Lion of the Blogosphere

17-year-old kid becomes pro Overwatch player despite his parents

Liked this article. His parents, not surprisingly, didn’t like the idea of him playing Overwatch all the time, so they tried to cut off his internet.

I’m glad the kid was able to persevere and pursue self-actualization from playing Overwatch. Why should Overwatch be treated differently than training for the Olympics. I bet most parents would be a lot more supportive if their kid forwent college to train for the Olympics, even though 99% of Olympic athletes make no money from it. On the other hand, the Olympics probably look a lot better on a college application being a pro Overwatch player.

I guess the counterargument is that even if the kid makes a living for a few years from being a pro Overwatch player, his reflexes will be shot by the time he’s 30 and then he has no self-actualizing career path.

* * *

My current Overwatch skill rank is only 548. I think that puts me in the bottom 1% of players. I am too old to play videogames.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 28, 2017 at 10:54 PM

Posted in Nerdy stuff

52 Responses

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  1. Athletes peak at 25 or 35 (depending on discipline) because of the stress of training. The stress damages tissues over time. The best video gamers in the world should be in their 40s, like with musicians. If kids burn out it’s because they’re stupid on the subject of sleep and nutrition.


    April 28, 2017 at 11:12 PM

    • Wrong, pro-gamers have to retire by the time they reach their late 20s:

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 29, 2017 at 12:04 AM

      • Yes, because they’re idiots who eat cheetos and stay up all night. It’s not a biological ageing thing. The classical musicians at the top of their game in their 40s talk about getting nine hours of sleep every day.


        April 29, 2017 at 12:16 AM

      • Your brain is at its peak responsiveness in your early 20s. That said, there are some skill sets which take years, even decades to master and refine.

        Let’s say you start writing novels or composing music when you’re 15, and it takes 25 years to fully reach your potential in those fields. Your peak will be reached around the age of 40 – which is when most creative artists peak. Even so, your brain at age 23 was still faster than it was at age 38, even if you’ve come further along as an artist at a later age.

        In contrast, video games don’t take long to master – they have a steeper learning curve (you master a larger percentage of your maximum potential in a shorter period of time than in a creative art). If a game isn’t fun after two hours or so, most people will stop playing and will trade it in for something else. In contrast, no one, and I mean no one, has ever written a high quality composition after his first two hours of writing music.

        There are some games which require more time to master. Lion, like me, loves Civilization IV, and you can spend months, if not years, slowly improving your skill.

        Since most games are mastered quickly, raw brain speed is king. Let’s say you have identical twins. One is a professional violinist and one a professional gamer. The violinist and the gamer have the same brain speeds at age 20, but the violinist is still refining his skill while the gamer has mastered his. At age 40, the violinist has perfected his skill, even though his brain is slower. In contrast, the gamer’s brain is just as slow as the violinist’s, and he and his competition mastered their gaming skills years ago. He’s just a slow gamer going up against fast 20 year olds, while the violinist has finally perfected his skill and will continue to be useful in his field for many more years, as violinists who have mastered their craft are hard to find.

        Professional gamers should select a field with a higher barrier to entry, so they can still be competitive in their older years. But then again, you can’t really pick your passion in life.


        April 29, 2017 at 2:11 AM

      • Professional gamers should select a field with a higher barrier to entry, so they can still be competitive in their older years.

        Shorter careers mean higher turnover and more people getting an opportunity to be at the top.


        April 29, 2017 at 11:39 AM

      • ““My parents were completely against it,” Disalvo told me in an interview. “They would take away my modem and cut me off from the internet. ”


        He does have a lot of transferable skills though, with the visualization….

        Lion o' the Turambar

        April 29, 2017 at 12:22 PM

  2. How come online gaming isn’t dominated by computers pretending to be humans? Asked in earnest, I know nothing about these games.

    April 29, 2017 at 12:30 AM

    • Because AI isn’t sufficiently complex to solve these games, or the aspect of the games that is being tested is trivially easy to solve mathematically. For example, a game like Overwatch is very significantly determined by your ability to shoot accurately, which for humans is a test of reflexes, prediction, nerves, etc.

