On This Day, We Can Enjoy Sports as Real Games

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 25, 1998 | Go to article overview

On This Day, We Can Enjoy Sports as Real Games


Byline: Mark Alesia

Reporters covering the Bears were going about their jobs this week at Halas Hall, asking the questions you have to ask a 4-11 team. Some people get night differential in their paychecks. Others deserve "bad team differential."

But this being Christmas, I happened to be in a position to pursue a different, frivolous, utterly unthreatening journalistic agenda.

Video games.

Yeah, video games. More people will be talking about them today than point shaving, Mike McCaskey androstenedione and other ills of the sports world ripe for pontificating.

I had heard that during Bears training camp, a game maker's demonstration turned out to be extremely popular among the players. And after last Sunday's victory over Baltimore, two Bears talking on different subjects made references to the Sony PlayStation.

Chances are, they'll spend part of today the way a lot of people, including myself, will: playing these games. In the Bears' case, they'll be controlling virtual versions of themselves.

"Curtis (Conway) has a laptop, and on away trips with a long flight, he brings his Gameday '99 CD on the plane," Bears cornerback Terry Cousin said. "He's like, 'Cuz, you just made a tackle.' He throws the ball to himself, gets himself a lot of catches."

(No comments from the gallery, please. Remember what day this is.).

Bears defensive lineman Bryan Robinson estimates that 60 percent of NFL players are video game enthusiasts.

"I was with St. Louis during training camp, but it's no different around the league," Robinson said. "It's pretty cool to look on a game and see your number and your face on there. Guys, on their free time, want to do other things to take their mind off of football. One of those escapes is video games. It just brings the kid out of you. We play Madden, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken."

Personal experience brings me to the conclusion that the best games are the ones connected to racing - cars or snowboarding. The learning curve for a sports game is too steep and the payoff too small. …

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