Mistakes Were Made: Chapters 0-3
Thousands Root for Favorite Failures at Packed Stadium
– October 1, 2016
Yesterday, thousands upon thousands of eSports fanatics found themselves at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship at Cologne, Germany’s WASD Stadium. Fans cheered on as the best European team assisted Korea in winning yet another world championship.
“We’re ecstatic and truly humbled to see such a positive turnout,” commented Riot Games’ Dustin “Redbeard” Beck, “and we’re ready to see Korea win by default once again because genetics, bro.”
Sources suggest that while these players have now been competing for years and for hundreds of thousands of dollars, some parents still disagree with the path their children have taken.
“I am disappointed that my son has taken to playing video games for a living,” said the father of Zealt’s Matthew “Rinns” Larsson. “We raised him on the values and traditions that have worked for years, but his decision to stray is upsetting. I guess our parenting just wasn’t good enough and now we have to deal with our little failure.”
Rumors have surfaced that at the Analyst Desk, OGN caster Duncan “Odysseus” Mykles collected the tears of Pierce “Hyperdrift” Peng (who favored Zealt to emerge victorious). Sources predict that Odysseus will add his newly acquired tears to his collection onboard his multi-million dollar hype train, which he conducts to and from Korea on a daily basis.
Millions of failures around the world watched as the little failures from Europe lost to Korea’s failures. Europe and America once again managed to lose out on the first place prize ($2,500,000) after their year-long struggle to remain relevant in the eSports scene.
“Corporation, noun: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.” Ambrose Bierce
Casual conversation, fused with the airborne aroma of luscious food, drifted throughout the restaurant. The soft floating fragrance tugged at and plucked at stomach strings, the smell made churn and made grown empty pits that hungered while echoes of an enduring and lively civilization filled the floor. Conversations and carefree laughter clashed and intertwined midair: voices of the mothers and fathers pleased with and at ease with life, and the giggling of children too young to have any worries. A calm and familiar song played for all the customers, a song neither too boring to lull people asleep nor too raunchy that it might be called offensive. And within the confines of the orange-lit restaurant nothing in life could be better.
Customers lined up to place their orders. For some it was simple: a burger, some fries, and a soda. For others, not quite so: four, no, six, no, eight burgers, two medium fries, four small sodas. Damn, a dollar short, they’d mumble.
Make that just two small fries, then. And then they would be irritated when they were politely asked to repeat their confusing order. Then there were those with special needs: no onions, please—and a please was rare—hold the tomatoes and no lettuce were common as well.
Taking the orders were those wishing they could be elsewhere, all wishing they could have it better. The high schooler, the least experienced of the bunch, was always assigned the janitorial duties so that he would never be in a position to spit into the burgers or pocket a few dollars in the collective blind spot of the ever-watchful cameras. The college students dealt with the loud, hungry crowd. The college graduates were here only because nowhere else would pay. They were the most skilled of the unskilled: they understood advanced thermodynamics and knew the precise wrist techniques necessary for flipping burgers. All were dressed the same and were tasked the same and were paid the same, and all were employed to perform menial tasks for meager earnings. And while all were bound to the mercy of the dollar, they were locked in place for the foreseeable future.
But they deserved their earnings because they were unskilled, and this was the best way to start one’s career. And they were employed by good, kind people, with worthy, noble intentions. They ought to be grateful for this opportunity, for this income, for it was the same job and pay their grandparents had. Besides, business was booming this quarter, profits were on the rise and labor was aplenty.
Never worry about the lack of labor, corporate would say, should we need labor simply hire the next schmuck to enter the doors. And if they organize simply ignore them, corporate would assure, just open the doors announcing open positions and a brand new workforce will flock in. You want a job? You need a job? Come one, come all, anyone can do this work, welcome aboard. Grab a spatula and get in there, tiger.
It is important to always have a crew expendable.
It is vital to always have a crew expendable.
All those struggling to make it by need to figure things out on their own: their struggles are their own fault, no one else’s. Don’t come crying to us for a raise. We’re in the business of serving food and making profits, not providing living wages. Don’t be so selfish. Think of the company’s wellbeing. Don’t like it? Door’s right there. Next!
