Lost a Love Today…
Nah, it isn’t a girl, a guy or a person or anything alive for that matter. But it does grow and change. It gets better or changes for the worst sometimes. It is constantly working on repairing its issues, and this leads to additional issues sometimes. And not everyone loves or hates the change, but the change and development done are for the benefit of people enjoying it. The ‘it’ above is a game I love. “It” is “Apex Legends”. Apex Legends is one of the best games I have ever played. I love it so much, and as a proof for that, I have spent more money on it than I have spent for my ex. Before all of you judge me and point out she left me for that, spare it. That is a different story altogether. Maybe I’ll get to tell it one day. Right now, I am embarrassed to share it.
Like any love story, there’s drama to this one too. There was this will they won’t they story going on. I downloaded Apex Legends when I got internet in my home. It was back in July 2019. For the uninitiated, Apex Legends is a free to play battle royale game. It is the best battle royale game I have tried. The game is very fluid and fast-paced, unlike any other battle royale.
I love, and I have loved gaming since I was a kid. We didn’t have a computer in our home when I was young. I got introduced to gaming with these cheap-ass Nintendo Entertainment System(NES) knockoff. I still don’t know how those companies could sell them with no backlash from Nintendo. Those things were everywhere back then in India, I knew many who had them. They were cheap, so it was perfect for the kids who asked for game consoles, but the parents couldn’t afford Playstation 2, GameCube or the XBOX. They were dirt cheap compared to real consoles back then. These were like less than 1000 rupees for sure, maybe way less than that, around 500 rupees. These had all the original NES games. They were amazing, and for that price, it was hard to complain thinking about it now, but they were still a lot for lower-middle-class families like ours back then. We even had to fork out extra for more game disks.
Apart from this, I played games on this Nokia phone my brother had. It is one of the most iconic mobile phones ever engineered. I am sure everyone who used a mobile phone back then had one of these. They built it like a tank. And they had two of the most played games ever, Snake II and Space Impact (I loved this game so freaking much). Space Impact was very hard, yet so cool. I don’t know why I am saying all this, I got engulfed in nostalgia. Maybe I struck a few chords for someone who reads this. I loved gaming as a kid.
Then I was shipped off to a boarding school, I had to break up with gaming. I played games on phones whenever someone came to pick me up and on that cheap-ass console till it died. It wasn’t alive for a long time, though they were very fragile. They kept falling from the TV stand if you pulled too hard on the short cord from the controller. They died young and abused. This was pretty much all of my gaming as a kid.
Oh, how can I forget, there were these handheld game consoles, I don’t know what these were based off, but these were again cheap Chinese knockoffs. Back then anything made in China had a poor reputation because all the Chinese knockoffs and electronic devices broke too easily. Little could people have guessed back then that almost every electronic device mass-manufactured now is from China, even the most premium feeling and well-built ones.
I forgot the whole thing about Apex Legends (will be referred to as Apex from now on). So, I loved gaming as a kid, but couldn’t play much because I was in a boarding school. I came home only once or twice a year for holidays. Fast forward to my high school years, we got a midrange gaming laptop. Back then, midrange laptops sucked. Ours struggled to run AAA titles back then, but it was great for the time it lasted. I was more into games, and I had learnt how to pirate games. I could never convince my mother or my brother to buy me games, so pirating was the only option. I was very good at pirating stuff. I am very proud of it. I never made a mistake, and everyone in my family looked up to me for getting stuff from the internet. I felt powerful, I was HACKERMAN. Pirating was the only way I could get my hands on games and internet was a whole other hurdle. We still didn’t have internet, so I used to download stuff on internet cafes without the knowledge of the owner and sneak them out. It wasn’t easy, or morally right, but I got a kick out of it and free entertainment so it was awesome. Even now if my situation was so dire, I would do it. But internet cafes are almost dead and useless. I am sure all the internet cafes I visited got enormous bills because of me, but those guys made a lot out of naive children who had no computers or consoles, so it serves them right. I used multiple cafes so I could download more stuff faster because internet was slow back then.
