Lion of the Blogosphere

Charles Murray and League of Legends

I think that this quote from a recent Slate article is interesting:

League of Legends boasts 67 million active monthly players. Broadcasts of its professional title matches draw more global eyeballs than an NBA Finals game. While this year’s event was held in South Korea, and South Koreans make up a healthy chunk of the game’s fan base, a sellout crowd also watched last year’s championship at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. And yet, I could only find one Slate employee who’d ever played LoL before last week. Many among us had no idea what League of Legends even was, beyond a vague sense that it must be some sort of fantasy dealie.

This is a reminder that there are many different subcultures in the United States, and some subcultures have no idea what other subcultures are up to. Here we have the most popular online game, yet most people at Slate, as well as most of my readers, have not even heard of it.

I too never heard of League of Legends until I accidentally discovered Hearthstone (because it was a free download to my iPad), and then I discovered Hearthstone streams at Twitch.tv, and noticed that there was one game that was several times as popular as Hearthstone, and that was this League of Legends game.

One of Charles Murray’s obsessions is that SWPL/bobo types don’t know anything about prole, rural, or Midwestern culture, and because of this they are missing out on some important knowledge, But I bet that Murray has also never heard of or played League of Legends, so he is also missing out on something that’s a major pastime for tens of millions of people around the globe. Is Murray a hypocrite for not taking the time to learn about gaming culture the way I have?

Regarding the game, it took a long time to download to my MacBook Air (because I am away from my desktop PC), and then I was surprised that it ran just fine even though the Air has low-end integrated graphics. Obviously one of the keys to this game’s popularity is that it doesn’t require a jacked up gaming computer in order to play, it runs just fine on any decent laptop, and it even runs on Mac while most games only run on PC. Availability is a key component to a game being as successful as League of Legends. Games that only run on high-end computers with expensive graphics cards are preventing 95% of the potential players from being able to play the game.

And how was the game? I played the tutorial, and can’t really say that I found it interesting enough to want to play more. I think the tutorial isn’t that good. Hearthstone really nailed the tutorial. The League of Legends tutorial ends and then leaves you wondering what you’re supposed to do next.

One of my problems is that I am getting old. Old people just lack the enthusiasm, the desire to learn new things, and the sense of wonder that young people have which allows them to enjoy gaming a lot more. Most old people no doubt think this is a positive thing because they probably feel that playing computer games is a big waste of time. I suppose I have to agree that playing computer games is a distraction from more important things like getting good grades in school, building a career, dating, marriage, raising children, etc., the things that people ought to be doing with their lives instead of playing computer games.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 27, 2014 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

58 Responses

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  1. I was under the assumption you were ~ 40 years old?

    My father, in his late 60’s and early 70’s, was able to take up multiple MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft, and level many different characters to maximum level.

    It’s probably a personality thing…some people take to gaming and others simply don’t, with age only making those originally frustrated with games even more so. I wouldn’t say you are an old fogey, just that your energy is focused differently.

    jjbees

    November 27, 2014 at EDT pm

  2. Gaming culture types are current in a knock down, drag out fight with SWPL/bobos after the later descended on them to impose their PC values. AKA gamergate

    alex

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

    • *currently

      alex

      November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  3. Funny, I thought of that earlier today when I received, via email, a compilation of tweets (on Twitter) that I guess the company imagines I will like because I have SWPL friends and they liked it.

    “Actually, it’s about ethics in video game journalism.” – some awful nerd at dinner tonight. ” Jake Fogelnest @jakefogelnest

    Apparently, this Jake Fogelnest is some kind of Hollywood type. Here’s his twitter page https://twitter.com/jakefogelnest/status/538012730796814336.

    Anyway, I hadn’t heard of Gamergate until you posted on it last week and its denizens are already on the receiving end of fourth tier Hollywood snark.

    Curle

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  4. I did a quick search of what League of Legends was, and I came up with this description:

    “League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game”

    Now I am getting old, and between raising a toddler and taking care of sick parents I don’t have time to take on a new hobby. This is how old people stop being interested in learning new things.

    On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I would not have been interested in a multiplayer online battle arena video game at any age.