The men and women behind the counter scurried about, performing their bottom dollar jobs to the laziest of their ability. A clock mounted upon the wall was the only thing keeping them sane, and each time they peered in its direction they would be absolutely certain that each second had passed by twice as quickly as the one prior.
Only three hours left until there’s only one hour left before the half-hour left before my designated five-minute break, then just another hour before the last hour of the work day. All the while orders flooded in. The faces of the cashiers were bombarded with dialects and accents and teenagers and coins and profanity in addition to the grease that had slowly built itself up over the course of the day. The food was produced and served and taken without so much as a thank you muttered in return.
But it was payday and the many workers would finally reap the minimal fruits of their labor. The workers received a blue card with all their earnings electronically stored in it. Using the card would accrue a fee. A fee each time they would check their remaining balance, each time they would withdraw funds, a fee for transferring funds from the card to any other account. But it was worthwhile because it saved the company paperwork and signatures and time and money, and thus, in the long run, brought in more profit. It was a good move, an intelligent business decision, made by the intelligent, wealthy, educated men running the company who were never to be doubted or questioned. They always found small ways to manufacture profits and generate more revenue, even when it seemed as if no more could be made.
Those who were done for the day walked out the doors of the restaurant and saw their evening counterparts entering to complete the work yet to be done. And evermore the cycle continued.
Out the doors and onto the packed and busy streets beneath a gray sky, the workers dispersed and were incorporated into the crowd. Upon steel pillars and platforms, metallic trains came to screeching halts that scraped at and pierced through eardrums. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes sped about in all directions as pedestrians fluidly streamed about and spilled around them. A unifying song, a song without rhythm or melody, resonated from the cars that honked their horns every chance they had. Every few blocks the city’s anthem of emergency sirens reverberated across the street but no car budged an inch nor cleared a path.
Littering the sidewalks were people of all ages and creeds and dreams, but the things they valued most were not theirs. All cars on the street, and all that education they had earned, and all the homes in which they lived still had to be paid off. Every vehicle parked or moving, all the local business still open or recently closed down, all was debt. And best not let anything default else our education go out of business, else our public transportation no longer drive in profits, else our hospitals bleed negative income, else our enterprises fall short of meeting our quotas and our great expectations.
And of course the banks would be closing at precisely the same time the standard work day came to a close. The hours of operation were somehow always set to inconvenience those who worked steady jobs for questionable pay.
And of course, whenever it just so happened to be rush hour the homeless would pour out onto the streets and they would just so happen to be camped out in front of the restaurants and the bus stops and the subway stations and the jewelry stores and the bakeries and the markets.
They would shake their cups so that their coins would ring, and please, they would plead, and God bless you would say the more patriotic ones, and evermore they begged until no one watched. And when they thought no one watched they would secretly pull out their phones and text and pretend they needed the money. Meanwhile the world walked on without giving the slightest of a damn. Some only ignored the homeless because every penny donated meant another penny shy for food or water or rent, and another penny closer to ending up like them. The risk was just too great.
Afront the jewelry store a man held up a sign that ran We Buy Gold and Silver, and beneath it Compramos Oro y Plata. He handed out cards that read the same and included the store’s address and phone number. A sign on the main window read the same, We Buy Gold, Silver, Diamonds, Compramos Oro, Plata, y Diamantes, Not Hireing, No Pets Aloud.
Along the way, herds of high school students stopped by a corner store in their usual loud, inconsiderate manner. They stocked up on snacks and candy and violently tossed their parents’ money on the counter with flailing arms while a lone kid counted coins outside the bodega with worried fingers hopeful for enough money to buy something, anything.
They continued walking the gray, concrete, mostly abandoned streets, down walkways to brown and red-brick buildings that were built long ago. Every now and then scraps of lead paint descended toward the ground. The wind blew away the old paint and it joined the brown-yellow newspaper from months ago, and the crunchy bag of potato chips that some kid threw on the ground some moments ago. The wind slammed the loose trash against the old library where a sign on the door read Hours of Operation, and they had once again been reduced.
