First Shot at a First-Person Shooter: Valorant


Louie Chung

As a second semester senior, I’ve found myself in the promised land. My college apps are done; I don’t have overbearing expectations to maintain a high GPA; I find myself with significantly more  time. With this newfound freedom, I have decided to indulge in a video game called Valorant. Valorant (or “Val”) is a very popular  first-person shooter game loved for its flashy mechanics and healthy balance of individual skill and team strategy. 

Most adults and even some students are collectively rolling their eyes right now. A couple of months ago, I would have as well. I thought video games were for people who don’t enjoy going outside or touching grass. From my friends and the Internet, I knew there were some toxic communities in gaming (Ahem, League of Legends) and I’ve also seen the early stages of addiction. Specifically, for first person shooter gun games like Val, my parents convinced me into thinking it would make me more violent and bloodthirsty. An outsider would likely describe typical gamers as people who chug energy drinks constantly, spend all their time in a dark room, and have bloodshot eyes and fancy headphones. Because of the negative reputation surrounding avid gaming, I never invested significant time into gaming. It seemed unhealthy and, frankly, a waste of my time. 

But this was the first time that I had really gotten into a game, and it was a surprising and pleasant experience. For some reason, I had never really gotten into video games like that before. Sure, I played the occasional Call of Duty or Mario Kart at my friends’ houses, but to be fully engrossed with the strategic smushing of buttons and D-pads was something that I never did. I was more into reading, school, and sports; I never found the time to obsess over a video game deep into regular sleeping hours. Then, one fateful day in the second semester, I decided to try it with my friend John Xie. We were newcomers to the scene of Valorant and didn’t know where to start. Accompanied by some friends who had played Valorant before, we were thrust into our first game with no preparation or training. It was exhilarating; we lost the game, and I died more times than I could count, but the laughs and memories I shared with my friends were more important to me. We mainly communicate on Discord, an instant messaging platform, on a Valorant server administered by my friend. It feels like every time I check Discord, I see a few people in some of the voice channels, playing Valorant with each other. It’s now natural to join the voice channel and ask to play a game or two. I’ve made so many new friends that I would never have talked to, from freshmen in Great Neck South to full-fledged adults fresh out of college. 

One of my biggest worries as a beginning gamer was the toxic people infamous on Call of Duty lobbies and League chats. While there will always be people in every video game that will look to dole out harsh criticism whenever they can, Valorant players typically are supportive and uplifting of their teammates. “GLHF” (“Good Luck Have Fun) and “gg” (“good game”) are common messages said by most players at the start and end of each match respectively. Every person that I have played with has guided me through the high-speed mechanics of Val gameplay (even though I might blind them accidentally with the wrong button or lose them the game). 

In my short life, I can say I devoted my blood, sweat, and tears into two video games: Super Mario Brothers on the Wii and Pokemon on the DS. I was apprehensive, to say the least, to venture into the world of PC gaming. However, I am so glad that I decided to play Valorant that one day with my friends If you are a person who does not usually indulge in video games, I understand completely. It is an entirely different world than what you are used to and can be intimidating and overwhelming. However, this new realm also exposes you to a fresh demographic and creates long-lasting connections in the process. I joined Val to switch up my lifestyle and try out something new, but I never thought I would’ve stayed for the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve forged. I understand the initial apprehension; however, taking the leap into video games is a decision that is very low risk and high reward. You control how much time and effort you put into video games. If you have the time and the willingness, download Valorant (or any other game you’re interested in). You won’t regret it.