      For programs that don’t have to interface with the real world (ie, avoiding the actually very difficult problems involved in visual processing, passing input through imperfect and unpredictable physical body in the physical world), this is a simple linear algebra equation. The PC that solves linear algebra equations the fastest and most reliably isn’t a very interesting thing to watch generally, so it’s not valued.

      Panther of the Blogocube

      April 29, 2017 at 1:16 AM

    • Computer AI tends to be limited in video games. There’s a strategy game called StarCraft, and the AI at the top settings is no match at all for even moderately good players.

      You probably could develop an AI with near-instantaneous reactions and evolving strategic decision-making, but there’s no money in it, I suppose.


      April 29, 2017 at 1:53 AM

    • Actually, when I was playing World of Tanks some years ago bots were a problem. The problem was not that they were too good, but rather that they were too bad–they just drove off cliffs and fired at random. The point of the bots was to play hundreds of games and pile up the small amount of XP and in-game money you get just for participating in a game, even if you or your team did poorly, so their owners could advance quickly past the low levels.

      A good bot would be hard, or at least time-consuming, to program because a game like World of Tanks has so many factors to take into account to achieve high performance: there are 29 other players with different model tanks on the field, two objective areas, various terrain, a time limit, etc.


      April 29, 2017 at 8:35 AM

    • Bots have perfect aim, but pro videogamers have nearly perfect aim. Bots don’t do strategy at all.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 29, 2017 at 9:07 AM

      • A good human player will hit 30-40% of their shots. Up to 50% when the stars align. Bots will hit 100% of the time barring internet latency or other random factors, and will do so with reaction times faster than any human (~100ms reaction time). It is not comparable at all.

        Panther of the Blogocube

        April 29, 2017 at 1:09 PM

  3. When I was doing a temp gig at Goldman Sachs years ago, there was a guy there whose bio said he’d won an olympic gold medal (in swimming, I think).

    Dave Pinsen

    April 29, 2017 at 1:16 AM

    • Sachs probably has more ex Olympic athletes than ex pro videogamers.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 29, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    • Not sure how being an Olympic gold medalist qualifies you to work for Goldman Sachs, but I’m sure they will rationalize a reason.


      April 29, 2017 at 11:40 PM

      • I guess because winning a gold medal is so much more prestigious than merely competing and winning nothing, and Goldman Sachs is all about the prestige.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 30, 2017 at 12:10 AM

      • When I worked at Lehman Brothers before the bankruptcy there were a few former Olympic athletes, former NCAA top level college wrestlers, etc. Competiveness in athletics translates well to competiveness in finance.


        April 30, 2017 at 7:01 PM

  4. One isn’t a sample size. Maybe you just suck.

    Cletus Jones

    April 29, 2017 at 1:55 AM

    • LOL. Why, sure it is! It’s N=1, with a confidence interval of plus or minus 387%. Give or take.


      April 29, 2017 at 3:34 PM

  5. I’m sure that girls just can’t stop dropping their panties for Overwatch players. Oh wait …



    April 29, 2017 at 2:15 AM

    • Sarcasm not warranted. South Korean girls love the pro videogamers:

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 29, 2017 at 9:04 AM

      • This isn’t South Korea. I would bet that in the US, a random, age-adjusted sample of 25 NFL fans have had more sex than a similar sample of 250 hardcore gamers.



        April 29, 2017 at 9:08 AM

      • I’m pretty sure those women are models paid to attend gaming events (at conventions, they’re called booth babes). They show attention to the pro gamers while they’re on the clock, then they go home to their alpha boyfriends. The guy who wrote this was too clueless to get the game.

        It’s often the dream of socially inept nerds that there exists some culture that understands them, where the women give them the attention and respect they’re due. Japan and Korea are frequent targets for this kind of thinking.