No Public Computers Left.
No Paid Positions Available (Insufficient Govt. Funds).
Looking For Volunteers.
A decade-old car wheezed and sputtered by, the loose trash following the new current away from the books that remained barred and chained and locked away and imprisoned from the community.
As the employed made their way home they would bear witness to the state of their crumbling neighborhoods. On many streets entire apartment buildings were overgrown in foliage and boarded off with blue-painted plywood. Homes were colored of Rooms for Rent and shaded of Price Reduced, and tinged of For Sale By Owner.
The evicted and derelict homes became canvases for graffiti artists, and had become plots of land used solely for the disposal of garbage. And there were no openings to the homes, every window and door was boarded off and cemented, it was necessary because otherwise the homeless would break in to obtain free housing and cheat someone out of profit. And this was so for three, four, five homes per block.
Outside the homes, parked cars read 4/S with ten digit numbers written beneath. Some cars were recently washed to look presentable while others looked as if they had been collecting dust and grime for months. On some cars other notes were written, such as a price, or a guarantee of a clean car report from some car agency. And this was so for six, seven, eight cars per block.
Once the workers finally made it home they entered and closed the door behind, the cold air faded away, and they were home at long last, and all the troubles of the world seemed to dissipate.
“What is happiness? The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome.” Friedrich Nietzsche
He walked up the flight of stairs, entered his room and dropped onto his bed. As he lay there, the grease that had accumulated on his hands and face and clothes were slipping onto his sheets. The red numbers on his desk changed from 5:39 to 5:52 to 6:18. For every number that changed, the room grew darker and darker, and the sounds outside softer and softer. At least it was finally Friday.
He took off his heavy, stained uniform and worked his way downstairs. He heard recorded laughter coming from the television, and then saw two passive, blue-lit bodies sitting on the couch staring idly at the screen, empty bottles scattered across the floor, a sweating bottle tightly clasped in their hands. They took no note as he entered the bathroom.
The warm water dropped down on him, tapping against his skull, cleansing away the grime that had gathered that day, and slowly the filth trickled down. He kept the water on until it aged his fingertips.
He dried himself off and stood in the tub thinking many thoughts and pondering many ideas until he spontaneously sprang back into active consciousness.
Leaving the bathroom he headed towards the kitchen in the dark, making as little noise as possible. The refrigerator began to hum as he approached. When he opened the door yellow light poured onto the walls behind him, and of course it was empty: two bottles of beer, a gallon of milk half empty, and a stick of butter half gone. Working his way back toward the stairs, a small creature ran into him.
He’s home! the thing would yell, passing by at such impeccable timing. He would push it against the wall just in time so its cries would be ignored. Go pick up some food! one parent would say. And do something productive today instead of just sitting in front of your computer all night long! would say the other. And bring those last two beers over before you go! Their empty gazes remained on the television screen as they went bottoms up.
Of course, of course, of course!
When he was dressed he returned outside where the cool air slapped against his face as he walked down the street. He took out a cigarette and held it between his lips for five, six, seven street tiles. His hand brought up the lighter and it lit the cigarette. Instantly his lungs came to life and were jubilant upon being reunited with an old companion. He walked on, hands in pockets, sucking on the sweet, indulging stick. In pensive state induced by nicotine he ignored his surroundings and walked past the Chinese restaurant a few tiles before turning back.
He quickly ordered and retreated outside to continue smoking.
What up? a familiar face in the dark would ask, holding out a fist.
He shrugged, their fists bumped.
Yeah, life sucks on my end too, the other replied as they smoked outside the restaurant.
Sesame chicken! the short Chinese man behind the counter would yell. A’ight, I’ll catch ya later, bro, he would say, grabbing his order and disappearing into the night.
Ha’f-chicken-po’-fie wice an’ chicken-broccri an’ wie wice! He inhaled deeply and threw away what remained of his cigarette before heading inside. Fo’teen fity! the tiny man would say. An’ wememba…smoking ba’ fo’ you! Nomo’ smoking! same as he had told the friend.