    Ed

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  5. Never heard of LoL and don’t care because it’s meaningless. I suppose SWPL/bobo types don’t know anything about prole, rural, or Midwestern culture because they find it meaningless as well. SWPL/bobo find it so because it doesn’t impact them in the short term. IMO, their bubble has left them sheltered and ecologically naive.

    destructure

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  6. I used to think video/computer games were something you outgrew like GI Joe action figures or whatever, and that may have been true in the 80’s and 90’s , but not anymore with the the rise of modern video games of great complexity that mimic real life.

    grey enlightenment

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  7. ” Old people just lack the enthusiasm, the desire to learn new things, and the sense of wonder that young people have which allows them to enjoy gaming a lot more.”

    Not entirely true. Older people realize that time is a limited finite quantity. I have plenty of desire to learn new things – how to play piano, better investment strategies, how to be a better public speaker, Mandarin, how to operate a drone, etc. and if I waste months of my life playing LoL I will probably never learn any of those things.

    Peter Akuleyev

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  8. I’m not SWPL, but this post is the first I’ve heard of “League of Legends.” The last video game I played was Pac Man in 1980 at an arcade.

    E. Rekshun

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  9. One of Charles Murray’s obsessions is that SWPL/bobo types don’t know anything about prole, rural, or Midwestern culture, and because of this they are missing out on some important knowledge, But I bet that Murray has also never heard of or played League of Legends, so he is also missing out on something that’s a major pastime for tens of millions of people around the globe. Is Murray a hypocrite for not taking the time to learn about gaming culture the way I have?

    Is all this really prole, rural or Midwestern? Doesn’t seem like it to me.

    More likely Asian, Universal Nerd, White social defects, whatever but not in anyway particularly prole, rural or Midwestern.

    Check out this guy’s youtube channel where he visits all sorts of subcultures particularly nerd/geek/dork/weirdo conventions.

    Joe Goes (BadgeofShame)

    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfR7gRIYmZbGjhhrRJCwpmw

    Look at the people in the background of the shots as well. They are all poorly built, misshapen, poorly dressed, ugly people.

    Rifleman

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

    • “Look at the people in the background of the shots as well. They are all poorly built, misshapen, poorly dressed, ugly people.”

      Mean-spirited comment that should be deleted.

      Alex

      November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

      • Is there a rule against mean spirited? Some of the best essayists, artists, etc. were overtly mean-spirited, including Paul Fussell.

        Curle

        November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

    • Look at the people in the background of the shots as well. They are all poorly built, misshapen, poorly dressed, ugly people.

      That’s more true of the guys than the women. You’d expect gamers, scifi and comic con people to look dorkier than bodybuilders and fashionistas because that’s not their interest. There’s nothing physically wrong with most of them that a gym membership and “queer eye for the straight guy” couldn’t fix. Plenty of dorky girls do geeky cons but plenty of attractive ones do as well.

      My wife is part of a small “star trek group” who meet every couple of months to watch scifi videos. The core group were friends before this so it’s mostly an opportunity for them to get together. I see them every few months when my wife hosts the star trek group. Otherwise, I don’t go. I like scifi but, like I said, it’s mostly women my wife is friends with. That’s no place for a husband. I take the kids hunting or sailing instead.

      destructure

      November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

    • Rifleman’s link, at 2:55, features a 2012 Republican Election Day party. It appears to be East Coast (NJ?) as there are a lot of Italian and Jewish looking people.

      My question is– what social niche would the attractive ladies at 3:10 be categorized as?

      In flyover country, I’d say they’re probably sorority girls. That girl effortlessly and reflexively rebuffs the interviewers attempt at shock-humor. Reading this blog, one gets the impression these types are an endangered species in the entirety of the NE. Or is the homogeneous SWPLization limited to Upper West Side and Williamsburg?

      anon

      November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

      • “That girl effortlessly and reflexively rebuffs the interviewers attempt at shock-humor.” ———————— If she’s at a Republican convention she’s most likely to be an activist (yes, there are attractive female Republican activists) or the daughter of a party official/elected official. The attractive activists Republican women of this age group tend not to be sorority girls but clever academic types who are attuned to the inherent errors of Leftism. Some trend religious to varying degrees, but not all. I don’t know this gal’s background, but she is consistent with the type, no-nonsense and very unimpressed with Lefty cheap shots of the kind this guy hoped to deliver. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOYcopJ0yDY

        Curle

        November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

      • “yes, there are attractive female Republican activists”

        Let’s make that “female Republican activists tend to be attractive”; as a rule, conservative women are considerably more attractive than liberal women.