I got carried away again. I swear I am getting to Apex in a minute. All this meant I could never play online games, which were more competitive and required skills. Our laptop broke when school ended. Right when I chose to go to college from home. Right when I was going to get time to game more. This was also the time when my family failed financially (failed hard, we hit rock bottom), so we couldn’t get a new computer. I primarily chose college here in Bangalore because that meant less expenditure. We were doing so great financially and then falling so damn bad financially it was sad and funny at the same time. We are still recovering from that phase. But anyway, the first two years of college I couldn’t game except on my phone. People argue that mobile gaming isn’t really gaming. I sure hate the mobile gaming industry, but I enjoyed a few handpicked games, and it helped me for two years. I still occasionally play a few games on my phone.
Then at the start of my third year. I got a cheap computer for about 7–8 thousand rupees (about 100 something dollars), which was a lot for us, and I begged my mother for months for it. I saved up some cash in the side to get a second-hand GPU. Saving up for that was the best thing I ever did in my life. My mother used to give me 20 rupees a day, to have a snack. I rarely spent it. I had to fight off these urges to use that 20 rupees because I used to feel hungry by the end of the day. But I saved that money, and it felt like forever to save up because 20 rupees is so little. I used to get some extra cash like 100 or 200 rupees once in a blue moon when my mother felt like giving. I never asked her for money because I couldn’t ask watching her struggle to earn it. I couldn’t do any part-time job because my schedule was jampacked and college took forever to reach. I skimped on the money for my student bus pass (issued by the government for students to travel) and instead, I used a bicycle (bike) for college. My college was 12 kilometres away from my home. I and my mother lived smartly, and that’s why we could save money, and still lead reasonably content lives on the financial front, unlike my brother’s or sister’s family. I know a lot of this might sound bonkers and raises a lot of questions for anyone from the west, but it all makes sense in India. And I don’t want to explain my family situation here, or at least in this post.
I saved up around 5000 rupees for a GPU, and I had decided that I was going for a GTX 750ti or a GTX 760 if I was lucky. But I struck gold and I pretty much used all the luck life can throw at me in one go. This was some lottery kind of thing. Some guy didn’t know the graphics card he had, sold it for 4800 rupees to me. The graphics card was a GTX 1070. To put it in perspective, that graphic card cost around 40,000 rupees (thanks to mining and inflated prices here in India). I went on a journey of buying, selling and exchanging computer parts, starting with that GTX 1070. To be honest, I did some pretty great business back then and turned in a lot of profit. In the end, I settled for a Ryzen 7 1700x build with a GTX 1060. This was great considering where I started. I had and still have an i3–4150 build without a GPU. Now I can play almost any game on the highest settings at 1080p.
Fast forward to when I got internet at home and when I downloaded Apex Legends. I was new to competitive online gaming except for mobile gaming. Everything explained above was to tell that I sucked at gaming even though I loved it since I was a kid. It was very hard for me to adjust to first-person shooters from my casual single-player gaming experience.
I was terrible at Apex, I had single-digit kill count for my first 200 games (I was that BAD). It was demoralising. I should have watched videos about the game and then jumped into it, but I thought I’ll figure it out. I was extremely bad at it. It was too hard for me and back then there was no SBMM (skill-based matchmaking) which made it even harder. I got wrecked every match. I regularly stopped playing it only to pick it up later. The gameplay was fun, and it kept pulling me back, but it was very hard for me. The very sight of an enemy sent me shivers, and I knew I will die, so I used to always take the cover of my teammates. And I was struggling with a few mental health issues back then. So I didn’t really enjoy gaming like when I was a kid. I kept losing interest in the game, but I tried the game every now and then because it felt cool using abilities in a battle royale.
I like all kinds of games, but Apex is one where I have had the most fun. Apart for the fast and silky smooth gameplay, killing someone gave that brief rush that made me feel I am better than someone. I still get that rush every kill I get in the game because I struggled so bad at the start. It is one of the most fun gaming experiences I have ever had, the sliding, the grappling, the panicked gas barrel throwing, the stimming, the jump pads, the artillery strikes, the phasing and unusually hard to control guns for me (I am better with them now) kept me returning. I kept getting better and better every season, the game kept getting better and better. For me, the game is at its best. Loba and all the changes to the other legends, map changes, and gun changes made me so hyped for season 5.
Life ain’t as smooth as Apex, though. I got to updating the game last night, it was an 8.5 GB update. Which meant I had to add an extra internet pack to my phone so I could update it. I remember saying that I had internet, but that lasted only for three months. My mother stopped the connection because I was not using it responsibly. Since then, for every update, I had to use my phone internet, which made it a very tedious experience.