When he reached home he hesitated at the entrance. He placed the bag inside and walked back to the nearest bodega. There he withdrew all the funds on the card that he received from work that day, paying twelve dollars in fees in addition to the ATM’s $2.75 fee. Returning home, he tapped at his pockets to recall where he had left his cash and where he had left the now empty card.
What took you? We’re starving! And where are those beers!?
He took one of the styrofoam containers from the bag and dropped the rest on the living room table. Back in his room, the only lights he could see were red numbers on the desk which read 7:43. He flicked the light switch and saw his room exactly as he had left it that morning: his garbage and papers exactly where they were, his boxes and books left untouched, his bed unmade, now with some splotches of grease. Posters of his favorite games and musicians and animes and teams were mounted onto his walls. If only there was more wall than posters.
He sat down in his chair, put on his headset, and turned on his computer. When clearing his pockets, he laid the blue card above his mouse, and tossed his keys onto the desk with a loud clatter. After his monitors brightened to life he typed his password, and his background came into focus. He instantly opened up his browser, clicked a bookmark to Pandora, and immediately his preferred music began to play.
He clicked another bookmark, instantly the page loaded. Twitch’s featured stream was a speed runner. A blue man ran towards the right shooting peas out of his arm, he jumped and climbed ladders, a quick menu, the blue man turned gray and he would shoot out a white boomerang. A timer would show whether or not this was a new record and by how many seconds or milliseconds better or worse.
Below the featured content was a list of other games being streamed, all sorted by live viewers. First on the list was his game of choice: League of Legends.
No Sinik, no Inertia, no Equinox, no Eumoda–players who consistently drew in the highest number of viewers. The current top streamer hovered around seven thousand viewers: Espada, Team Ampersand’s mid laner. He was well known for his humorous and risky antics in-game, and as a result was a favored streamer.
He dashed toward a half-health Orianna with Spirit Rush, he dropped the Ignite, landed the Charm, dashed further forward to dodge the Command: Shockwave, Fox-Fires locked onto the low health target, he tossed out the Orb of Deception, and dashed back toward safety, tanking two, three, four turret shots in the process. A blind monk emerged from the darkness. Espada waited for the precise moment to Flash away from the Sonic Wave. A webcam recorded his reactions throughout the course of the game and between his games while rap music played in the background.
“I Ignited her at the beginning because I knew I could get the kill even without starting off with Charm,” Espada explained to his fans. “If I didn’t juke her Ult with another dash I would’ve died, though. At the same time I knew I couldn’t tank the turret for too long ‘cuz if the enemy stays in the lane with that low health when she knows my abilities and summoners were up, it was a pretty obvious hint that their jungler was nearby.”
Espada paused for a bit to purchase items as the shop before continuing, “If I played that better I could’ve saved Flash, though. Lee could’a probably dived me and he would’ve been fine, but chances are he didn’t have vision of my jungler. So that’s probably why he didn’t want to go too ham.”
He left Espada’s stream playing on his second monitor while on his main monitor he scrolled through discussion forums that covered many topics: analysis of the most recent patch, YouTube clips of stupid or funny or creative things that people saw in-game, artwork of their favorite characters. The more active topics made their way to the top of the page: rumors of certain teams acquiring new players, rumors of new teams on the horizon, threads dedicated to an amazing play a Korean player performed just a few hours ago. Jokes and praise and ridicule and criticism from all over the world found its way onto such sites.
Cryo420 Posted 3 hours ago
I don’t think Dendra had the best performance las season but if Royale can stup up their game im sure they can pull of first place this season. Maybe not internationally but at least in NA.
Because nothing particularly interested him, he began streaming. The moment the broadcast started all his social media pages instantaneously announced he had gone live. In a matter of minutes a few hundred viewers were drawn in.
“Oh hi,” he lazily told his microphone as he lazily waved at his webcam. “I’m eating right now, so I’ll just answer questions for a while before I get into a game.” Twitch chat filled up with comments and questions and faces typed in by his viewers.
“Chinese food. Chicken with broccoli. The place near here is pretty good I guess, but I mean, I haven’t really tasted much of the cooking from a lot of other different Chinese restaurants. I’m sure they’re mostly the same.” He skimmed past the stupid questions and silly comments until he found something worth answering.
