I went to the apex legends global series
Hello from bed. I have that scary Monday overwhelming to-do list feeling so I am procrastinating for ten minutes by writing this:
My addiction to Apex Legends broke a few months ago, like the end of a year long fever. I had a good, dramatic, social, albeit worryingly dependent time with that game. It’s fun. I will always love that it was there for me when I was too sick to go outside — my inability to do normal worldly things alleviated by my ability to rank up to Diamond that one time, and to do so as Mirage. I really cherish that? And I still believe every word of my 2022 review, that the way this particular battle royale is formulated can generate some incredibly engaging stories that cycle through genres that exceed expectations.
I’m now at a point with the game where I enjoy watching people play it competitively more than I enjoy playing it myself. I am going outside more; I am working more too. The distance between me and Mirage feels good, when this time last year I didn’t want to do anything except play decoy boy. I don’t even have the game installed at the moment because I’ve had to make room for other titles to review. But even with this distance, I still watch streamers play it. It’s a nice way to spend time with the game without losing my mind or just absolutely choking myself with the comfort blanket of it all. I like watching tournaments most of all because that drama the game can generate, the drama I wrote about last year — it gets drawn outside of the game’s world, totally solidified, and now there’s money on the line, reputation, ego, sponsorships, and actual jobs. The pro tournament format raises the stakes and kind of terrifies me, the way it messes with these boy’s heads, but it does so in a way that makes for good sport.
And sooo, when it was announced Apex’s next LAN was happening in London, I got tickets. LAN stands for local area network, and it’s kinda interesting because online tournaments of international games like Apex rely on good servers and internet connections so that the game functions smoothly and fairly. If everyone just flies to one place and plays the game on the same network in one room — if 20 teams of 3 all sit on stage together and I come and watch them — then we can really see who’s the best. Plus, the fans can come see, and the company running the tourney can capitalise on that fan engagement. (I bought a £25 branded Apex canteen bottle, I was so taken by it all). (I also bought a £5 Apex shirt off Vinted a month before the event so that I could go in costume, and then realised on the day that I could wear it as a dress, so I was going at it with scissors before I left the house). (The merch stand at the event had shiny Black puffer jackets with the Apex logo on them. If you had shown me those jackets a year ago…).
I’ve watched LAN streams before but when you watch Apex tournaments online, there is a nifty Twitch feature called Command Centre that allows viewers to focus in on a single team’s perspective. Casters speak at a million words an hour to try to convey all 20 teams activities at once but I’ve always gone for the single POV at home. The team I love the most, Furia, didn’t qualify for LAN and I turned up not knowing who to support. Then I got so excited seeing other fans with jerseys on that I had this quick moment of thinking ‘oh no, I want everyone to win.’ Unfortunately, it was TSM. I just really want Hal to calm down.
It was bizarre seeing people I’ve watched online playing a game on stage in front of me. Because it’s not like they’re doing a song or dance, they are literally just sitting at a computer like we see them do at home. Weird illusion. Can’t even see their hands. Mostly you just see the tops of their heads popping over the monitors. Weirder still that Chat is now a real audience of chanting men sat beside me. And I didn’t hate it. I went with friends and there was one fan at the very end of our row sat on his own all day. He didn’t get up once in four and a half hours for food or drink or the toilet. My friend said that when TSM won, he took a signed TSM jersey out of his bag and wiped his tears with it. I love that? I don’t know. It’s strange. I know lots of people just enjoy the game in a normal way but after my journey with it, I was sitting there imagining a lot of the audience had gone through bad life things and Apex was also their crutch for a while. Good for us for making it to LAN and buying £25 water bottles to celebrate the game we all love. Good sport. Good players. Good prizes. One million dollars was split between the top ten teams. God, I was so overstimulated by the room and the constantly swinging spotlights, I kept wanting to just close my eyes and stop talking, but I was having the best time. Like, you know after a break-up, maybe a few months down the line you meet up for a coffee and you’re happy things are going well for the other person? They’re happy for you as well? It felt like a healthy way to meet. A good resolution. Ridiculous water bottle as relationship memento. An heirloom if you will.