Atari Means "Territory Will Be Captured"

First, PONG is used to represent the athlete. Now it is used as the testing ground for the manipulation of that athlete. Put another way, the athlete has been ripped asunder, with the body a collection of bits floating in the digital ether and accessible to any mind.

In retrospect, it is easy to see that the digital representation of the athlete was the easy half of the equation; where the real challenge rested was in manipulating that athlete solely with one's mind, which has now been accomplished thirty years later. The irony lies in the fact that the incredibly able-bodied and virile athletes garnering such media accolades are not the ones leading this second technological revolution; if anything, they are partly responsible for engineering the seeds of their own demise. Rather, as others have already noted, it is the disabled that are the vanguard of this cyborgian (r)evolution, leaving the athletes as technological facilitators, little more than vehicles for cruising the information highway.

The developments we have seen in sports videogame representation in the time since PONG have been nothing short of remarkable, from two lines bouncing a dot back and forth on a black and white television screen to an account from Howard Rheingold only two decades later about his experiences playing virtual reality racquetball complete with haptic feedback on each stroke. There is no reason to believe that development on the side of cognitive manipulation won't follow a comparably dramatic arc. A thicker coaxial cable for more sophisticated avatar control? Perhaps a wireless substitute for cable, period?

Q Scores

Another important component of the information networks that modulate the professional sports matrix: the Q Score. Researched by Marketing Evaluations, Inc.,:

Q Scores are the industry standard for measuring familiarity and appeal of performers, characters, sports and sports personalities, broadcast and cable programs as well as company and brand names. Based on our "One of My Favorites" concept, Q Scores actually summarize the various perceptions and feelings that consumers have, into a single, but revealing, "likeability" measurement.

A short excerpt from one of their sample reports is included below.

Courtesy of Marketing Evaluations, Inc.

… Copiosus

Another example of the corporation taking precedence over the nation-state:

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Kim Clijsters, the No. 2-ranked player in women's tennis, is pulling out of next summer's Athens Olympics because she will not be allowed to wear apparel from her own sponsor.

In comments on her Web site, Clijsters said Monday she won't take part in the games because the Belgian Olympic Committee prohibits its athletes from wearing apparel not made by team sponsor Adidas.

Clijsters has a deal with the manufacturer Fila which stipulates she can only play in the company's clothing.