“Mmm, I’m not too sure about all that talk about replacing Dendra. I mean, you have to consider the vastly different playstyles of the teams competing that season and this upcoming season. I think it’s extremely stupid to not take teams in general into consideration. Every player has his strengths and weaknesses. You can look at numbers all you want, but ultimately you need the context of how the games played out and how the team played as a unit before criticizing a single player for poor performance…or praising another for…immaculate performance.”
He chewed with a closed mouth and lifted his microphone away as he continued reading questions.
“M’drinking water. Not much of a fan of soda all the time. Maybe once a week I’ll drink some soda or something.”
“Check the FAQ below. New York.”
“Umm, yeah, actually.” He picked up and unwrapped a fortune cookie, snapped it in two and read from the slip of paper “‘It is very possible that you will achieve greatness in your lifetime.’ Well, isn’t that comforting news?” he asked his viewers as he tossed the paper into the air.
“Am I gay, kappa? Really? You assholes. I’m just gonna add this to the FAQ. You guys are dicks.”
After some quick typing he continued, “Alright, I’ll start playing in a bit, let me get some more water while I log on. I’m gonna play some ads for a minute or so. Thanks to those of you not using Ad-Block.”
He went downstairs careful to place his feet as close to the edges of the steps as possible. Moving as quietly and as unnoticeable as a slithering solid snake, he refilled his cup and took a few sips on the way back. As he once again passed by the living room he noticed that the loud television competed with the loud smacking of lips and the loud chewing of food.
The eyes of these loud mouths were fixed on the screen. A pundit would be angered about jobs being taken by non-Americans, and talk about an incompetent politician in the East whose country had a poor understanding and execution of democracy. He would also speak of a senator who, earlier that week, had stated that the only way anyone could fail and be poor in this country was if they were lazy and didn’t do their fair share of work. Anyone could make it in this country, he had said, and ultimately nothing stood in the way other than sheer determination.
Melting back into the cover of darkness, he made his way upstairs, again taking gentle, precise steps. Back in his room, the younger brother was clicking around with the mouse.
“Get out,” he sighed, pushing the kid out of the room and locking the door. “Oh hi,” he exhaled, placing his cup on his desk and resting his hands back into their natural position on his mouse and keyboard.
A tab with the name DeusRex blinked orange in the game’s window.
(20:29) DeusRex: yo lets duo
(20:31)NeoTokyo: lol, why?
DeusRex: u and me close
NeoTokyo: Sounds legit, inivite me
“So it looks like Rex wants to chill for a bit,” he told his viewers, “I know you guys like our crazy-stupid shenanigans.”
(20:32) DeusRex: get on raidcall
They initiated a session and the friend’s voice came in through the headset louder than the music “Yo. You wanna dick around or play to win?”
“I’m down for whatever, man,” he responded holding his left Shift key.
“A’right then, we dickin’ around. Time ta make some YouTube-worthy plays.”
They got into the matchmaking queue and waited for the system to find suitable teammates and opponents of the same or similar skill level. Music poured into his ears as he played a typing game to ensure his fingers remained quick and precise. With only a few mistakes made, he scored 151 words per minute with a typing accuracy of 93.4%. He moved on to another game to test his accuracy and reflexes with his mouse: a rhythm game where he had to keep up with the beat and melody of the music. The more difficult songs were the faster ones he preferred.
After some minutes a match was found. They accepted the match and some familiar names showed up on their team.
amp Toxiform: tokyo ban LB pls
DeusRex: Let me jungle, I got this shit
“Try’n leave Lee open.”
Aleor: phyros u mind if I mid? D: i wanna practice ahri
RYL Phyros: :/
RYL Phyros: ://///
RYL Phyros: sure go ahead
amp Toxiform: dont worry ill support u phy
“I think they heard you, dude. First pick Lee."
“Oh, real? Well…guess I’ll just go a bit tanky with like Mao or whatever so we can dive the shit out of ‘em. Kinda just wanna rush double Sunfires and push all game.”
