With the 2018 Winter Olympics in full swing in PyeongChang, gamers might think about how South Koreans are well-known for their gaming prowess. Naturally, we thought, "Hey, if ESPN covers esports, why can't the Olympics include them?" While it's a long shot, we can still fantasize about which games we would love to see at the Olympic Games. The following highly scientific (trust me when I say we here at GameSkinny have all the science) list is compiled based on a game's renown, required skill level, and, unlike the actual Olympics, overall watchability (I'm looking at you cross-country skiing!).
Speaking of cross-country skiing, who wouldn't love to watch hours-long speedruns of titles over and over? All joking aside, of the various speed running candidates, Super Mario 64 may feel like a safe bet, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fun to watch as an Olympic event. In 100% runs it would be fascinating to watch speed runners determine which routes are the fastest in order to save Princess Peach. The game is big enough and difficult enough to punish the smallest mistakes while maintaining a high level of watchability because of how well known it is. Perhaps a graphical remaster would help the game out, but otherwise, it's a terrific candidate for the Olympic games.
What separates Super Smash Bros. from other fighting games? First, it gets bonus points because of Mario -- sorry, it just does. Second, Smash Bros. games don't have traditional life meters like other fighting games. The percentage bar the game uses means anyone can come back from the brink of defeat and adds extra excitement to the game. The entire Super Smash Bros. franchise provides a great opportunity for several Olympic events. Besides the traditional 1v1 match-ups, we could also see 2v2 matchups, both with friendly fire and without. If we go into the most recent game, we can even have 4v4 matches that would really add extra depth to the teamwork required to excel.
But the best part is yet to come: we could also have individuals and teams take on the home run contest to see who could knock that sandbag the farthest!
Without Starcraft, who knows what modern professional eSports would look like? The game's impact on gaming is so grand that even Google has an Easter egg mini-game when you search for zerg rush, which is a reference to the fun-to-watch strategy in Starcraft that overwhelms opponents if they can't react quickly enough. Starcraft also is a shining example of a game that requires precision, concentration, and the ability to adapt.
Pro players are extremely dexterous, reaching up to 600 APM (actions per minute). I don't think I've ever done 10 anything in a second, let alone making 10 meaningful in-game actions every second. Starcraft also lends itself to multiple formats like 1v1, 2v2, and even larger team sizes.
Trials games are notoriously hard on expert courses, which makes them a perfect contender for an Olympic event. Reducing faults (how many times you crash in a single run) would become key if this game were "raced" professionally. Right now, players on the leaderboards can take as many attempts as possible for a perfect run, but with only one chance to get the best possible time, there is much more room for error, which ultimately makes for more exciting competition. It would also be interesting to see a relay-style race using multiple competitors on multiple tracks. The added pressure of the Olympics would make the races that much more exciting to watch, while competitors wouldn't be able constantly restart for perfect times.
The game is also fairly pretty to look at, especially during epic jumps with incredible vistas in the background.
DotA 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, or even SMITE -- there are several great MOBA games with thriving eSports scenes. I've picked DotA 2, I'm sure to the chagrin of many. DotA was the original MOBA, and it deserves some credit for that. It also is arguably more complex than other titles due to the way certain heroes scale differently than others, the ability to deny creeps, and the ability to use teleport scrolls to reach other towers. DotA also tends to have a higher technical ceiling, which can make it harder to master. It wouldn't be the Olympics if the best players weren't featured competing in the toughest of the MOBAs.
Overwatch has accomplished something that very few other games have. It's created a universe bigger than itself. The game is often lauded for its diverse portrayal of characters and positive depiction of various places around the world. Like the Olympics, Overwatch welcomes people to its world and strives to bring people together, at least until your teammate picks hanzo when you need a healer.
The pro scene is no joke either and the OWL has further legitimized Overwatch as an eSport. There is a tremendous amount of precision, coordination, and decision-making required at the highest levels of play that still maintains a high level of enjoyment for spectators.
What better way to round out our list than to pick a game that'll actually make you sweat. Like figure skating or floor exercise, DDR would require precision, rhythm, and endurance. It would be a joy to watch the routines people would come up with to perform using a DDR machine. The best part is that score keeping is built into the game so there's no worry about judges having any kind of bias!
That wraps up our wish list for Olympic video games. Whether it be a fighting game, a speed run, a high score, or a button masher we'd love to see every type of video game in the Olympics some day. The Olympics bring people together and the inclusion of these video games would continue to do so. Did your favorite game make our cut? Let us know in the comments below!