At precisely 2:45, fifteen minutes after the school day ends, most students have excitedly left school in a hurry to continue their lives outside of their education. But some students are patiently waiting for the computer lab door to gently push open, to allow the enthusiastic teenagers it greets to begin booting up the monitors. They toss aside their backpacks containing their books, pencils, and paper to wield the handle of a mouse and the clacking keys of a keyboard. Some even place headphones over their ears to help them forget just where they are and focus on what they are so determined to immerse themselves in.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday this year, this would be the scene you would have discovered when you walked into the room, and you would have even heard laughter and furious yells from the other end of the hallway.
So what is this thing that has brought together students of all genders, ethnicities, and political views? A video game, of course.
The name of the game is League of Legends, an online game that allows up to ten players at a time to battle one another until the game is finished. This “MOBA” (Multiplayer-Online-Battle-Arena)is played in separate matches, like other well-known activities. The players are separated into two teams, who compete against one another to win.
This team dynamic encourages flexibility and compromise between allies, and only builds up competition with enemies, giving the game it’s somewhat addictive reputation.
The League of Legends club had just completed its first year last summer, and is now well on it’s way to finish it’s second year, so the members are pretty pleased with how it turned out.
One member, Dylan Riley, sophomore at Gresham, has been a part of the club since it first started. He had this to say about it:
“You get to play a game you enjoy with multiple people who also enjoy the game”. Said Dylan Riley.
So as delightful as that sounds, what exactly is the point of the club?
“It’s basically like hanging out with friends…”. Said former member Eric Stockfleth.
He stopped attending due to lack of interest, and went on to point out the very little difference between simply going to a friends house, and staying after school to play for a only an hour or two or just playing with each other from your own home online.
As it turns out, this game is incredibly infamous for having a not-too-friendly community. It has been largely regarded as the most toxic player base in video game history. By playing with people who are just a few feet away, all anonymity is removed and people act like they would in a normal social situation. Most people, that is. Though no incidents have occurred, some tend to get a little “rowdy” to say the least.
So while you can just ignore a faceless person on the internet, it doesn’t work when you share a room with an angry teammate.
Why exactly should the club stay? There is very little redeeming academic value to it, so what’s the point? One of the more dedicated members, Wiatt Filter, did not feel this way at all.
“…having a club purely for enjoyment isn’t useless or unnecessary, instead I think it helps us meet new people while doing something we like.” Said Filter.
As far as I can tell, he’s right. People who would have never met before have become great friends by partaking in the same after-school activity. Sounds familiar to other clubs already, which could definitely mean a step in the right direction.