Teams and champions locked in. The players quickly loaded into the game, browsing social media in the soft and quiet moments of the early game.
[00:02] NeoTokyo (Shen) purchased Warding Totem (Trinket)!
[00:03] DeusRex (Maokai) purchased Warding Totem (Trinket)!
[00:03] RYL Phyros (Ashe) purchased Warding Totem (Trinket)!
[00:06] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): tokyo, prepare urs
[00:08] [All] NeoTokyo (Shen): lol
[00:10] [All] NeoTokyo (Shen): I’ve taped it closed
[00:13] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): you think
[00:13] Aleor (Ahri) purchased Warding Totem (Trinket)!
[00:15] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): i can’t
[00:15] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): break through tape?
[00:16] amp Toxiform (Janna) purchased Warding Totem (Trinket)!
[00:16] amp Toxiform (Janna) purchased Stealth Ward!
“You should gank him early. That’ll teach him who needs the tape.”
[00:18] [All] NeoTokyo (Shen): it’s duct tape, super durable
[00:19] [All] Aleor (Ahri): lol
[00:21] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): :p
“That’s Daze’s smurf, right? It’s like you guys are made for each other. You should change the answer to your new FAQ question, you two flirt like you’re married.”
“You should be marriage counselor—who helps online couples get the most out of cybering.”
“Umm, I might need…” a ping dropped in the fog of war at the bottom left quadrant of the minimap, “Come to their Red. Might need taunt.”
[01:20] amp Toxiform (Janna): q or e?
[01:24] DeusRex (Maokai): Q if they show up
[01:25] DeusRex (Maokai): otherwise e
“Just to let you know, I’m bailing if they show up with more than two people. You’re gonna get us killed just for Red. I has a feel.”
“Nah, son, they’re either going our Red or their Blue. Sim won’t consider the Mao invade.”
“Wanna bet on it?”
“Fuck that, I’m not betting anything against a Lee.”
[01:47] amp Toxiform (Janna): doesn’tl ook like their comgin
“I’m headin’ top.”
[02:03] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): where u hiding, tokyeo?
The players met head on careful to deal as much damage while taking as little damage in response. As they accumulated gold from the minions they also traded blow for blow amid the frontline. And so the rhythm of the game continued.
“Let me get level four before I go for a gank.”
“His ward’s almost dead. Also Lee might be up here.”
A blind monk jumped to a friendly target and two players made their move top lane.
“I’m comin’ from river, come to tri. Let me block the hadouken.”
“He has no Ignite. I don’t think I’m gonna…oh, I guess I will live. Welp.”
[07:26] [All] SimJim (Lee Sin): y u so fat tree? :|
“You goin’ back?”
“Yeah, waiting a few seconds for a pink.”
The game continued at a steady pace as both sides farmed up and collected their earnings. The trades and blows continued but no one had died. As the game crept forward vision was set up and vision died, and map movements occurred.
“Top’s been MIA for a while. Not sure if he’s in our jungle or what.”
[11:32] NeoTokyo (Shen) signals to be careful
[11:37] DeusRex (Maokai) signals to be careful
“None of my camps were cleared. I swear I’m going to facecheck them doing Dra—or…not. The fuck? Where are they?”
[12:08] amp Toxiform (Janna) is asking for assistance
[12:12] ButTrauma has drawn first blood!
[12:12] amp Toxiform (Janna) is asking for assistance
[12:14] ButTrauma has slain amp Toxiform for a double kill!
[12:18] ButTrauma has slain DeusRex for a triple kill!
[12:18] ButTrauma is on a killing spree!
“Umm…good news is top’s almost dead?”
[12:20] amp Toxiform (Janna): wtf
[12:22] amp Toxiform (Janna): is renek doing down here
[12:52] NeoTokyo (Shen): I pinged.
[14:02] ButTrauma is on a rampage!
[14:03] amp Toxiform (Janna): zzz
[14:05] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): lol
[14:06] [All] ButTrauma (Renekton): no hawkshot?