        NE Asians are different from Westerners, but they’re not THAT different. The women view you as a loser there, too.


        April 29, 2017 at 3:52 PM

      • Women like men who have high status. If in South Korea, pro gamers have high status (and they do, at least more so than they do in the U.S.) then they will have female fans, just like athletes.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 29, 2017 at 3:57 PM

      • They have status like George RR Martin has status — within nerd circles. Korea’s nerd circles are somewhat bigger than ours, due to a different IQ/personality distribution. But just like ours, those circles are comprised mostly of socially inept men and very few women.

        A nerd who is respected by other nerds does better with women than a man with no such respect, but nothing like the guy who is admired by socially adept people.


        April 29, 2017 at 4:09 PM

      • George R R Martin probably has groupies.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 29, 2017 at 4:23 PM

      • “They have status like George RR Martin has status — within nerd circles”

        They’re a little less common, but attend a gamer/comic/anime convention and you’ll notice that “nerd circles” are by no means devoid of hot women. Somebody at the top of the nerd hierarchy has more access to hot women than you think.


        April 30, 2017 at 3:33 PM

    • Two words: Yanet Garcia.

      Although technically her boyfriend plays Call of Duty, not Overwatch.

      Jokah Macpherson

      April 29, 2017 at 11:47 AM

  6. “Why should Overwatch be treated differently than training for the Olympics.”

    Because employers and elite school admission officers are more likely to be jock sniffers than gaming admirers.


    April 29, 2017 at 3:01 AM

    • They are both prole-oriented regardless. I had to leave America to get away from the prole stench.


      April 29, 2017 at 10:17 AM

  7. To Steve: I think there are some types of games that computers still really struggle with. Computers are a lot more stupid than people realize.

    Lion: what is your chess rating?

    Otis the Sweaty

    April 29, 2017 at 3:17 AM

  8. Historical battle games are a whole genre.

    Panther of the Blogocube

    April 29, 2017 at 1:15 PM

  9. “I’m glad the kid was able to persevere and pursue self-actualization from playing Overwatch.”

    I don’t think self-actualization means what you think it means. A lot of people talk about self-actualization through this or that. And you frequently talk of self-actualization through career. But that’s not what Maslow meant by it. In fact, he complained that a lot of people misunderstood the concept. I plead guilty to misunderstanding the concept as well. My mistake was in relying on what others said rather than going back to the original source.

    It’s actually describes people with a set of traits Maslow believed were worthwhile. I doubt many people share them all. Most people don’t share any of them. I’m sure his selection was no doubt skewed by his own bias/values. Even so, many of the traits hold up well regardless of one’s values. So much so that I’d actually reached similar conclusions myself. Surprising since I suspect his values were very different from mine.

    Anyway, hedonism is about as far from self-actualizing as one can get. So is having a self-actualizing career, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. That’s just not what it means. Self-actualization isn’t about having things or doing things. It’s not even about being successful or happy. And I don’t think anyone who believes those things to be the way to self-actualization has the depth to be self-actualized. I think that’s what bothered me so much about what people were saying self-actualization was.


    April 29, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    • Self actualization in Maslow’s world is defined as the pursuit of a narcissistic tendency that leads to the enlightenment of the word at large. Think publishing as in writing books, articles, making music and art, which are supposed to enlightened others. Money isn’t an end product, but a perk. Self actualizers seek euphoria coming from their enlightenment.

      Lion never talks about these things. Just a boring, high paying career that fulfills the paradigm of what we call American consumption.

      I think there is a HBD component to self actualization and it’s one of the main reasons why the Western World is the apex of civilization. Caucasians are more apt to self actualize that East Asians who have higher IQs, but lacking in narcissistic tendencies, while blacks are generally less intelligent to pursue this higher order of psychopathology.


      April 30, 2017 at 11:40 AM

      • “Lion never talks about these things. Just a boring, high paying career that fulfills the paradigm of what we call American consumption.”

        That’s a misinterpretation. I often mention the benefits of creative jobs that don’t make as much money as investment bankers make but they still pay well enough.

