I used to have this roommate who was addicted to video games. He'd play them all day, from the time he woke up until he went to bed; sometimes, he'd take a break and, like, go to work. But for the most part, he spent hour after hour ass-down in the rocking chair, staring at the television, viciously moving his thumbs on the controller's buttons. For a little variety, his friends would come over -- to play video games. They'd watch one another play, mocking one another's skills and yelling helpful hints along the order of, "Dude, watch out! Get that guy!" Sometimes two could play a game together, and then they'd fight over who got to be which character. Imagine 20-year-old punk-rock boys whining, "I want to be the blue ninja. I want to drive the Lamborghini."
This isn't a tale of how the $10 billion video-game industry makes impressionable youths violent. The only effects I saw were the warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, harassing calls from Blockbuster about late charges, and the occasional midnight game of street tennis using a flaming ball that had been doused in lighter fluid. Actually, this is a tale about how boys like to sit around and play video games together and how one fan found a way to make some money from it. Lance Garms founded Dallas' Tournament Gaming, which will hold its first all-day video-game competition in Plano on June 26.
"I know so many people who would love to have the chance to test their gaming skills against those of other video-game junkies. I'm a video-game fanatic, so this idea came easy to me," Garms says.
The tournament will allow several hundred players to compete on games featuring such sports as hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, and golf. The three to five top-scoring players from each game will win cash and prizes. And, if Garms' idea pays off, the winners will get to compete against other regional winners in the national video-game tournament he hopes to hold in either Orlando or Las Vegas. He says he'd also like to form some partnerships with electronic-game companies and get local professional athletes involved. Pardon -- you mean people play these games in real life? Like, outside? Without televisions and computer chips? Dude, you can't be serious.