CoC culture

Holden Foreman, entertainment editor

As winter approaches, the chilled November air chases students indoors, where textbooks and papers await with even less mercy; gone is the fun of summer. Yet, in some surreal, virtual world, the action never ends. There are always resources to harvest, troops to train and wars to wage at the tap of a finger. So, next time somebody whips out their phone in class, look a little closer. Chances are, they aren’t working on that new eBackpack assignment under their desk. No, in reality, they represent just one of the 34 percent of KHS students playing with Clash of Clans.

Clash of Clans, or CoC for short, was released Aug. 2, 2012 for iOS and Oct. 7, 2013 for Android, bringing the title to both major phone markets. Thus, a worldwide sensation was born. Despite the game’s age, consistent updates continue to stack on hours of content and leave students more concerned with their base’s upgrades than their Geometry grade.

The premise is simple: “Build your village to fend off raiders, battle against millions of players worldwide and forge a powerful clan with others to destroy enemy clans.” Developer SuperCell’s description, of course, fails to mention the parts about sacrificing your daily schedule to the game’s wait times and investing all of your income into in-app purchases. Still, the free download hooked enough players to become the top-grossing game of 2014, and after holding the first annual ClashCon Oct. 25, Supercell isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

Regarding the actual gameplay, clans give players the chance to group together with an in-game chat, troop donation system and war mechanic that pits randomly selected clans against each other. This combination of community-based elements creates a culture surrounding the game, and the social instability of teenage students makes high schools everywhere breeding grounds for clans. “Kirkwood XC,” a clan created and maintained by cross country runners, represents one example of students extending their comradery to the virtual world. However, the game’s mechanics may bring them even closer together.

Video games soak up hours of students’ time, and Clash of Clans is no exception. The school day provides countless opportunities to lose oneself in the upgrade of defenses or the ritualistic routine of raiding others for loot. Plus, millions of players and an online ranking system, which bases merit off of trophies won in raids, make the game a continuous cycle that keeps students coming back for more, even when it means that essay is coming in a day late. On the other hand, the friendships formed or fortified through the game’s cooperative atmosphere may be the perfect cure for teenagers lost in the drama of the 21st century. Supercell has truly created a CoC culture.