        J1

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

  10. “Is Murray a hypocrite for not taking the time to learn about gaming culture the way I have?”

    Maybe he runs Linux.

    aandrews

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  11. I’m a nerd and computer programmer. I’ve been playing league of legends for two years and I follow the e-sports scene. Watching e-sports finally taught me what it’s like to enjoy watching sports, to have a favorite team, to be upset by a sports game, etc. I never really understand sports fans until I started watching e-sports.

    brave

    November 28, 2014 at EDT am

  12. Older guys seem more likely to be board game players. I ask the young guys in my office who play computer games if they ever play chess and few of them do. That was very popular in my junior high school forty years ago with all the more nerdy kids joining the chess club. I still know lots of older guys who play it. I play a Japanese board game called Go on the internet at the local library sometimes. No one younger has every commented on me playing it but every so often I’ll have an older Asian guy walk by and get a surprised look on his face and ask me if that is Go I’m playing. The old Asian guys can recognize Go but the young Asian guys can’t so they must not be playing their traditional board games either.

    Mark

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

    • I learned how to play chess in 1st grade and liked playing with other kids for a few years. Once I got my first PC that had the free chess game built in, I found playing human players too boring.

      I could set the PC chess at a level where I’d win about 60% of the time, and never have to wait for someone to take a turn. Real players are often much worse or better than you, and can take too long to make a move.

      Lot

      November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

      • “I could set the PC chess at a level where I’d win about 60% of the time, ”

        Not really the sporting type then, eh?

        Dome_Town

        November 29, 2014 at EDT am

    • A lot of top professional chess grandmasters (like Nakamura and Tiger Hillarp Person) also dabble in Go.

      AFAIK, the top Go players in the world can still beat any computer program in Go. In contrast, the top chess computer programs can now crush even the world’s top 5 chess players with ease by using their superior power of calculation.

      Camlost

      November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

    • From what I’ve seen, you are completely right about the younger Asian generation no longer playing go. I started playing in college after years of playing chess, and I have yet to find a person to play with in real life aside from the person who taught me to play. This is especially surprising since the company I work at hires a large number of Chinese immigrants as software engineers, and I’ve yet to meet one who even knows the rules.

      cen

      November 29, 2014 at EDT am

  13. Lion, do you think you would be happier if you had gotten on a better career track, gotten married, or had children?

    vic85

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

  14. I agree that “gaming” is a cultural scourge, a pandemic.

    Dome_Town

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

  15. yet one more example of how the chinaman will always be the whiteman’s slave.

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

  16. whites dominate the first person shooter games and the REAL video games (that is the old ones).

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

    • Asians dominate whites in league of legends and starcraft.

      brave

      November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

      • I can believe that.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 29, 2014 at EDT am

      • Although whites made LoL and Starcraft.

        I wonder what this all means…

        I imagine asians have better reaction times, for one. Whites being more creative/entrepreneurial gets thrown around a lot, too…

        jjbees

        November 29, 2014 at EDT am

      • It must mean that LoL is culturally biased against whites. We need perpetual affirmative action to make sure whites are represented so that we can all enjoy a vibrant, diverse community in LoL.

        BehindTheLines

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

      • “I imagine asians have better reaction times, for one”

        Nope, the best gamers prefer high intensity action games like shmups/first person shooters, see : Beat hazard, Ikaruga, dodonpachi, Serious sam, Doom 2, quake 3, UT2004, etc.

        First person shooters require crazy reaction time and huge amounts of situational awareness because it is so dependent on visual processing speed (picking out targets in noisy environments from all sorts of difficult distances).

        All Starcraft and league of legends require is repetition, not only that, these games are CASUAL games they are looked down upon by white core gamers. Starcraft 1 when it released had a bad interface that needed to be fixed, the RTS interface is just poor, mastering a bad interface doesn’t make you an awesome gamer. It makes you retarded.

