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Todd Richards Is Still Very Opposed to Video Games in X Games, And Here’s Why

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The Winter X Games are a wrap and in addition to medals awarded for snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiling, several gamers walked home as X Games medalists. Many athletes commented on their disdain for this fact, and Todd Richards was especially vocal on twitter on the inclusion of video games within the confines of X Games. ESPN, which recently launched an “e-sports” vertical, reached out to Todd to get a real interview on why he is so opposed to the digital revolution. But after receiving his well-thought out responses, the ESPN editors have shied away from running it. Never fear, fair viewer, Todd hit us up with the goods, and here’s the deal.

ESPN E-Sports: hey man, so I’m the new esports editor at ESPN as we just launched the esports vertical. I’ve tried reaching out to Kristi and she initially agreed to talk to me today but backed out. would you be down to answer a few questions about all this, that I think could be much better explained in length than tweets

Todd: Sure

ESPN: In length, why do you believe esports should not be at specifically the X Games?

Todd: Specifically, I don’t think that an E-sports event should be a medal event at X Games. When Ron Semio came up with the X Games, it was to showcase alternative, physically radical, edge pushing sports that were outside of the box. People got hurt, people risked it all, and have paid in limb and (on a well documented occasions) life to try and get that prestigious X Games gold medal. I don’t believe that rounds of Halo Guardians multiplayer falls into the same category.

ESPN: Do you believe the awards given to esports players in recent years has devalued the award to action sports athletes?

Todd: I do think that the medals handed out for participating in gaming league play have devalued what others have done physically. Why don’t you ask the parents of the snowmobile athlete who lost his life a few years back what they think about X Games medals being given to E Sport participants and those medals holding the same prestigious weight as the ones given to X Games athletes. Notice how I don’t confuse participant with athlete.

ESPN: Is the threat of danger required for it to be an addition to the X Games?

Todd: Yes, I do believe that there is a certain threat of danger that has gone hand in hand with X Games marketing over the years. When the X Games originally launched the “X” was not for x-treme as many may assume. X stood for the unknown, as in, its unknown if you will be walking tomorrow after qualifiers.

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ESPN: Hasn’t esports gone through some of the same tribulation action sports have gone through to be accepted by traditional sports fans, why go after esports?

Todd: Look, I’m a massive gamer. I have been, since blowing hundreds of dollars learning the patterns of Dragons Lair and Space Ace at arcades in the 80s. I buy every magazine, I read IGN religiously ( even listen to Greggy’s podcasts) , and have been to E3 every year for the past 10. I consider myself deeply immersed in the culture of gaming. However, I will never confuse an actual physical activity with a virtual one. Regardless of E Sports going through the same ups and downs as snowboarding or skateboarding did in its infancy, it’s just not the same thing. Skating and snowboarding are extremely physically taxing activities. I wouldn’t say I’m “going after” e sports, just want to point out something that many of us that have competed in X Games over the years are thinking. Unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be, I’m usually the one within snowboarding to openly voice the opinion of the whole.

ESPN: The esports events hosted at X Games have brought in large viewership online, social interaction, and solid competition – should that not be enough? Or is it because the X Games is the definitive championship for action sports athletes, while esports players have several other championship events?

Todd: I think that competitive gaming has a future. The numbers do not lie as you have stated. I really have the problem with X Games using e-sports to keep viewership up instead of being maybe a bit more creative with what they have already. You are right when you say that X Games is/has been/ the definitive event for action sports athletes. Anyone who has won an X Games gold, or any other medal there, can attest to what it takes to really climb that mountain and achieve that. I personally have competed with broken ribs, rolled ankles and in near white out conditions to try and go home with the gold at X Games. I just don’t see a comparison between guys in Astro gaming headsets, coordinating rush assaults on another team in a back room of a hotel, to be the same thing. In conclusion, I think that video games are amazing. It’s a way for me to escape my reality and I use them as a form of digital therapy at times. It’s impressive what these guys are making from their accomplishments in tournaments and wish them the best of luck. I just have a problem with them getting the same X Games medals as the men and women who have to hit 80 foot jumps to try and get the same prestige.

Major League Video Games Added to the X Games

Gone are the days of sky surfing, street luge, modified shovel racing, downhill mountain biking, rollerblading and all sorts of other extinct extreme sports. This year though, X Games is finally rocgnizing the most popular of all “extreme sports” and introducing a video game competition to the Austin event. No, seriously. Here’s the press release.