I planned on buying the season 3 battle pass for Apex, the one with the evolving Peacekeeper skin. I didn’t buy it because I had to spend the little cash I saved on updating the game. I know some of you might think, what the hell is a guy who has completed college saving up money for and not earning it. I blame it on circumstances. And when I was level-headed enough to search for jobs, the Human Malware that is wreaking havoc out there happened. So I figured its nature’s way of telling me to chill some more given the rough few years I have had to endure.
I had to buy internet packs every time an update rolled out. It pissed me off because I was so lucky in building a powerful gaming PC, but couldn’t play my favourite game without any hiccups. I wanted to buy the battle pass because in addition to the cool skins I wanted to show my support for the developers. I rarely want to do this, and I am pro-pirating for a few reasons. But when I like something, and I add them to a list of all the games and movies I have enjoyed. I will use this list to buy the games or the DVD version of the movies when I earn to show my support. But back to Apex, so I could never get around to buying the battle pass because I had to spend all my savings on updating the game.
In season 4, I had enough money for a battle pass and the required updates. But things never go the way I plan. There was this big update. It was for the System Override event, which broke my game. If I remember correctly, the update was around 16 GB. I wasn’t able to update properly because there was a power cut. When I continued afterwards, the whole update was messed up asking me to download more, because the Origin app is poorly developed. I got pissed off, but I continued downloading. The update was done, but it broke my game. Textures weren’t loading properly, and there were a lot of bugs. But at this point I was so much in love with the game it didn’t stop me from playing, it was a little irritating, but being able to see through the ground at Refinery made it worth the trouble of not being able to see enemies properly. I kept playing a broke ass game until the next update arrived for the Bloodhound event. This update had a 2 GB size for everyone, but it asked me to download a 13 GB file. I almost shied away, but I downloaded it, hoping it’ll fix my texture problems. It fixed most of it with few texture problems here and there, but nothing too obnoxious. I was happy that the update was worth it.
But then 2 days after the update, it asked me to download another update for 10 GB telling to fix the game, I lost it and deleted the game right away. Love is a strange thing, it makes you go back begging even though sometimes it isn’t your goddamn fault. So after missing Apex for around 2 weeks, I couldn’t stay apart. I still had my battle pass cash, so I used it for internet packs, pulled an all-nighter because the internet is faster at night here. I downloaded the entire game again. I cursed myself for not doing it earlier. I was back in the game with my shitty aim but still enjoyed it more than ever.
I loved it until yesterday. Then the season 5 update rolled out, and I downloaded it using internet packs again. This time I took precautions and made sure I had all the extra internet packs ready. I was in front of my computer for the whole update. The update went smoothly with no hiccups or disconnections. I opened the game and bought Loba right away. I jumped into firing range just to check her abilities and maybe try her out in 3rd person view (because she is ‘THICC AF’, but I forgot to do so). After a few minutes in the firing range, I was ready to jump into the revamped Kings Canyon map. I started a match, and I shit you not. There were texture problems again. I was using Loba, and our squad placed 2nd. even though I could hardly see anything. I loved using the Mastiff as a normal gun. The game felt so good, but the texture problems were a pain in the arse.
So after the game, I thought maybe it was a minor issue and repairing the game would fix it. When I tried the repair tool in Origin it asked me to download 15 fucking GB again. I cancelled the repair and thought I will adjust, and just play with the texture problems. I started the game. This time it crashed after the Respawn screen stating some weird audio problem. I knew the game was beyond repair now and had to reinstall it. I lost it and deleted the game and Origin.
Now, I am sad that I can’t play it, I was hyped up for this season a lot. Because I had improved a lot in the game and all the changes were so good except for the Pathfinder nerf (RIP Pathfinder mains, I wanted to be one this season). I still can’t get over it, and I would really love to play the game, but guess I ain’t lucky or privileged enough. I miss the game so much. I love it but I can’t and won’t download it now because I am broke, and it would break my heart more when it takes a shit on me again. I guess I have got to live without Apex. I know I will succumb to it, and download it when I have some money after a few weeks, but I’ll miss it so much. I will miss so much content too like the new event, I liked it. I love the game, but like all my love stories, this one doesn’t have a good ending too. It hurts not being able to play and seeing all those videos on YouTube. Everyone is having so much fun, but I am heartbroken (literally).