Student Subcultures: “League of Legends”


Joe Bolewitz

Students discuss League of Legends in the Career Center

A group of Adams students talk animatedly with their hands in front of the school, circling around each other and chatting with enthusiasm. “They’re definitely talking about ‘League,’” said junior Nevin Mital.

“League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena game released in 2009 by Riot Games, is a surprisingly prevalent student culture within the Adams community.

According to senior Yuyang Yang, an avid “League” player,  “League of Legends” levels include the bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond levels, “diamond” being the most challenging.  The game also has a colorful cast of characters that players can choose. “Each ‘League of Legends’ character is special in their own way,” said Yang. A “League of Legends” multiplayer team can gain levels by defeating an opposing team’s “champion” character.

“There are probably 50+ people that play ‘League’ [regularly] at Adams,” said senior Austin Trieu.

Among those players is junior Dan Jin.  “There are people [at Adams] who play for the sole intent of getting better at the game and people who play for fun,” said Jin.

Outside of the Adams community, “League of Legends” is popular around the world.  “It’s really, really big and prevalent in game culture,” said Jin.

The “League of Legends” community at Adams, albeit a far less traditional social group than those within the confines of Adams academics and sports, has provided a positive outlet for freshmen seeking to fit in. “In middle school, there was only one other person who I knew that played,” said freshman Henry Xiong.  According to Xiong, “League of Legend” teams require 3 to 5 players.   The “League of Legends” culture at Adams has allowed Xiong to find new “League of Legends” teammates and friends.

While he might be a freshman, Xiong has shown significant promise as a successful player. “Henry always says, ‘I won…somehow,’” said senior Edgar Hu.

Freshman Anuraag Nisankararao is another underclassmen player at Adams. “‘League of Legends’ is addictive because you feel like you need to win the game,” said Nisankararao.

Within the “League” culture at Adams, there are plenty of inside jokes. Scarra, a professional and famous “League of Legends” e-sport team player, is idolized by the Adams “LOL” community.   The group of “League of Legends” players at Adams believes that the resemblance between Scarra and senior Eric Wang is uncanny, often citing their similarity and immortalizing the running joke with photoshopped pictures of Wang and Scarra on Facebook.

Wang does not play “League of Legends” and is reluctant to comment. “I’m a disgrace to the name of Scarra,” said Wang.

“League” players at Adams play for varying amounts of time. “I probably play 4 to 5 hours in a week,” said Nisankararao.   Others, however, have a harder time limiting their game play.

“I found out the hard way that it can be difficult to play ‘League’ regularly and still maintain relationships with people who don’t play regularly,” said junior Sam Garfinkle.  “The timing can be prohibitive because you have to play a full round before you can stop.”   Rounds can last up to 30 minutes to an hour.  Reportedly, Garfinkle once felt reluctant to stop playing a round of “League” to talk with his girlfriend on the phone.

While “League of Legends” is praised at Adams, it also has its critics.  “I really hate ‘League,’ but I still play it because everyone else does,” said junior Nick Eckhardt, who also says that he’s a bigger fan of the game “Starcraft.”

“League of Legends” players tend to play many games at home, but some Adams players go to the Adams library, or even the Adams Career Center, during lunch and their free hours for much-needed gameplay time in the middle of the school day.  Sometimes, the group’s enthusiasm can be too much for others to handle.

“Mr. May kicked us out of the Career Center [today] for being too loud,” said Jin.