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To capitalize on a rapidly growing competitive league right in the heart of its demographic, X Games, together with Major League Gaming, announced Monday that there will be a “Call of Duty” tournament as part of X Games Austin in June.
The “MLG Call of Duty: Ghosts” tournament will feature the top five “Call of Duty” teams based on MLG Pro Points plus the top three teams from the “Call of Duty” championship held in Winter Park, Fla., last month. The eight teams will compete in a double-elimination group format, with four teams advancing to a single-elimination bracket. X Games medals will be awarded to the winning teams.

“It’s going to be [MLG] bringing our high-level production into a really full weekend,” MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni said. “We’re looking to build something here that hopefully becomes a tradition at both the summer and the winter X Games over time.”
MLG is one of several professional video game leagues worldwide and the largest in North America, hosting tournaments in such games as “League of Legends,” “Call of Duty” and “Starcraft” and sports games like “NBA 2K14.” Teams of gamers make up MLG rosters and will compete in online preliminary tournaments broadcast on MLG.tv. Then major tournaments are held in venues like the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California, where thousands have watched tournaments in-person.

“We are for the first time in a position where we have the league structure, the broadcast piece, the direct access to media and brands who are interested in advertising and marketing to this audience, and it’s built in such a way where there’s this tremendous scale in front of us,” DiGiovanni said.

No stranger to ESPN — he was the video gaming expert on “Cold Pizza” — DiGiovanni said the partnership with X Games was an extension of a longtime relationship he has had with the network.
The partnership with X Games was about a year in the making, according to Tim Reed, senior director of content strategy for the X Games. X Games Austin expands this year into a three-day festival with top-tier musical acts and events surrounding the competition.

“As X Games looks to grow and launch into the festival event we’re producing, this is great added content to the overall plan,” Reed said. “I’m definitely excited to see how it translates [to X Games].”

Joe “Merk” Deluca, a member of Team EnVyUs, will be at X Games Austin because his team finished second in last month’s COD championship. He said the partnership between MLG and X Games makes a lot of sense. Deluca played in front of as many as 20,000 people over the course of a weekend at the MLG Championships in Anaheim last year, but he says the ability to compete for an X Games medal is what sets this MLG competition apart from the rest.

“I want to win an X Games medal,” Deluca said. “That would be a dream in itself.”

Bringing gaming to the X Games was a good match because people interested in professional gaming are likely to be fans of the X Games and other action sports, Reed said. Couple that with the surging popularity of the new genre of e-sports and X Games has what it hopes will be a popular attraction inside the festival grounds at the Circuit of the Americas.
“It made sense from X Games’ perspective,” Reed said. “The audiences are similar: youth, fun to play with, and they like music, sports and gaming. So it all kind of lines up with [the X Games] audience.”
A three-day ticket to X Games Austin will cost $89 and allow holders access to the MLG tent and other attractions at the festival. There also will be an upgraded ticket option for reserved seating inside the MLG tent, a gift bag and other perks. Ticket information can be found here.
The “Call of Duty” franchise is one of the best-selling series in gaming history, but first-person shooters like COD feature realistic violence. “Call of Duty” games can’t be bought by anyone under 17, and ESRB rules will be followed at X Games. No one under 17 can enter the tent at X Games without a parent or guardian.
“The subject matter is mature and it’s not something that is going to be right for everybody, but there’s a huge section of the audience that plays these games,” DiGiovanni said. “You’ll see when these games are released — one of the main places they are advertised is on the ESPN networks.”

New York-based MLG claims better than a 1,500 percent growth in online video consumption over the past four years and 600 percent growth in total audience over the past three. Much of the interest in e-sports comes from South Korea, Japan and China, but video game tournaments and leagues are rapidly growing in the American market.

There is also money to be made by the competitors. Some of the top professional video gamers can earn over six figures, and many have become celebrities within the gaming community. Having a league that can provide a living wage for many of its professionals was one of the early goals of MLG. Now that it has achieved sustainability, the league is looking to grow in areas where its audience already is, like the X Games.

If the Austin event is successful, MLG and X Games may look to expand their relationship, possibly making on-site gaming a regular attraction at X Games.

“Ideally, we get the [X Games] brand to travel in the gaming space and drive some engagement with an X Games audience,” Reed said. “If the tent is full and people are enjoying it, then it’s a success.”

