Sports! is an arcade cabinet I curated for Cooperative Gaming Co-Op at the Zero1 Biennial in San Jose. I wanted to work with digital athleticism for several reasons, one being that videogames are stereotypically thought of as a pasttime for dorky “indoor kids.” While contemporary gaming is far less stigmatized than it was twenty years ago, the darkened space of an arcade would be an unlikely spot to find a star quarterback. And yet, games like Track and Field (1983), Hyper Sports (1984), Punch-Out (1984) and Atari Football(1978) were conducive to a specific type of spectatorship, and in turn, generated a brand of social capital through high scores. For some, the arcade context provided a sense of belonging that many players lacked in the outside world.
Another aspect that drew me to this subject is my fascination with what happens when one medium is transmuted to another. Preservation is a pressing issue in the field of new media curation, and I’ve always been interested in what happens when aging media work gets transferred to a more contemporary medium. For example, playing an Atari game on a PC emulator is a different experience from playing it on a VCS. Similarly, a physical sport has different nuances than a digital one. However, it’s purely a matter of personal preference whether or not one form delivers a more satisfying experience than the other.