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Jet Li: There is no good reason to debunk virtual gaming as a sport

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Jet Li, action star from hit movies such as Once Upon a Time in China, The One and Romeo Must Die, thinks that competitive gaming should be considered a sport as much as chess and poker are.

According to an interview translated by MMO Culture, Li recently attended an Age of Wushu PVP tournament where he weighed on his thoughts about gaming and how valid “competitive gaming” is as a sport.

If poker card games and chess both have the players sitting down and are considered sports, why not virtual gaming as well? There are 2 kinds of sports, 1 physical and 1 mental. There is no good reason to debunk virtual gaming as a sport, and I believe the participants of such virtual PvP events have the same mentality as physical athletes.

Interestingly enough, Li is an accomplished martial artist, and one who has awards for not only doing action films, but based on his real martial arts prowess. If he thinks competitive gaming is a “sport,” then who are we to argue, right?

Do you agree with Li that competitive gaming is as much a sport as chess, poker, etc? Or should the term “sport” only be used for physically strenuous activities?

Thanks, Massively & VG247

7 comments on “Jet Li: There is no good reason to debunk virtual gaming as a sport

  1. Not gonna li, never thought of it that way. I kinda did consider gaming to have their own brackets of competition, but the way he explains it does kind of make sense in terms of the mental thought that is put into competitive gaming.

    • Agree with you there. Most people think that strenuous activity is just about the physical aspect. For someone who writes for a living, I’d say the mental one is a bit harder, to be honest. :)

      • Well its both physical and mental. Finger and thumb movements have to be fast as well keeping an eye on the screen. You have to keep an eye on your opponents movements. You blink you lose.

  2. This is the same questions as: “What is Art?” The fact is it only takes 1 person to make it “ART” or “SPORT”. If that 1 person can have a bunch of people agree with them then they can make it a “COMPETITIVE SPORT”. The issue then becomes what does society do to honor that belief? It can remain a niche idea or really take off.

    • What you said is true, I just want to add the fact that there is way more than “1” person who sees games as art and way more that play games competitively and see it as one of the most if not the most challenging mental sports. I’ve been playing online competitive shooters for around 15+ years now… started Unreal Tournament / Quake when I was around 11 years old. The map knowledge / thinking ahead / FAST thinking + gun knowledge + gun speed + accuracy + movement quickness all REQUIREMENTS add up to being the most challenging “game” or “sport” I’ve ever experienced or played. I love chess and basketball. Chess is mentally taxing, basketball is physical as well as mental.. but videogames mix that “velocity” (even though it is a MENTAL velocity..) with quick thinking as well. Games like Unreal Tournament, Socom, and Counterstrike challenge my mind / keep me thinking the most / the fastest. So yea, I of course agree with Mr Jet Li! It kind of amazes me that competitive gaming isn’t even bigger than it is actually. I would say in 10 years for SURE we will be seeing competitive gaming on TELEVISION… no joke. It is amazing to watch 2 amazing players go at it… go watch a match of “EVO” (fighting games) or two LIGHTNING quick players go at it in UNREAL TOURNAMENT… it’s like a beautifully choreographed action movie……….. but it’s not choreographed… it’s all improvised and thought of RIGHT ON THE SPOT. That’s what’s so awesome about it.. never know what’s gonna happen in a match and it always keeps you on your toes. That’s what keeps me playing competitive + metally challenging games. Wish more games like the ones I mentioned would come out…. Call of Duty has dumbed down the skill level of gamers… the “UAV” aka the RADAR which TELLS you where the enemy is takes away a LOT from the game instead of adding to it. Not to mention Call of Duty gives gamers “aim assist” and “perks” and “killstreaks” all which make it easier for the gamer, and don’t allow the gamer to get as good as they could without these “noob” assists.

      • That said.. I do wanna also say that I do think that COD is OBVIOUSLY a sport as well, it CAN be a VERY competitive one too… I just want to see the sport ELEVATED even HIGHER (it can go MUCH higher than it is right now…). Lose the assists, bring back the REQUIREMENT of SKILL and even more competition and fun will come as a result of that.. Gamers can handle it, and will EMBRACE it.. IF you give them games that actually challenge them, they WILL get better and the whole gaming scene will be better off for it. Less noobs, more competition + teamwork. People THRIVE on challenges / obstacles…….. If you never challenge someone or GIVE someone a game / sport that actually challenges + pushes them FURTHER, of course they will not get better at that sport / game and won’t ASK for more… because they won’t be ABLE to HANDLE a game without “assists” if that is all the industry is ever going to create anymore.


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