        FPS games and shmups have good interfaces, RTS games by and large don’t. They are sloppy affairs. RTS is really just about managing a steady stream of auto produced units, supreme commander 1 is basically where RTS should have gone.

        I know because I speak as one of the top gamers.

        sup5222

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

      • White societies were and always more creative and vibrant than Asian ones. Europeans have surpassed Asians at least by a tenfold, in artistic and literary achievements. This being said, Asians secretly harbor inferiority issues and want to be White.

        JS

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

  17. Lion, so now you want the government to pay unemployable people to play LoL all day?

    Camlost

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

  18. i’m with the jocks.

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

  19. Off topic, but that Katy Perry video you liked? They changed it because Muslims were offended. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=eg8Yn1MTqXk

    GMR

    November 28, 2014 at EDT pm

  20. Look, when I was a kid I played some StarCraft and CounterStrike. But when I became an adult, I put away childish things. The grown-ass men who play LoL (both League of Legends and World of Warcraft) are not exactly the most alpha of the males. In modern Chinese culture being sporty/popular and being smart are popularly seen as correlated, and being addicted to games means you’re socially retarded and have a lukewarm IQ.

    I have a strong feeling that the rise of gaming and “subcultures” is more correlated with the rise in unemployment than anything else. Punk rock was also a response to high unemployment in England in the ’70s and ’80s, same with rap in NYC during recessionary periods.

    Miss Minnie

    November 29, 2014 at EDT am

    • Punk was also a reaction to execrable glam nonsense like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxfSlIS55mk&list=RDXxfSlIS55mk#t=0.

      Curle

      November 29, 2014 at EDT am

      • LOLOL Isn’t Gary Glitter a child molestor lmfao.

        Miss Minnie

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

    • BTW – Your comment provokes a question for Lion; why all the discussion of gaming and tech. subcultures and virtually none about literature, history, film, arts or music subcultures? It is pretty obvious from comments to this site that there are denizens of those subcultures lurking here, but reading this site you’d think the only interests of high IQ types were games, cameras and science fiction.

      Curle

      November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

      • Because literature etc. is already adored by the mainstream media so there isn’t much I can add?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

      • “Because literature etc. is already adored by the mainstream media so there isn’t much I can add?” —————– Really?

        I’ve always been frustrated: 1) by the absence of good conservative arts reporting and commenting (aside from the occasional tome by folks like Harold Bloom); and 2) the supposition, thereby, from conservatives that arts is a Lefty thing. Sure, Takismag and Sailer occasionally dip into the arts, as does The American Conservative, but for the most part the field is left to the Lefties, even though many of our greatest artists were overt or occasional conservatives and have been turned into pseudo-lefties retroactively by the dominance of Lefties in arts reporting/commenting/criticism. Example: Shakespeare.

        Curle

        November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

    • “The grown-ass men who play LoL”

      xkcd?

      Toad

      November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

  21. I discovered LoL in 2010 and played about 260 matches of it — which is quite the investment in time considering each match takes an average of 30 minutes (my guess, too lazy to google.) Anyway, the appeal of the game is that it sort of condenses the RPG experience into a 25 to 50 minute experience in a harsh zero-sum environment. All ten players (teams of 5v5) start out equally frail, and it is through the choice of appropriate charactesr and roles, skill, awareness, dexterity, etc, that one team will triumph over the other. There is no guaranteed reward — your team is as guaranteed to lose as it is to win. The thing about the game is that the process of being on the losing side in the traditional mode is grueling and painful, and the process of winning, especially when you’re contributing to your team’s victory, provides quite the high. Combine this with a social factor — i.e, groups of five people who know each other forming teams and playing together in pre-made teams either in a LAN party or over the web — and you got the basis for addictive gameplay.

    Lion, one interesting thing about these type of games is how they bring together over the web people of differing cultures. I do know that Russian and Brazilian players in these type of games are somewhat derided.

    The game is apparently owned by a Chinese holding company and it’s super profitable.

