Is it Time We Classify Video Games As a Legit Sport?

Pop Culture

Is it Time We Classify Video Games As a Legit Sport?

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander


eekends are for video games. It’s a maxim I’ve lived by since I was ten years old, and one I adhere to even now, at 26. As soon as the pressures of the workweek ease up for a few hours, I fire up my laptop, and set out to pwn some noobs at Dota 2. It’s a title with the largest prize in competitive gaming, with this year’s marquee tournament, The International, announcing a prize pool of over 25 million USD. For me the boat has sailed, and I’m not ever going to be a competitive gamer, but videogames as a recreational medium are still as engaging for me as an adult as they were when I was a kid.

In the distant and hazy past of the early 2000s, two boys met up on a Saturday afternoon for a well-established ritual. One of them pulled out a tote bag full of pirated game CDs wrapped in thin plastic, while the other connected their most prized possession, a grey Sony PlayStation, to the TV. The choices were as sumptuous as a five-star buffet: Mortal Kombat, WWE SmackDown, FIFA, GTA Vice City, NFS Underground; it was a recipe made for excited pre-teens to waste hours on end. My neighbour and I certainly did, often gaming from after lunch until his mother woke up at tea-time and shooed us out of the living room.