Monday, November 7, 2011

A Proud Noob: Hating on Call of Duty

   Pre-calc on the morning of November 7th was pretty normal for all of three minutes, until Jacob Wagner looked over at me from across the room and said, “Hey Daswick, you going to the midnight premiere?” I stopped in my tracks. What kind of midnight premiere would Jacob Wagner—wait—no . . . it couldn’t be, not so soon . . . NO!
   Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was out tomorrow. Sweet freaking Jesus.
   I came this close to not writing this article. I figured it would be too negative and I would look like too big of a jerk at the end of it all, but the latest rise of irritation inside of me (see, I sound like a jerk already, and it only gets worse, see what it’s done to me?) was too much. I had to let it out. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the headquarters of CoD haters. Haters are gonna hate, and we are gonna hate hard.
   To give the franchise a little credit, Call of Duty 4 was sick. The game came out before I had an Xbox, but I heard so many good things about it that as soon as I had finally saved up and bought the console, I borrowed CoD 4 from a friend and played through it. It was awesome. Slick gameplay and addictive multiplayer made for something that I was actually a little sorry I missed out on, but it never really turned into something that I began to schedule my life around. It was fun, but it died out for me.
   Now, I want it gone. Multiplayer is the main reason why. I can name a lot of CoD players that are perfectly normal, but I can name plenty of examples of people who take the game way too seriously. Shooting someone with a virtual bullet fired from a virtual gun held by a virtual character running around a virtual world is not impressive people. Good kill man, now quit screaming obscenities in my ear about how many women you score. Do you yell at your fake girlfriend too?
   Recently, CoD almost killed somebody for real. Forty-six year-old Mark Bradford was losing rather badly in a match to a 13 year-old boy. The young teenager was taunting his older opponent, so Bradford decided that the only logical solution was to hunt the boy down and strangle him. He walked right though the front door and had his arms around the kid’s neck when Mom broke up the scuffle. This is Call of Duty, folks. Is it extreme? Sure, but is it also a case that, because of the profanity and bickering found online, was inevitable.
   The Call of Duty experience online is one of self-glorification, vile language, and cheap tactics. Running around by yourself is fine for a shooting game, but it is when this one-man-show attitude extends to team matches that I start to grow frustrated with CoolGuy64 and Broseidon32 (the names only become more obnoxious from there) on the other side of the country. Teams are for guys without the standard male anatomy, apparently, because every time I hunker down with my assault rifle to give some support to a sniper while he looks across the map, I receive a friendly reminder of what exactly my mother looks like and how I will never succeed in life because I stole a kill away from a teammate. Sorry dude.
   To me, team sports beat the individual stuff any day. Success is more fun when it is shared, but obviously not in Call of Duty. Teammate earn a care package? Obviously your first impulse is to run to the drop zone and steal it away from him so you can reap the goodies. Teammate hop into your favorite vantage point before you could? Knife him repeatedly in the back until he moves (and if you are playing on hardcore, great, because you can actually kill him and take the spot, sweet!). Remember when you played PE basketball in grade school and there was always that jerky kid who was the “ballhog”? Well, in CoD, there are millions of ballhogs. Have fun.
   Here is my message to all of those people out there who think a good Friday night is pulling off a 15-kill streak and yelling at Mom to bring more Doritos: you are impressing nobody. When I bought that Xbox last year, I was naturally excited, and told a girl who I was into at the time about my purchase. Her first question: “so what do you play like cod?” You can bet your cushion-crushing butt that I did everything in my power to disassociate myself with the franchise as fast as I possibly could. I went over to her house eventually, and lo and behold her little brother absolutely butchered any sort of mood I was trying to set by hollering through his television at some guy in Canada who had just thrown a virtual knife in his virtual back. We heard him from across the house. She voiced aloud her annoyance, and I silently thanked the Xbox gods for steering me away from such things. People (especially girls, which hopefully means something) generally do not think it is that cool when you pull off that no-scope headshot. You pushed a few buttons man, good job.
   Call me a noob, but like those awful playground days in grade school saw the ballhogs have all the fun, a small section of Call of Duty players ruined the whole thing for me. Keep your noob-tubes, your overpowered 50-cals, and your gravity-free bullets, because I want no part in any of it.

   Now go play outside.

I like to picture myself as Jim (John Krasinski) in this scenario.

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