Video Games: Sunday River

Video Games Event continues through New England with the third stop of the series at Sunday River. On March 2nd six teams converged at the Sunday River jib park, super-pipe, and Rocking Chair terrain park to get as much material as they could in just one day. Keeping with current media events, the VGE staff though it would be a fun idea to include a “Harlem Shake” into the video shot list. Kids we asked to get the shake in some part of their video, and we kept the creativity part open for interpretation. Check out this stops edits, live on the VGE webpage: http://www.videogamesevent.com/vote-snowboard-ski.php

Video Games: Loon Video

Here’s the recap from Loon Mountain. If you we’re wondering who took the prizes at Wachusett, wonder no longer!

Big Buck Hunter: Viewers Chice Award & Best Storyline

Mascara Militia: Best Filming

Lifted Media: Most Creative

Jack Loves Ass: Best Action

VGE #1: Wachusett

Reel Theory Productions – Marblehead, Massachusetts, New England 1/28/2013

Video Games 2013 officially kicks off with event #1 at Wachusett Mtn in Massachusetts. Video Games Event is a new series for digital media creators and competitive Action Sports athletes online. The four-stop Mountain tour will cover the New England area creating exclusive and original digital media at each location. Competitors arrived with eager anticipation of getting their “shot lists” and getting the video cameras rolling. Ten teams raced out on the hill to film everything they possibly could in one day of competition.

“This was the most fun day of snowboarding I have ever had!” says competitor Brandon Honeycutt after just a couple hours on the hill.

Over the next week all teams will be provided with Intro and Closing bumpers and music that are also required parts of the edit process. All videos are due on submission date: February 1st, and voting window will begin February 2nd. All teams are competing for most votes and also the following Film Festival Style awards: Most Creative, Best Filming, Best Story, Best Action, and View Choice Award. A combined score of Online votes and Film Fest Awards will decide the final winners announced at the next stop.

NEXT EVENTS:
February 9th — Loon Mtn, NH (Film Awards Announced for Wachusett Event)
March 2nd — Sunday River, ME
March 23rd — Okemo Mtn, VT

Video Games Stance: As digital media cements itself in every facet of our life from our phones, TVs, workspaces and school systems in a somewhat intrusive fashion, there becomes a need to find ways to enjoy this experience.  Video Games 2013 combines our imagination with the creative learning process and the inherent nature to share the work we create, all in one event.  Participants will discover a completely new way to engage with media in a person-to-person social environment and also enjoy a progressive learning experience with hands-on state-of-the-art equipment. Video Games 2013 is here to combine the fun of action sports with the technology of digital videographer/photography and will promote the professionalism of good storytelling and quality media making. There is finally a place to host all your stuff, and its here… its Video Games!

VIDEO GAMES 2013 got history- (formally known as “SOFA-KING New England”) is an interactive snowboarding event that allows the participants to enjoy the freedom of riding with the creativity of filming and editing. They can compete with friends via voting for their favorite “Video Game” edit online. Competitors will form teams at each stop.  Each team is responsible for creating one video edit per stop. The final edits will be posted online with a live voting system. Prizes will be awarded at each stop for winning edits. Point totals will be tallied for a final Grand Prize at the last stop.  To qualify for the Grand Prize, teams must complete two of three stops, and voting will determine the ultimate winners online.

Andrew Mutty, owner and operator of Reel Theory, a digital media marketing company, brings the East Coast this new series dedicated to further developing the imagination and progression of our sports. “It’s all about creating a fun and engaging platform for positive and progressive riding,” said Mutty.

Mutty continued, “The benefit of the event is to allow riders a new opportunity of engagement with the community on a national level. Video contests are hot right now, and there is nothing new about what we are doing, but I do think the key lives in what we do, and how we do it, that will make the biggest difference.”

Mutty’s involvement in snowboarding events roots itself on the East Coast with more the 15 years of experience. He developed and supported the Main Event Snowboard Series through nine seasons since 2002, and has been a part of basically every major event across the globe from the Olympics and X Games, to the US Open and many more.  His philosophy of giving back to the community holds true in providing opportunities for East Coast snowboarders in ways that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else.

“There is a real opportunity to involve East Coasters in a new event series that speaks to a national audience, and this is what we hope to do with Video Games,” Mutty commented, then added, “We have found that companies are feeling a loss of exposure here due to a lack of high profile athletes competing in Dew Tours or US Opens. There is no national exposure for the kids here like there used to be and it’s a shame. Many parents of boarders are left asking, ‘Where is the connection to the market?’ And this is why I found it necessary to develop something fun and exciting for the market.”