    Gurney Halleck

    November 29, 2014 at EDT am

  22. Is there a reason you don’t have a search option on this blog? Or is it so cleverly hidden that I just can’t find it?

    cliff arroyo

    November 29, 2014 at EDT am

  23. The New Yorker recently had a good article on game culture, if anyone cares to read it.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/24/good-game

    peterike2

    November 29, 2014 at EDT am

  24. “Murray’s obsessions is that SWPL/bobo types don’t know anything about prole, rural, or Midwestern culture, and because of this they are missing out on some important knowledge, ”

    He grew up in a small Midwest industrial town so he is sentimental about that lifestyle. Those type of towns have been been devastated by NAFTA and trade with China so I don’t see the value of young people learning that culture since the economic opportunities there are poor. Young people have better options in the big coastal metro areas where bobo culture is dominant.

    Mercer

    November 29, 2014 at EDT pm

  25. I think a lot of this is a generational divide trying to mask itself as a class/moral divide. If you were an adult in the 1980s and 90s then the only people you knew who played video games were children, because at the time the industry (at least in America) believed the technology could be best marketed as a childrens’ toy. That’s not the case today, but I think a lot of boomer perceptions are frozen in that perspective, the perspective of their first awareness of video games,

    Frankie

    November 30, 2014 at EDT pm

    • I also think the boomers had certain notions of adulthood driven into them by their parents and grand-parents that are less present today: 1) that you left home by 18; 2) that you became self-supporting as soon as possible; 3) that you engaged in difficult things just to prove you were a man (for men only); 4) that achievement came with struggle; 5) that it was vital that you mature as soon as possible; 6) that work was its own reward. Few people had helicopter parents and if some had peanut allergies you didn’t hear about it. The high school honor society was a very, very small fraction of the class. People were expected to perform to earn a place in the hierarchy and nobody received participation awards. Awards in general were handed out sparingly. Little time was spent time obsessing over feelings nor did people disclaim in public feelings of inadequacy. Women were considered the weaker sex and gays were a joke. Men who played non-physical games into adulthood were suspected of being queers or asexual. Real men were expected to have a high sex drive a strong work ethic and to be able to hold their liquor.

      The boomers, compared to their parents and grand-parents, were considered to have lived easy sheltered lives. Most grew up hearing tales of the depression from their parents and tales of WWI from grand-parents.

      Curle

      December 1, 2014 at EDT am

      • I don’t think that playing chess was considered gay. Men also did other non-physical activities like tinkering with cars or ham radios etc, also not considered gay. Back then, no one was considered gay because of their hobbies.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 1, 2014 at EDT am

      • I didn’t say hobbies, I said games. I stand by the characterization. Board games, jigsaw puzzles, parcheesi, were considered women’s activities, at the very least, bordering on asexual. There was a stronger association then between manliness, aggression and purposeful activity. Wrenching on cars or even building computers is a purposeful activity. Playing board games was always for passive types which in those days was thought to correlate greatly with asexuality (e.g., Nerd movies).

        Curle

        December 1, 2014 at EDT am

      • Chess has been a popular male hobby for more than a hundred years.

        There have been few other boardgames to play besides chess until Avalon Hill starting making wargames, which I think took off in the 1960s (before I was born), but was a niche hobby compared to chess.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 1, 2014 at EDT am

  26. I think a lot of this is a generational divide trying to mask itself as a class/moral divide.

    If you were an adult in the 1980s and 90s then the only people you knew who played video games were children, because at the time the industry (at least in America) believed the technology could be best marketed as a childrens’ toy. That’s not the case today, but I think a lot of boomer perceptions are frozen in that perspective, the perspective of their first awareness of video games, which was something for kids. This makes them quick to dismiss video games as something inherently immature or juvenile.

    As a man in his 20s, I feel the same way about a lot of things Murray would probably consider a lot more respectable, like chess or adventure novels or old MGM movies like “Anthony and Cleopatra.” The only people who professed interest in such things when I was growing up were adults, so today I associate them with being square and uncool.

    Frankie

    November 30, 2014 at EDT pm

    • Is chess dying out? I am genuinely curious to know. The card game bridge is almost dead.

      BehindTheLines

      December 1, 2014 at EDT am

      • Chess has to compete against a lot of other games, both online/computer games as well as a new generation of boardgames. Plus now that a computer can beat you every time, people are turning to games that are more human-oriented.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 1, 2014 at EDT am


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