Editorial: Video games more than distraction | Opinion

It’s an argument you hear a lot today that young people “spend too much time playing video games.”

As someone who remembers playing the original “Super Mario Bros.” before I was barely in kindergarten, I’ve certainly played my fair share.

And it’s true that, with tablets and smartphones galore, today’s kids have access to more games than ever before.

But the idea that video game playing, even a lot of video game playing, is a drag on our society is getting more and more tired every year.

Just look at the Games Done Quick marathon being held online right now.

For two weeks a year — once in the winter and once in the summer — highly skilled video game players gather together in a host city for a video game Olympics of sorts.

The gamers play games in a style known as “speedrunning”, in which they attempt to complete the game in the fastest time possible.

Using tricks and techniques honed through sometimes years of practice, the players perform digital gymnastics to dodge enemy attacks and navigate the mazes of the games in ways that push their reflexes and reaction times to the limit.

As with the Olympics, records are kept for the fastest times that games have been completed.

For example, the current world record for beating the original “Super Mario Bros.” is 4 minutes, 54 seconds and 798 milliseconds.

That was set on Aug. 7 of last year, topping the previous record of 4 minutes, 54 seconds and 914 milliseconds.

Now, for some, that might sound as impressive but goofy as having the record for most hot dogs eaten in one sitting.

And, honestly, that’s fair if you’re not a big fan of video games.

But, of course, the same could be said for any number of sports. After all, why do we cheer for who can swim across a pool the fastest?

Well, to me at least, we cheer because it represents a level of dedication and devotion that most of us can only imagine. We gather around the TV to watch athletes like Michael Phelps and Simone Biles be told that a record is impossible to break and have them say: “Just watch me.”

Genuinely, that’s the same thrill that I get watching speedrunner Mitch Fowler land the final fireball to defeat King Bowser a tenth of a second faster than the “Super Mario Bros. 3” world record.

And, again, it’s hard to overstate the extreme reflexes and hand-eye coordination needed to play a game like that.

And I haven’t even mentioned all the money that Games Done Quick raises for charity.

Just last winter, I watched online as the ticker crossed $3.4 million raised for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Since 2011, Games Done Quick has raised more than $20.7 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, along with more than $18.8 million raised for Doctors Without Borders at its summer events.

And, lastly, I actually had the pleasure of attending Games Done Quick 2020 in person in January 2020 down in Orlando, Fla.

While there, I got to meet a good friend in person that I had met through speedrunning, and got to hear a room full of cheering fans go bananas for getting the last star in “Super Mario 64.”

That kind of community? You definitely can’t blame video games for something like that.

You can watch the Winter 2023 Games Done Quick marathon, running through this Sunday, Jan. 15, online at gamesdonequick.com

This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here

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