A young man playing a game on his pc

How Valorant Rekindled Old Friendships

How a video game brought a group of high school friends back together

Friends and relationshipsTech and the online worldHobbies and Interests
By VoiceBox ·

Nichiyoubi

A young Filipino artist sharing his art and voice through music and writing

How Valorant Rekindled Old Friendships

On a rather boring day in November 2020, I decided to install Valorant. How could I not? It was all over the internet. Streamers and celebrities quickly hopped on this game the instant it was released. It was only a matter of time before I got on the trend. And who would’ve thought that it’s going to be the start of the unlikely reunion of old high school friends?

For those of you who don’t know what Valorant is, a relevant article explains it quite well: “It’s a 5v5 multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) where one team attacks and the other defends. The main game mode, Search and Destroy, is very similar to CS:GO. The attacking team’s goal is to plant a bomb (called a spike) and have it detonate, while the defending team tries to avoid that. Regardless of whether the spike is planted or not, if a squad is wiped out before any other victory condition is met, the opposing squad will win.”

The first time I played it, I quickly fell in love. It helped that I had prior experience with FPS games such as Counter Strike and Call of Duty but even without it, Valorant is quite easy to learn even for beginners. I mean, you just kill the enemies before they kill you. It’s not that complicated, right?

After months of playing solo, a strike of genius suddenly hit me: a 1 versus 1 tournament. I tried organizing a 1v1 tournament. I thought I’d change the pace of the game a little bit: from a team game to an individual game. Organizing an event is very different from playing the game, so I obviously struggled. I couldn’t get players to join. I posted in a lot of forums, from Facebook to Reddit. A few strangers reached out, but quit on me at the very last minute. 

I was about to cancel the tournament when lo and behold, a bunch of my old highschool buddies reached out to me saying they wanted to participate. Mind you, these are buddies of mine who I haven’t talked to in years! One is now a licensed engineer, one is pursuing aviation studies, one manages their family’s business, one works in the BPO industry, and then there’s me. Five friends separated by time only to be reunited by an old hobby: Video Games. 

The tournament was just the beginning. From then on, we started playing as a squad (5-man team) and the gameplay experience exponentially became more enjoyable. I trusted my team more, I became more confident knowing that when I mess up it’s all in good fun and we became much closer than we ever did in high school. We’d cheer up someone who’s not having a good game, we’d celebrate when someone gets an awesome play, and as cheesy as it sounds, we are there to listen to how each other’s day went.

If I could give advice on how to rekindle old friendships, well, download the game and invite some old pals to a game or two. Don’t mind winning and just enjoy every second of it. You’ll find out that having fun with your pals is better than just winning. 

Outside of the game, we started hanging out. We’d go biking on the weekends, and sometimes just drive around town. Looking back, I truly am thankful to Valorant for being the conduit in reuniting me with my old friends. The bond we formed because of this one little video game is unbelievably strong. 

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