EverWing: My first first place

January 22, 2017 — by Trevor Leung

Ever since middle school, when the iPhone and iPad became commonplace, I’ve dreamt of having my name at the top of the leaderboard in an online game. Game after game, I never came close to that coveted spot.

So when Facebook messenger released a new update in November, allowing users to play various games directly in chats, I found the perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.

Senior Rachel Won first brought one of these games, EverWing, to my attention when she played it in our “Team George” group chat with seniors Brite Wang and George Wang, and alumni Alex Guo and Lucas Peng during Thanksgiving break. EverWing is a shoot’em-up game in which players can train dragons, buy and upgrade characters to battle against bosses and gain coins for upgrades and purchases.

Rachel initially posted a score of about 700, which seemed unreachable at that time. Everyone in the group started playing, and we were immediately hooked.

Over a few days, I spent hours playing and upgrading my dragons and characters. I even started playing the game in my chat with senior Gautham Arunkumar, practicing there secretly without the “Team George” chat knowing that I was playing.

As a result, I finally became the first to beat Rachel’s score. I was proud the few hours playing the game had paid off, but it was short lived. She quickly reclaimed the top spot a day later, and we went back and forth over a few days until our scores rose to the 1,000s, with Brite right on our heels.

Every time one of us rose to first place, we would start trash talking one another, which only fueled our competitiveness to return to the prized No. 1 spot. Meanwhile, George and Lucas slowly but steadily gained ground. Alex was left completely behind in the dirt.

We then discovered that we could view the top scores from all our Facebook friends in EverWing, and when I checked, I found Rachel, Brite, Gautham and myself within the top five of all my Facebook friends. By this point, the EverWing obsession had spread like fire; it was played in almost every Facebook chat I was in, which made making the top five even more gratifying.

Our scores seemed to plateau in the 1,000s, until one day I used my skills (and maybe some luck) to score a dominant 2,992, giving me a lead of over 1,000 from all my Facebook friends. After I broke 2,000 in that game, my hands started sweating and my heart raced. I tried to push thoughts of the possibility of losing out, as my score approached 3,000, but that ended up distracting me and I made a mistake, ending my game at 2,992. I held this lead for a few days until Gautham beat it with a score of over 3,000.

At about this time, even more of my friends started playing EverWing, giving me more potential competition. Some of my other friends, including Gautham, even created a group chat specifically for us to play EverWing in. In my overall Facebook friend rankings, Gautham and I were at the top of the list, but there were others who came close.

It was during winter break that the unthinkable happened. After maxing out on upgrades for characters and dragons, I scored a dominant 5,465, the highest score I’ve ever gotten, and the highest score on my Facebook friend list. Just like the time I scored a personal record with 2,992, my hands started sweating again as I broke 4,000 and eventually 5,000 in that game.

At that time, no one else on my Facebook friend list was even close to beating my score. However, ever since then, I have only broken 5,000 once. My high score of 5,465 was too difficult to come close to again, and my interest in the game declined.

EverWing was fun while it lasted. I can definitely say that the competition pushed me to dedicate myself to the game. Unlike with previous online games that I’ve played, EverWing gave me the opportunity to directly challenge my friends on Facebook (and wipe my superiority in their faces).

Though a snarky comment may slide out of my mouth now and then when I beat my friends’ scores, I’m not sure if I’m still entirely proud of getting this high of a score after spending so much time on it. I’ll just say I accomplished my dream of getting the No. 1 spot in an online game.