Last summer, the Overwatch League (OWL) finished its inaugural season and crowned the London Spitfire as its first champions. My favorite team, the Los Angeles Valiant, fell to the Spitfire in the semi-finals but still had an incredible first season. They were Stage 4 Champions, Pacific Division Champions, and finished second overall in the league behind the New York Excelsior. During the off-season, when the official OWL streams ended and teams went on break, I realized how much I missed seeing the Valiant play on stage. Off-season events like the California Cup co-hosted with the San Francisco Shock helped fans from both teams deal with the lull, and individual players streaming on Twitch helped to bridge the gap, too. As Season 2 approached, there was a palpable feeling of excitement among OWL fans, me included. I was so hyped to see the Valiant back in action. Having been a fan since the roster reveal, I’ve witnessed some rough patches. Stage 2 was not a particularly good time for us, but the team fought back after making some big trades and coaching changes. They ended Season 1 strongly.
Expectations were high for Season 2, and then… the Valiant hit the roughest patch in the team’s young history. They went 0-7 in Stage 1. There were lots of memes and mean-spirited comments being tossed around. I did my best to send positive tweets to the players and help uplift fellow fans. Little things, really, but maybe it helped someway, somehow. During this stage, I came to the realization that my loyalty to this team would remain steadfast, no matter what happened. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why. How did this happen? I’ve never felt this way about any other teams I’ve been a fan of: the LA Lakers, the 1990’s Chicago Bulls, even my alma mater, the UCLA Bruins. And yet, here I was, feeling every one of those 7 defeats like a sucker punch to the soul. So again, I asked, why? What makes the Valiant so special?
Tonight is Halloween. The veil between the human and spirit worlds grows thin, allowing all sorts of mischief and mayhem to crossover. Many of us revel in the one day out of the year where scary things are accepted, celebrated, and allowed to roam the streets looking to score a king-sized Snickers bar. As a kid, I loved joining the colorful processions passing through the neighborhood. I’d laugh nervously at the screams coming from “haunted houses,” while anticipating my own shriek when a vampire would pop out from a coffin, or a zombie would reach out and grab my leg. Now as an adult, I prefer more subdued Halloween celebrations. I won’t be frolicking outside in the cold weather amongst the hobgoblins. Instead, I’m going to turn out the lights, burrow in the covers, and play some video games… scary video games! Here are five of my favorite horror games, perfect for a screaming good time on All Hallows’ Eve: (more…)
My current obsession with the video game, Overwatch, has been officially documented in a previous blog post. Everyone in my life, from parents to co-workers, cousins to friends, knows that I’m a fan. There’s been one unexpected side effect from my new fandom: the desire to watch others play the game. Yes, I love playing Overwatch — despite how frustrating it can be — but I’ve discovered that this game is just as entertaining to watch as it is to play. (more…)
When Overwatch was released in May of 2016, there was a lot of hype. Blizzard is an established icon in the gaming industry, and this was their first foray into the team-based shooter genre. I was a fan of the original Diablo and Starcraft. However, I hadn’t really kept up with Blizzard’s more recent offerings. I shrugged off Overwatch for a year until I saw the game for sale at Target and decided to buy it on a whim. I knew nothing about the game: the lore, the characters, the different maps, even the gameplay. I had previously read that it was some sort of FPS-MOBA hybrid (FPS = first person shooter, MOBA = multiplayer online battle arena), which piqued my interest. When I first entered the tutorial, I met the character of Tracer. She’s the cover girl and Overwatch’s representative in almost every medium and even had a cameo in the movie, Ready Player One. Her plucky personality immediately drew me in. For the next ten minutes, I learned the bare essentials of how to play the game. Little did I know that those ten minutes would lead into almost a year of play and a whole new fandom to obsess over. (more…)