Throughout my school years, I played sports. Soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball … I was all over the map as far as the sports I played, and very active. And I liked it.

But then I graduated from university and moved into the world of work. This is the world in which one wakes in the morning and sets out for the office, only to leave at the end of the workday tired and after dark has fallen. This state of affairs makes sports a difficult activity in which to engage. Tired can be overcome with enough desire, but finding a lit field or arena in which to play when not affiliated with a school that has such facilities is nigh impossible.

And so, to try to fill something of the void, I tried sports videogames. I’ve tried various sports games over the years and never really could quite glom onto them. It could be that after finding Baseball and Hockey for the NES to be useless but for the sound effects and fighting, respectively, I never really attempted another one at home.

And later on, I played a round or two of Golden Tee in a couple of local pub type establishments, but frantically spinning the white trackball controller to hit the ball did nothing for me. It was all too still. I just decided I liked playing sports, not so much watching them.

That’s not to say there’s anything at all wrong with playing sports videogames. Professional sports have bestowed upon and received much support from videogames. They have enriched the lives of sports fans the world over for years. Anything to help people have more fun and pull more enjoyment from life, I’m all in favor. But having established that sports games were much too inactive for my interest, I put them aside in favor of other more interesting (to me) games.

Enter: Wii Sports.

The kids over at Nintendo (for kids they must be, as they seem to excel at play like only a child can) have made a sports game for those of us who like only to play sports as opposed to watch them while mashing buttons. Wii Sports encourages people to get up off the couch and swing a club or roll a bowling ball. It feels a bit like actually playing. And that’s just exciting.

Others are following suit. Madden ’07 is promised to be a blast on the Wii, allowing players to move about, getting involved a third sense, that of touch. Madden, a series I’d long since put aside, is grabbing my attention. My attention – the long-time sports game passerby. I wonder how many others like me will do the same?


Julianne Greer

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