One might not think of a video game as a setting to observe the best of human behavior. In the case of League, there is a great deal of conversation about the less-than-exemplary behavior of certain gamers, conversations that I have actively participated in, for I like many have had to endure the asinine and over-the-top raging of fellow gamers who, by their toxic behavior, suck every last ounce of fun out of the experience and make it all about how angry they are at everyone else.
But there are times when the game does, in my opinion, bring out the best. The picture I will attempt to paint is without a doubt one that you, if you game at all, have experienced more than once. I know that I have. And it always makes me smile – outwardly and inwardly – for it is so simple and yet equally profound. It represents some of the very best of all of us, albeit small in scale and meaning.
You’re in game. The battle suddenly gets heated. Shots and spells explode around you, and you realize you must flee or die. You start to run, barely hanging on with a sliver of a health bar. You run, you dodge, you cut one way then another, you move, dash, flash, whatever you can to try to stay alive, but you see Ashe’s arrow or Sivir’s boomerang or Teemo’s poison dart or whatever manner of your imminent death coming towards you.
In that moment, time slows. You see it coming. You know you are going to die.
But your teammate has been running with you, flinging spells and attacks back at the pursuing enemy, and just before the very last of your health is ripped from you, he or she steps in front of the missive of death, taking the damage for you. You both live to fight on, and the game continues, the small moment of perfection quickly passing except for a speedily typed “ty.”
It is a beautiful, beautiful thing.