Chips With Everything

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“How’s he basketball coming out?”

I put down my drink and looked across at the next table. Both the man and the woman were at least 65. I was curious – pensioners, as far as I know, don’t play a lot of basketball.

“Oh, I don’t often play basketball these days”, the woman replied. “But I’m getting much better at golf – I did a round in two under par last night.”

Last night? What’s this, I thought – a floodlit golf course?  I opened my packet of crisps, thoughtfully. “I’m still pretty hopeless at chess. I’m afraid”, the man said. “It beat me on level one this morning.”

The penny dropped. These two were obviously the proud owners of video games.

It’s very likely that with the development of the silicon chip a lot of people will have a lot more leisure time. It’s equally likely that the chip will have a dramatic effect on how pople spend their leisure time. It already has. Space invader machines are now a familiar sight in pubs, coffee bars, take – away restaurants – even police stations. A lot of people play them, and some, particularly schoolchildren, get remarkably high scores. How, one wonders, do they find the time (and money) to become so good?

If you have your own video set, the possibilities are endless. You can play football, tennis, golf, basketball and other active sports without stepping out of your living room. Without even moving.

You can become an expert at chess without ever playing another human being. Indeed, human beings aren’t needed at all: there is already an annual computer chess championship – computer against computer.

So, what of the future? Will football grounds lie empty as families sit at home round the TV playing video football or watching the national video football championship? Perhaps it won’t go that far. But we won’t have to wait long for the Video Olympics. I’m sure of that. They are almost here!

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