[14:10] [All] RYL Phyros (Ashe): didnt lvl
[14:12] [All] RYL Phyros (Ashe): i need dmg :(
[14:32] RYL Phyros (Ashe): welp I’m sure this game’s over
[14:35] RYL Phyros (Ashe): sunfires all around
[15:57] amp Toxiform (Janna): should just wait at blue
[15:59] amp Toxiform (Janna): with sunfires
[16:00] amp Toxiform (Janna): and jump them
Full Sunfire Cape teams, they would find, were ineffective against good Syndra players. But many laughs were had and the collective viewers of NeoTokyo’s stream and DeusRex’s stream approved of the laid back game.
“Invite me for another, dude,” he told DeusRex. As they waited for the matchmaking system to find suitable players again, he opened up Thunderbird to check his various email accounts, emails sent to his personal address, his gaming handle, and school email.
A typical list of emails cluttered his Unread folder: sales for computer parts, new books and eBooks added to a particular site’s collection, announcements of his favorite streamers going live, and other such automated notifications. He glanced over subject titles and senders before clicking Mark As Read.
One particular email stood out: “Confidential – Team Final Frontier Gaming” sent by a Simon Penn. Final Frontier Gaming was a website he joined some years ago and still frequented from time to time. He shared his knowledge of the game, his thoughts on the competitive scene, and it was where many of his viewers came from.
Confidential – Team Final Frontier Gaming
Fri, Oct 7, 2016, 14:00 (7 hours ago)
Simon Penn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is with great pleasure that I write this email to you. As you can no doubt tell by the subject, we’re finally looking to form a team to compete in the upcoming NA LCS and you’re one of our priorities.
This is an invitation to ask if you’re interested in playing for and representing Final Frontier Gaming. As one of our priority players I will share the list of other priority players we are looking to acquire:
Crescendo – Support – Captain
NeoTokyo – Top
DeusRex – Jungle
Marlwolf – Mid
Zodiac – Marksman
I believe I have made a pretty good job choosing roles, but I will be willing to talk to you guys about moving around if the need arises. On the occasion that Marlwolf is unwilling or unable to swap teams, we will instead opt for WildCat.
Because this is going to be a newly formed team and we will be going into this cold, we have set aside a budget to pay for a player’s travel, as well as a salary for at least three months. As you know Riot guarantees a stable salary for teams that qualify into the LCS, so making it there will be tougher than simply being on FFG.
Feel free to reply with any questions you may have or talk to me on Skype (contact information available at FFG’s contact page). Please respond with an official answer by the end of next week and we can discuss things in more depth.
Furthermore, please try to keep this under wraps for the time being until we can make an official announcement. Try not to show things off on stream (like the subject title for this email) and try not to talk about or hint towards this on social media. I cannot stress enough how important this is to us.
Thanks, and game on.
Simon “Shellshock” Penn
Founder, Final Frontier Gaming
“Awmawgawd, son. Why din’t you accept the match?”
“Oh fuck. Did you… d’you get an email from…Shelly?”
“Yeah, I thought you already saw that shit. So that’s why you didn’t accept? Anyway, yeah, I’m down for…that thing he said.”
He scanned the email again, read it over one more time, two more times, three more times, and highlighted the email address to make sure there was no sleazy kerning. He navigated to Final Frontier Gaming’s contact page to see if they matched. He copied the text from the email and the contact page, pasted both onto Notepad, and they matched. It was Shellshock.
He removed his headset, placing it on his desk. He reclined all the way back on his chair, leaned his head against his chair and let out a long sigh. His computer quietly hummed at him, had been ever since he turned it on but only now had he noticed.
Twitch chat filled with comments and faces:
GatJ8: he’s gone full retard thanks obaam
Afhir: think he’s ahveing an allergive reaction to rex
Oafy92: dam hes so srs right now :| :| :|
“Sorry guys, just gimmie a few minutes,” he told the headset on the desk.
How soon would the team get together? Is there a gaming house, or are we just doing this online for the time being? Would I have to bring my own machine if there’s a gaming house or will computers be provided for us? Are there any existing sponsorships or partnerships between FFG and other companies? When would we first be paid? Myriad questions, myriad typos, myriad twitchy fingers.