        And perhaps you should re-read this post:

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 30, 2017 at 12:02 PM

      • Your narrative of SA has an overemphasis on money…

        Then there’s the current Manhattan centric view that you and I both share. Manhattan is no longer conducive to self actualization, unless one has the means to pursue it. Again, your idea/narrative of self actualization is only afforded to the well off, because proles are generally too poor or stupid to self-actualize. It’s gives off a vibe of classism/elitism, which has nothing to do with self actualization, but a form of consumption afforded only to the privileged. Not knocking on you, because America was and is always an intellectual and a cultural desert, so we only have this — behavior patterns are linked to consumption patterns of the different economic classes.


        April 30, 2017 at 1:34 PM

  10. Funny you bring up Gettysburg, because Sid Meier’s Gettysburg is the most prominent and mass market game of this sort that I’m aware of. And it came out 20 years ago. I had a good time with it back then.

    The genre exists, but it’s quite niche. Other than the mass market Total War games, which are loosely connected to it.


    April 29, 2017 at 3:58 PM

  11. AI isn’t good enough yet to make truly satisfying intricate grand battles. Grand Strategy has gotten pretty good, and Paradox in particular makes a lot of high quality games like Hearts of Iron IV (probably the best war strategy game produced to date) where you can try to win WWII as any country you want. Most of Paradox’s titles are geared towards high IQ history geeks.


    April 29, 2017 at 8:48 PM

  12. Yet another entry in the hott chix with big guns series: “Let me get sitchiated!” Heather is actually on my Facebook friends list. She’s 36 or 37 in this video but still has it put together.
    Her 10-gauge shotgun is at least as hard to handle as the .375H&H in the last video.



    April 29, 2017 at 11:31 PM

    • 5/10. Would not bang.

      Otis the Sweaty

      April 30, 2017 at 1:16 AM

      • Bang, heh.



        April 30, 2017 at 8:44 PM

    • Depending on how they’re loaded, 375h&h has about 35 ft-lbs of recoil and a 10ga has over 60 ft-lbs. Just thinking about that makes me flinch.


      April 30, 2017 at 1:47 AM

      • Comparisons between rifle and shotgun recoil are not just a matter of foot-pounds of energy. The conventional view is that the higher velocity of rifle recoil makes it feel like a hard slap, while shotgun recoil is more like a shove. I don’t know to what extent this is real, as the most powerful rifle caliber I’ve ever fired is 6.5x55SE, which has almost no perceptible recoil at all, on par with a .30-.30.
        My 12-gauge has moderate, easily tolerated recoil with standard 2 3/4″ birdshot loads. Slugs and buckshot are notably stronger, and the recoil is definitely on the brutal side with 3″ magnum shells (though it’s strangely enjoyable in a caveman sort of sense).



        April 30, 2017 at 7:59 PM

  13. Interesting thread on NeoGaf about the radicalization of the right:

    Otis the Sweaty

    April 30, 2017 at 1:17 AM

    • It’s a thread about people they know who are “racists” but without any sort of details that would enable me to figure out exactly what they mean.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 30, 2017 at 8:38 AM

      • I thought there was some interesting anecdotal stories about the radicalization of their own family and friends. Trump has brought us closer to civil war.

        Otis the Sweaty

        April 30, 2017 at 10:12 AM

      • No details about what “radicalization” happened.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 30, 2017 at 11:12 AM

      • America has always leaned right as a nation. It happens that the Republican are a reactionary right wing to the Democrats. Democrats just sugar coat their extreme views with “liberalism”.


        April 30, 2017 at 10:34 AM

  14. Isn’t the consensus that Gettysburg was unwinnable for the South?

    Otis the Sweaty

    April 30, 2017 at 10:09 AM

  15. The saddest part is, there are people who actually “think” that playing video games is a sport.
    The Dumbing Down of America proceeds apace.

    Gondar Radnog

    May 5, 2017 at 3:13 PM

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