Apparently video games aren’t tools of Satan after all!

A fantastic story via Dave Winer, in the Erickson Tribune, an in-house newspaper for a chain of retirement communities:

This summer, residents at Erickson communities around the country proved that video gaming isn’t just lounging. In fact, it’s downright physical and pretty competitive too.

In a series of three matches filled with intensity worthy of professional athletics, four teams representing Erickson’s Greenspring (Springfield, Va.), Oak Crest (Baltimore, Md.), Sedgebrook (Lincolnshire, Ill.), and Highland Springs (Dallas, Tex.) communities vied for the title in Erickson Sports’ first Nintendo Wii Bowling Tournament.

To the winners will go a trophy and the usual bragging rights fundamental to any sports victory, but the tournament also drew on Erickson residents’ camaraderie in spirit and performance.

Members of the four competing teams—the Oak Crest Mighty Oaks, the Greenspring Strikers, the Sedgebrook Alley Cats, and the Highland Springs Texas Highlanders—took virtual bowling to a new level, even practicing for the tournament beforehand.

“We practiced four to five days, maybe two hours a day,” says Mighty Oaks team member Carolyn “Little Sib” Sibley. “We were pushing it because we wanted to win.”

The environment itself also contributed to the competitive atmosphere that characterized the event. Players experienced every angle of the tournament, from live crowds and virtual bowling lanes to team uniforms. “We had shirts made for us, and the crew that came from back east really set up the area beautifully,” says Pete “Sidewinder” Robertson of the Highland Springs Texas Highlanders. “They had lights that outlined the lane that the bowler was bowling on, and we had a nice group of people turn out just to watch and cheer.”

The Nintendo Wii has become a popular entertainment fixture at many Erickson communities. The system combines a first-person point of view with actual physical interaction, immersing players in the game’s environment. “I never played a Wii game, and I was kind of anxious to do that,” Robertson says.

Next up: a Grand Theft Auto tournament.

Joke! Joke…