By Haley Goetz
“This is the most stupid shit I have seen in a long time,” I found myself saying to my friend.
Izy blew up a turret and the screen turned a brilliant shade of blue. Victory! What was going on? How was this game fun? It was Halloweekend. I was sitting in Izy’s basement, watching her play League of Legends on my laptop. She had just downloaded it for me and I was so confused. At the same time, I was curious, and you know what they say about curiosity. It sometimes, but definitely not always, leads to iffy life choices.
I left the application open on my sidebar for quite some time before I decided to play the game again. My name had already been chosen. CaptainSirSailor. I wanted to be some sort of land pirate, but I wasn’t aware that in League you don’t have a set character but rather a cohort to choose from. For whatever reason, I became obsessed with playing Fiddlesticks even though I sucked when I played as him. Teemo soon became my favorite champion, which is only fitting because he’s everyone’s least favorite champ and I couldn’t play League to save my life.
Junior year, the year this all happened, was the same year that I fell madly in love with the wrong person while simultaneously falling prey to the harms of virtual reality. Summoner’s Rift became my world, and I was quite content with the escape it provided me. It was the one time that I wouldn’t focus on that person. The only thing I was trying to achieve was making it to level 30 and gaining a good overall ranking in the game. I became obsessed with all aspects of League and in turn of its culture. I bought a Teemo hat and cosplayed as Teemo on a number of occasions. I met some random guy from North Carolina named Cloud while gaming late at night. League became a language between my friends and I, seeing as how they had been playing the game far longer than me.
“Stop playing that!” my mother would say over and over to me.
I would shut the door to my room and continue onwards in my quest.
There were a lot of times during high school when I felt very isolated from everyone, myself included. Some people and I were already beginning to drift apart, and I didn’t know how to handle it. Every time I logged into League, however, I was welcomed. If I had a shitty day, it suddenly wasn’t so bad. I could talk to people who I would more than likely never meet face-to-face. There was no pressure. The game was taking its toll on me, though. I knew that I wasn’t experiencing life as much as I should have been. Instead, I was sitting by myself in my room all weekend long, gaining weight and listening to terrible dubstep.
I’m reminded of my addiction to this game at odd times now. I see recommended gameplay videos on YouTube, but then I remember how many friends I lost as a result of being glued to my laptop screen day in and day out. I hear the login music for the game, but then I’m reminded of how sore my body would be after a full day of League. I hear tales of of my friends from back home playing the game, but then I remember crying for no discernible reason at four in the morning because I was alone.
I’m not a legend. That much is for sure. I was never going to make it into the ranks of the top players in this game, so why was I even bothering? I tried but didn’t succeed on multiple occasions in deleting the game from my computer. When I finally did purge the game file from my computer, I felt as if there suddenly was more air in the atmosphere. Everything became clear to me. I began experiencing life once again. Would I ever play League again if I had the chance to? I’m not sure. Such is life.