Vibrator video game

“It’s a frag for the Russian!!”

Sorry for posting so much stuff about video games lately, but I’ve just been watching the online telecasts of the World Cyber Games — including the final Quake deathmatch between the world champion, the American John Hill (“Zero4”) and the Russian challenger (“cooller”).

For a while now, digital pundits have been arguing whether gaming could ever develop a culture like pro sports — with fan audiences and the like. Watching this reel, though, one thing is for certain. Gaming has clearly developed the cultural trope crucial to pro sports: Wildly over-the-top live commentators. Here’s a taste of the patter by the official World Cyber Games commentator, which I just transcribed:

cooller, waiting for that yellow armor to to spawn. He’s got it! He’s back up to 100 armor! Oooh, a nice hit by cooler, and he pulls out the LG! This could be the first kill!

Oh, cooller going down to 10 health. Zero4 not doing so hot himself, but he does have a little bit of armor and a little bit of health. cooller, fortunately, it looks like he’s got 50 health, he’s back up. That was the first big firefight of the match, and it looked like cooller was going to come out on top with his shaft. …

Oh, there it is — another firefight! cooller deciding to run away from that one, only ten rockets and and: OH, NICE! cooller blows himself up! Zero4 did not get the kill! cooller loses a point for blowing himself up on Zero4. He grabbed the LG, though, and it looks like he’s going to recover from that one well. He’s got a little bit of armor, but now Zero4 has a whole lot of control of the map; more armor, not as much health — he does not want to get caught with that much health by cooller. It could mean a frag for the Russian.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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