He read over his questions two times, three times, four times, looking for typos, looking to see if his grammar and spelling were correct, looking to see if there was anything else he wanted to ask. He hovered over Send ten, eleven, twelve seconds.
He put his headset back on and held Shift, “Alright, let’s go.”
DeusRex has invited you to a game.
His thoughts focused on the potential team, the potential difficulties, and the very many obstacles he would have to face if he went through with it all. Rap played into his ears only as background noise to his thoughts: …none of their kids serve in the infantry, the odds are stacked against us like a casino, think about it, most of the army is black and latino, and if you can’t acknowledge the reality of my words, you just another stupid mothafucka out on the curb, tryn’a escape from the ghetto with your ignorant ways, but you can’t read history at an illiterate stage, and you can’t raise a family on minimum wage, why the fuck you think most of us are locked in a cage…
When teammates and opponents were found they accepted the match. As well as the next match, and the next, and the next, and they played into the wee hours of morning. They shared links of videos they found funny, articles the other may be interested in. They played Scrolls, Binding of Isaac, Rouge Legacy, Spelunky, and Hotline Miami between the lengthy queues—they played anything that would keep the mind awake and the fingers active. They celebrated their victories and learned something, anything, from their defeats, and time continued forever onward, 2:13, 3:43, 4:48.
“I don’t know about you, dude, but I’m tired as fuck. Considering calling it a night.”
“Tch, it ain’t even five yet. Don’t be a lil’ bitch.”
“Fuck that, man, I’ve got a lot of stuff to consider in the coming week.”
“Eh, yeah, I guess. Viewers gonna be pissed at you for not doing SubWars, though.”
“We’ll just…do one tomorrow or later this week.”
“A’ight, you heard him guys. So just check the Twitters and the Facebooks at some point later this week for the SubWars.”
“Oh I heard that yawn, Rex, don’t try to hide it. And you said it wasn’t even five.”
“Well, I mean, might as well get up early tomor—”
“Yeah okay, man, whatever. Anyway, if anyone’s still tuned into my stream, thanks for watching. Sorry for not doing our weekly SubWars tonight but we’ll make it up to you guys. Maybe I’ll be on tomorrow, otherwise just check later in the week for fun games and stuff. So yeah, bye,” he waved and yawned at his webcam.
Beyond the Sword
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." Bhagavad Gita
He would open the door to find pages taped on the outside. He would snatch them off before the parent could reach.
Why are you still awake? What are you thinking?! would ask the parent.
He would unfold the pages to find bills, water $294.11, phones $250, electricity $239.17.
When are you going to be a responsible paren—when are you going to be a responsible person and pay your own god damn bills?
When are you going to put that degree of yours to use and be a CEO somewhere?
You don’t even fucking understand the world anymore, there are no fucking jobs, dad.
Stop making excuses and apply yourself already.
Stop being an irresponsible human being and asking your son to pay your bills for you, mom.
You have no idea what the real world is like, son, you’re too young and inexperienced to understand. Don’t argue with us, we know best.
The world’s changed so fast these past ten years that you have no idea what you’re even talking about.
I know enough about being a family, and I know you wouldn’t embarrass us by disobeying your parents. It’s your duty to help family members. Think of your younger brother, is this the kind of role model you want to be for him?
First of all, he’s your responsibility. Second, why should I be a role model, why can’t you guys be role models for him? You think having parents who can’t pay their own bills and would rather pay for cable and a few beers will help him in the future?
Just do what we tell you and grow up already, you’re twenty-two for God’s sake. It doesn’t matter if the world’s changed, you’re obviously too lazy to get a nice job at a nice office and work with important people who actually make a difference in the world, and actually make money doing it.
Oh, they change the world alright, and they fucking make money alright, while they starve the rest of us out of it. You guys just don’t fucking get it. Sooner or later it’s gonna bite you in the ass, and by then it’ll be too late for you guys to do anything. We don’t live in a same world anymore. We’ve moved on and you just don’t want to understand: we live in a digital age.
“And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains.” Percy Bysshe Shelley
More to come…