More than Just a Video Game

27 Feb

Michael Ty SA21-U

For a long time now, my friends have been urging me to play this new game called DOTA 2 (Defense of The Ancients) which is apparently the latest pc game everyone’s busy playing. Last week I found myself spectating their video gaming session for this project. My friend Rex, invited some of his friends and had their session in “Blue Skies” Katipunan that pc gaming corner near KFC which is where a lot of Ateneans usually play.

So they entered what pretty much seemed like their second home while I still took a while to take everything in.  The place can pass as a drug den (seriously, I really think that they sell), poorly lighted, cracked walls, cheap chairs the odd and funky smell of cigarettes mixed with body odor but hey, if you’re a guy who is just looking to have a good game with your friends then it would probably pass. They found a table where the five of them can sit next to each other; I just stood back behind them with my cellphone ready to take down observations.

To make sure that you and I are on the exact same page, let me give you a brief description of what DOTA 2 is. It’s a multiplayer online battle arena real-time strategy game with 2 teams divided into factions called The Radiant and The Dire with five members each. The point of the game is to destroy the enemy’s main tower by slowly advancing to its location. Each team member controls one out of ninety-six playable hero each with their own unique skill. Heroes gain levels and gold by killing creeps that spawn every thirty seconds which they can use to purchase items to allow them to have a significant boost. What makes this game so addicting are the battles among the heroes of the different factions. Your goal is to kill the opposing heroes as much as you can to gain a significant gold and level advantage which will then make destroying the towers relatively easy.

Before the actual game, the group was already talking about the heroes that they’re going to use as to fix the “line-up” and “combo” possibilities. I later found out that not all heroes are created equal. Each hero has their own distinct role that can directly affect the outcome of the entire game. You have the Lane Support- heroes who help their team’s “Carry” (Carry is another role) to control the lane in the early stages of the game. Carries are heroes who are easily killed at the early stages of the game but then obtain the greatest power and utility in the end.  Disablers are heroes who are in charge of crowd control. Gankers are heroes who can deal immense damage early in the game. There are more roles but the ones above are the most common ones.

Their online opponents were a group of Singaporeans. What’s interesting is when the group found out that their opponents were Singaporeans and not Filipinos, the team leader told everyone to be on their toes due to the impression that whenever you play this game against one, you will lose. So Rex, my friend decided that he would choose a ganker and the team ended up having two supports, one carry and one disabler while their opponents had two carriers, two supports and one ganker.  After picking the heroes, they soon bought their items which seemed like they already knew by heart.

So my friend Rex was assigned to handle the “middle lane” thus told me to watch carefully as he’s confident that he would kill the enemy first which he did. Then team had the upper hand during the early game as the team had a good hero kill to death ratio. However because the opponent’s two carries got to “farm” (amass gold and levels) mid-game wasn’t so smooth sailing. Late game proved to be the most difficult as the two teams were so even and the tides could change at an instant. Because of good team coordination, add to the fact that they were seated next to each other, Rex’s team won.

They say boys share a common interest which video gaming but I wasn’t really fond of it ever since I was a child. I was more of a kid who would watch TV and play with my neighbors outside rather than sitting for countless hours playing hardcore video games. I dunno maybe I didn’t find them appealing or maybe I just didn’t give it a chance. What’s interesting is when I was spectating, it seems like boys share the common language: video games, because at that very moment, I felt thrill and excitement as the hero kills were happening. I found myself shouting and laughing at times whenever an opponent dies.

During the intense gaming session I asked them how they usually play and they answered “chill lang” or “basta to have fun lang” but it seems like my presence had influenced them in a way. When they found out that I would be watching them, it’s as if they suddenly shifted to a more focused style of gaming. You could see their faces just inches away from the monitor and their hands were all ready to press the hotkeys.

                The highlight of the day would probably all the trash talking that happened. When the Singaporeans gained the upper hand, they started calling Rex’s team noobs. Eventually one thing led to another and things escalated quickly. Pretty soon, the opponents started making racist remarks like how Filipinos eat dogs, made fun of their skin tone, uneducated. My friend fought back and some of the Chinese remarks were kinda funny because I’m pure Chinese and couple of Rex’s teammates are too. They called the Singaporeans chinky eyed people with small penises. Of course things were awkward at first but we all had a good laugh about it. I even told them to type the “ching chong” phrase. I do apologize if my friends and I joined that racial squabble but the idea of comeback that would internally scar someone proved too good of an opportunity to pass. We knew how a racist Chinese remark would feel since we experience them from time to time be it the slightest joke, but the online veil reassured us that these Singaporeans will never find out that we too were Chinese.


Right now I can honestly tell you that I’m kissing my hopes of becoming DL goodbye since I got hooked right after observing them. I’m currently installing DOTA 2 in my PC and I can tell you that it’s starting to affect my priorities; if only I had better self-control. At the end of the day however, this potential addiction I think reveals a salient truth: experience entails discernment. If we personally experience a culture, then we might identify with it or maybe even make it part of our own.

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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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