As dawn approaches, junior Yash Sehgal is locked in battle. Devoid of all human contact, he sits in front of his computer, entranced. His eyes are zoned on the computer monitor, his hands engaging in a rapid motion. He focuses intently on his activity, not realizing his surroundings. Suddenly he hangs his head in shame as the bolded word ‘Defeat’ appears across the screen.
Sehgal, taking a break from his game, goes on AOL Instant Messenger to talk to his friends.
“Anytime someone tries to talk to me, usually on AIM, I would answer ‘I’m busy right now’ and continue playing League [of Legends]. I come back like 40 minutes later to find out they’re gone,” Sehgal said. “Every game is about 40 to 45 [minutes, which] cuts into a lot of time. Once you play one game, it’s really addicting so you want to play another, so that’s two hours a day, daily.”
League of Legends (LoL) is an online game based on DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) a side-game that originated from Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft. Designers of DOTA maps collaborated and created LoL back in 2009. It pits a group of players against another group in a nerve-wracking competition of critical positioning and intense development of each player’s champion (the character controlled by the player in-game); only one team can claim victory.
“The game is straight up player versus player; you actually go against other people and as you get better, they also get better, which makes the game very competitive,” junior Quoc Nguyen said.
As competitive as League of Legends may be, junior Julie Ho plays LoL for a different, non-competitive reason.
“There was a point where [my boyfriend] constantly played games and I felt that he was spending too much time on games and not enough time with me. So I gave LoL a shot and really liked it,” Ho said. ” [LoL] creates a topic for us to bond and talk about. It’s also something for us to do when we’re bored.”
One match of League lasts from 30 minutes to an hour and requires the full attention of a player. A minor mistake or slip-up could mean losing the entire match, so checking Facebook or going on a restroom break is never an option during a LoL match.
“I play League of Legends so much that I literally have no time to talk to my friends or hang out with any of them,” junior Jason Pham said. “My day consists of going home, play [until] six and then just start doing homework. I just don’t have time to hang out with people.”
Students who play the game daily usually make changes to their schedules, whether reducing the time they spent on homework or sleeping, all in an effort to play more.
“I just basically push everything back,” junior Travis Dinh said. “It’s not a great thing to do; I don’t have free time for it, it’s just I would just have to make up my homework time by taking away from my sleeping time.”
For LoL players like Sehgal, getting the recommended hours of sleep is the last thing on his mind.
“I go to sleep around 1:30 which is pretty late, but I have time to do everything; finish homework, play games, talk with friends,” Sehgal said. “I even watch a movie.”
Ho breaks the stereotypical image of playing games being a guy’s thing and suggests other girls who have a boyfriend that play spend too much time gaming approach that problem in a different way.
Girls should “play the game that their boyfriend is playing a try,” she said. “If they don’t like it then find a game they both like.”