Official Sponsors: Vitamin Water, Oakley, Bern, Reel Theory Productions, SGT (sass global travel)

Special thanks to Music Providers: Mass Production and Sunavaunt

Media Partners include Transworld Snowboarding, Steez Magazine, Snowboard Mag, YoBeat, Strap’d Up, EastCoast Snowboarding, Shred It Girl, the Mountain Report.

Shop Support: Eastern Boarder, Concepts and NOTB

For general info Visit:
Video Games Home page: http://bit.ly/QHQ8oi

Videogames 2013 Registration is Open!

Dates and Locations:

X-­MAS Special Edit Event;
$1k for Skate, and $1k for BMX
X-­MAS Open entry closes Dec 15th
X-­MAS Voting Open from Dec 15th — Dec23rd X-­MAS Skate and BMX announced on Christmas Day

On Mountain Events
January 26th — Wachusett, MA
February 9th — Loon Mtn, NH
March 2nd — Sunday River, ME
March 23rd — Okemo Mtn, VT

More info: http://bit.ly/QHQ8oi
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/Uf5d0e

Video Games Launches for 2013

Video Games 2013 officially announces a new series for digital media creators and competitive snowboarders in the New England area. This four-stop tour will cover the New England area creating exclusive and original digital media at each location.

Dates and Locations:
January 26th — Wachusett, MA
February 9th — Loon Mtn, NH
March 2nd — Sunday River, ME
March 23rd — Okemo Mtn, VT

As digital media cements itself in every facet of our life from our phones, TVs, workspaces and school systems in a somewhat intrusive fashion, there comes a need to find ways of enjoying this experience.  Video Games 2013 combines the imagination with the creative learning process, and the inherent nature to share the work we create, all in one event.  Participants will discover a completely new way to engage with media in a person-to-person social environment and also enjoy a progressive learning experience with hands-on state-of-the-art equipment. Video Games 2013 is here to combine the fun of snowboarding with the technology of digital videography/photography and will promote the professionalism of good storytelling and quality media making.

VIDEO GAMES 2013 (formally known as “SOFA-KING New England”) is an interactive snowboarding event that allows the participants to enjoy the freedom of riding with the creativity of filming and editing. They can compete with friends via voting for their favorite “Video Game” edit online. Competitors will form teams at each stop.  Each team is responsible for creating one video edit per stop. The final edits will be posted online with a live voting system. Prizes will be awarded at each stop for winning edits. Point totals will be tallied for a final Grand Prize at the last stop.  To qualify for the Grand Prize, teams must complete two of three stops, and voting will determine the ultimate winners online.

Video Games 2013 promises to bring a high level of creativity to the event. To keep things fresh, teams will be provided with a “task force list” that outlines places and tricks. Tasks will range from “front side board slide the pyramid box,” to “find a natural obstacle to jib,” and these tasks must be included in the edit in order for teams to be eligible for prizes. Consider it a scavenger hunt of epic proportions. Video Games 2013 will encourage kids to ride the whole mountain, to formulate strategy and to focus on accomplishing goals while working together as a team.

Andrew Mutty, owner and operator of Reel Theory, a digital media marketing company, brings the East Coast this new snowboard series dedicated to further developing the imagination and progression of snowboarding. “It’s all about creating a fun and engaging platform for positive and progressive snowboarding,” said Mutty.

Mutty continued, “The benefit of the event is to allow riders a new opportunity of engagement with the snowboarding community on a national level. Video contests are hot right now, and there is news about what we are doing, but I do think the key lives in what we do, and how we do it, that will make a the biggest difference.”

Mutty’s involvement in snowboarding events roots itself on the East Coast with more the 15 years of experience. He developed and supported the Main Event Snowboard Series through nine seasons since 2002, and has been a part of basically every major event across the globe from the Olympics and X Games, to the US Open and many more.  His philosophy of giving back to the community holds true in providing opportunities for East Coast snowboarders in ways that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else.

“There is a real opportunity to involve East Coasters in a new event series that speaks to a national audience, and this is what we hope to do with Video Games,” Mutty commented, then added, “We have found that companies are feeling a loss of exposure here because no high profile athletes are competing in Dew Tours or US Opens. There is no national exposure for the kids here like there used to be and it’s a shame. Many parents of boarders are left asking, ‘Where is the connection to the snowboard market?’ And this is why I found it necessary to develop something fun and exciting for the market.”

