In the name of full disclosure, I’m not that big into first-person shooters. This may seem peculiar when the very next thing I say is that I love the FPS series Call of Duty.
First of all, shooters are way too goddam easy, even on the hardest difficulty setting. I beat Modern Warfare 2 on Veteran mode in roughly six hours and a six pack. However, I’m drawn to this series. For the last three years I didn’t have Internet, and I still bought every installment at launch.
Like many gamers, I paid no attention to the series until Modern Warfare. All of my friends had it, and after a few rounds in a variety of friends’ basements (it’s a stereotype for a reason), I eventually got it as well. World at War introduced zombies, which I never and still haven’t gotten into. I like winning, not postponing failure. I’m weird like that. Then Modern Warfare 2 arrived, and that got the ball rolling fast.
A Tale Of Three Brothers
I need to tell a story to explain why I love this series. The thing is, I actually have a sentimental attachment to it.
I have three older brothers with age differences ranging from a year and a half to eight years. While I really don’t have much of a relationship with my oldest brother for reasons I won’t discuss, my immediate older brother and I never got along growing up. Then the moment he went to college and we were no longer sharing a room let alone a house, we were fine. Black and white, 180 degree difference in behavior to each other. But we were never really “bros.” He was my brother, but we weren’t “bros.”
My brother, and I to a lesser extent, played soccer. He was a damn good player too, and continued to play during college until he tore his ACL in junior year. While recovering, he essentially needed around-the-clock care. Seeing how after high school I didn’t do shit for three years until I decided I was stuck in a hole I needed to get out of (hence why I joined the Army), this responsibility fell to me.
By this point, we hadn’t been living together for three years, so we were cool with each other. I made his meals, I replaced the ice in this weird machine that pumped cold water to his knee and prevented it from swelling, I scratched his back, I helped him piss, you name it. He was essentially stuck in a chair for two months. The only thing he could do was sit, watch TV, and play games.
About this time, Modern Warfare 2 was released. He handed me his debit card, told me the pin, and off I went to GameStop. We played through the campaign first, but that only lasted roughly eight hours the first time. Then we hit multiplayer.
Two months of my life is me sitting with my brother, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and shooting the shit. We’d cheer for each other, laugh, talk shit to twelve year olds, I’d leave to get Wendy’s, then come back to the mayhem. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and I did. A year later, almost to the day, he tore his other ACL. Just in time for Black Ops.
This was the moment in our lives when we leveled up from brothers to “bros.” This time, my next older brother joined us for two months of smoking, joking, and drinking. We could stack the cans to the ceiling by the end of every night for two months. Three brothers forged a permanent unbreakable bound playing Call of Duty. We have our differences, but put a controller in our hands, and fuck our differences.
Granted, any game could have done this. It could just as easily of been Halo or Battlefield. The fact my brother tore his ACLs in November is merely a coincidence. We did play plenty of Twilight Princess and Mario Party to keep variety, but the all-night marathons, crazy I-barely-remember-but-will-never-forget nights were Call of Duty.
This series built the relationships I have to this day with my brothers, and I will cherish that forever.
It may not be the best FPS, but it’s my favorite. I unabashedly, and with zero irony, love this series.
Do you have a story of how games forged lasting bonds? Share it below.