Wars.  Thankfully someone showed me how to hide those things, but I'm guessing my lack of participation hasn't hurt the games' parent company, which according to this article may be valued at $1 billion.  You read that right, billion with a "b."  From the article:

That could make San Francisco-based Zynga the third-largest U.S. video-game publisher by market capitalization, bigger than Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., the maker of crime-game franchise “Grand Theft Auto.” New York-based Take-Two had 2008 sales of $1.54 billion and has a market value of $909 million.

Zynga will have revenue of $210 million this year and $355 million next year, according to Justin Smith, founder of the industry-tracking Web site Inside Social Games. The figures are based on estimates of Zynga’s revenue per player across all its games and its number of daily active users, Smith said.

H/T to Ed Cone for the link.

Wii Wee

I got my first look at a Nintendo Wii last night at a friends house and all I can think to write is "Cool!" and "Finally!"  I’d pretty much given up on video games because I just couldn’t invest the time to familiarize myself with the controllers, with the plots and the bouts of vertigo that a couple of them can induce.  To me what’s brilliant about the Wii is that it gives the kids (and gamers) something different than what they’re used to and it gives the adults (and other non-gamers) something that’s approachable and doesn’t require hours of practice just to get started.

For those not familiar with the Wii the biggest difference between it and the PS3 or Xbox 360 is that the controllers are wireless and the games are designed so that the players must physically move to play them.  So if the game is boxing the players are essentially throwing punches at the TV, if the game is tennis or golf the players are moving the controllers with motions similar to those used when playing the real sports.  Watching the boys play it last night I saw them literally break into a hard sweat and end the games panting as if they’d just run a mile.

Another difference between the Wii and other current game systems is that the Wii went with less processing power so the emphasis is definitely not on graphics.  It was a risky, but brilliant move by Nintendo to focus on interaction and approachability rather than hard-core graphics.  They’re going to own the non-hardcore gamer market unless Sony and Microsoft do something soon.

We hadn’t even discussed getting one of these for the kids since we figured the X-Box was enough, but now this thing is going on the wish list if for no other reason than I want to play it myself.  From what I understand the backlog on delivery is long enough that if I put it on my x-mas wish list I might just get it in time for the holidays.


When I was a kid, way back in the 70s, my favorite toy was my SSP racer.  I haven’t seen them for years..until now.  Someone has loaded a video of old 70s toy commercials on YouTube.  Commercials include Bing Bang Boing, SSP, SSP Pee Wees, Water Wiggle, Bug-Out!, Screech, Masterpiece.

Totally unrelated: when I was a kid I asked my mother why God let hurricanes happen.  She used my SSP as an analogy and I’ve never forgotten it, but that’s another post.