You should create a game about the Olympics

You know exactly what I’m going to hear: “They have!” They have. Many Olympics games have taken place. Mario and Sonic even put aside their old rivalries in order to compete. However, it is unfair to have those characters against one another because Mario will always win a plumb off. They’re actually not at the Olympic Games. I have been there and it’s not true. Sega, that is a lie. It’s a big lie.

However, I’m not referring to that Olympics-type game. This is not the type of game where you must button-mash your victory, though I enjoy it because everybody looks ridiculous while they play. This game is a lot fun. However, I am referring to something deeper. What struck me most while I was watching Tokyo 2020/2021 (I am still watching it) was the power of human stories.

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Simone Biles’ exit from team gymnastics was the moment that made the game memorable. It wasn’t that she got the best score or won, but because she suddenly felt human. The conversation that followed about mental health was brilliant and needed. Anyone else see Chris Mears, GB diver, on BBC soon after, talking about his struggle with depression since Rio 2016. This was an amazing moment on TV and it was brave of Chris Mears to share it. It would have been amazing to think that a gold medal could achieve such an effect.

We don’t know a lot about these elite athletes. We see chiselled bodies, and extraordinary people. We don’t get to see how they got there. The 5am run in the rain and the drunken stragglers the night before don’t get our attention. The sacrifices, tears, injuries and lifetimes of dedication are not visible to us. The people are not what we see. This all comes out at the Olympics’ best moments.

Moments like Dina Asher Smith telling BBC crew that she will not be competing in 200m, which she holds the world championship in, as she hasn’t fully recovered from an injury are a sad moment. Tears of sadness stream down her face. The moment cameras keep their eyes on boxers, who have just lost a close fight and now are coming to terms live on-air. They don’t seem to have much to share, which is not surprising if you’re the interviewer. But in these moments, their humanity shines through.

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These are heartbreaking moments. What about Muta Essa Tamberi, a Qatari high jumper and Gianmarco Tamberi, an Italian high jumper? It was a look followed by a nod and then an overwhelming feeling of realization that something significant had occurred. This is the same emotion we have felt for months or years. It was pure magic.

These are the moments that make the Olympic Games shine. While world records and medals can be nice, it is the human moments that we connect with that are truly important. What is the value of a medal if it doesn’t take so much effort to earn it? Think about how many people are involved in the Tokyo Games. There are over ten thousand. What do they know about each other? These avatars are much more than mere sporting ones. It’s a shame that we do not have an experience in gaming that attempts to bring them closer.

Publiated at Wednesday, 4 Aug 2021 9:14:25 +0000

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