I played a wide range of video games on various consoles, but the one that hooked me the most was “League of Legends,” a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena computer game. Since its release in 2009, it has grown to be one of the most popular games in the world, counting over 100 million players! Given that I sank pretty much all of my free time (and a decent chunk of the time I was supposed to be at school) into it, I actually became a relatively good player. Around the time I started high school, I entered the game’s competitive scene.
These days, the so-called League of Legends eSports scene is a multi-million dollar industry, with some of the best players making seven figures through a combination of salaries, prize money, and streaming & brand partnership revenue. Needless to say, I was pretty far from that level of gameplay, but in my “best years,” (okay grandpa) I fought my way into the top 1000 among millions of European players. Also, fortunately, the competitive scene in Switzerland and its neighboring countries was a lot less tough than the international one. Thanks to this, my team and I (LoL is played in teams of five) were able to win many of the local tournaments for multiple years in a row. I should note that I was arguably the worst player on the team – if you’re an old teammate of mine and reading this, thanks for carrying me!
That last part is what enables me to tell myself that all the hours of gaming were at least somewhat worth it – I pretty much never had to spend any money on new computer gear because the tournament sponsors were usually companies like Logitech, and they loved handing out mice, keyboards, cameras, and the like in addition to cash prizes. More importantly though, I had the best time traveling to a bunch of tournament venues across Switzerland and foreign countries. My absolute highlight was earning a spot on the League of Legends team representing Switzerland at the 2017 IeSF eSports World Championship in Busan, South Korea! We reached 5th to 8th place, which one might think is a good result; in reality, we got absolutely crushed by the teams in the top 4 (South Korea, China, Israel, and Serbia). I still had a ton of fun though :)