Question for T.L. Taylor

In Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Games, T.L. Taylor talks about how professional gaming can give us a good look into the rules that exist outside of the game.

My question is, if the game was only playable by tournament rules, would this take something away from the sport-like qualities of professional gaming? In other words, if the game could be made glitch-proof and disallowed features could be disabled perfectly from the game for each tournament instance, would the tournaments still be sports in Prof. Taylor’s eyes?

This section from the book seems to argue that an inherent part of sports is the social dispute of rules. In the scenario above, the dispute would exist only for the establishment of the rules; once they are established, then the player would not have the option to cheat against those rules by the new nature of the game. Is this enough to retract from the “sportness” of the game?

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2 Responses to Question for T.L. Taylor

  1. cstabile says:

    After hearing Taylor speak, how would you answer these questions?

    • knystrom2013 says:

      Assuming that this meant losing the necessity for referees, it is hard to say. Like someone at the talk said, chess could be considered a sport but needs no referees. Both players know the rules and know how to interact with the game. I suspect that she would say it makes the game fundamentally different when the rules are no longer in part determined through social interactions and debates about “the spirit of the game,” but that it is still a sport if these players are playing the game together and agree to the custom rules of the match. It might be considered a “pre-referee-ing” done to ensure fairness. It is hard to say though, personally I think it would still be a sport. (Maybe because the term is so vague still. It reminds me of the old saying about a small group of crazed people being a cult and a large group of crazed people being a religion. In the same way, a small number of people playing a game is just a game, but a large number of people playing a game is a sport. The line is hard to draw.)

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