Saturday, October 10, 2009

Video Gamer, sure; Video Athlete, no.

Yet another clueless bit of early 80's marketing aimed at those crazy videogame playing kids:

Video gaming is many things, but I wouldn't call it a sportWii Fit aside, playing videogames is not a particularly physical endeavor.  This attempt to co-opt the terminology and culture of athletics only succeeds in insulting the genuine article, and distorting what videogames are all about.

The promoter calls itself the American Video Athletic Association, though the ad also refers to Video Athletes Across America, implying that somebody had three A's and a V lying around for acronymic purposes, but wasn't quite sure what to do with them.
It's also confusing, because some of the organization's ratings are clearly inspired by videogame names, and some are generic sci-fi/comic book terms.  And why is the shady-sounding Invader ranked higher than the nobler Defender?

I'd like to think that this company was truly interested in tracking high scores -- but the fact that kids could just send them in, without any apparent verification or required standard machine settings, makes that seem unlikely.  Although you could send in a score without spending the $12.95 for a year's membership, including a T-shirt and a quarterly newsletter with "keen photos," one suspects that the most critical documentation for getting "your high score on your favorite game" into the AVAA records was in fact the accompanying "check or money order."

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