Media Partners include Steez Magazine, Snowboard Mag, Yo Beat, and many more.

For general info Visit:
Video Games Home page: http://bit.ly/QHQ8oi
Video Games FaceBook Page: http://on.fb.me/QHQqvi

For additional information regarding media partnerships or potential sponsorships please contact Andrew Mutty at [email protected], or visit the Video Games 2013 info page at www.videogamesevent.com.

Best Week Ever: September 26, 2008

“Oh sorry I thought this was Google.”

-We find ourselves looking for something to watch on TV at 3AM one night. We are searching On Demand for something, anything. Olivia discovers some Karaoke section and gets excited. I yell no and tell her to stop. She presses the button and the TV screen flashes “Your program will begin shortly.” Instinctively, I put my glasses on and ask what song we are doing.

-Olivia arrives home from work to me watching television, like usual. She remarks, “You look really tan.” Confused, I explain that someone else had told me the same thing. She stops, “Wait you saw someone else today?” I shrug, “No yesterday.”

-I do a music video-shoot early in the week. The three emotions I have to evoke on cue are happy, angry, and sad. I am struggling with the sad piece. The video dude tries to help, “Think of something sad like the loss of a loved one or a time you had your heart broken.” I instantly become sad. I do well. Dude asks what sad thing I thought about was. I shrugged and answered, “Work.”

-I want this program for my phone. So I instinctively BBM Rose explaining this and asking her where I can download it. I then realize how ridiculous this was and type, “Oh sorry I thought this was Google.”

-A friend of mine is clearing things out to fit me into his car. He shows me a plaque for some music award he had received for a song of his. He then informs me his was the second place award and the winner received 25 grand. I sigh, “My life is a giant plaque.”

-Olivia asks the following question one evening, “You know that show where the dude wins the lottery and gets hit by a car?” I don’t. She then adds, “You know that guy I think is really hot?” With little thought I reply, “My name is Earl.” I have no idea how.

-We don’t have much of anything in the house to eat at all. Period. I announce that I wish I had brownies or cupcakes or chocolate of some sort. Olivia adds, “I know. I ate that whole jar of peanut butter.” Due to the lack of options in the kitchen, I ask her what she ate said jar of peanut butter with. She replies, “A spoon.”

-I go to some video game release party for a new NBA related game last night, for another magazine. The place is full of famous NBA players who obviously are talking to larger media types than me. I call Rose upon leaving. I tell her the Cool Kids performed, so they talked to me. I then add, “The only people other person I could get to talk to me was the DJ.” Rose enjoys this statement. I add, “That sort of defines my life.”

– I really wish computer screens made you tan. I think I have said that before.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2: The Ultimate Cheater’s Guide

Some people move to Bellingham, WA, stop shaving and start smoking a lot of weed, but not me. This is because I moved here just as Pro Skater 2, or Crack, as I like to call it, came out. I’ve spent the last couple weeks playing the game constantly, and yesterday, I finally broke 6,000,000. That is, thanks to the codes. Ahh yes, perfect balance, full special power, moon gravity, and stud mode are wonderful things. Now, if you’re a big enough nerd to read this site, you’ve probably already found the codes and have been utilizing these features, but if not, here it is:

Unlock Everything (except gaps):
Pause the game, then hold L1 and press X, X, X, Square, Triangle, Up, Down, Left, Up, Square, Triangle, X, Triangle, Circle, X, Triangle, Circle. If you entered the code correctly, the pause screen will shake. Then, select the “End Run” option from the pause menu. All cheats, FMV seqences, McSqeeb, Officer Dick, and Spider-Man will be unlocked.

Now, to get 6,000,000 points is really quite simple. Find a pool, or the inside of the fountain in Philly will do as well. Start grinding, with perfect balance you won’t stop until you jump off. If you do a special grind you’ll get way more points, and everyone will think you’re cool. When you loose speed, just flip into another grind and keep on going. Watch out though, when the score gets to about 220,000×28.5, you’ll start losing points.

Another good technique is to change the skaters special tricks to all the most expensive ones. This will give you the most possible points.

Right now I realized what an enormous nerd I am. I went backyard/ice rink snowboarding yesterday, and instead of writing about that, I’ve decided to talk about video games. I take everything I’ve said back, stay away from Pro Skater 2, it will ruin your life as well.

However, if you already have the game, make sure to watch the Spider Man and Officer Dick video. Gold.