Musings of a Modern Warfare Widow

Unlike most kids, I didn’t grow up with video games. I never owned a Nintendo or a Sega, and the closest I ever got to gaming was playing Dr. Mario on my daycare’s Super NES. My parents didn’t allow or approve of them (at least, that was and is still my impression), so when I reached high school, I was amazed that a person could get so involved in pushing buttons.

Cut to my relationship with J. He is an avid gamer. We host LAN parties. Midnight release of Halo 3: ODST? We were there. He owns and loves some of the most popular first person shooters (I didn’t know what that meant until I started dating him), as well as classics like Starcraft. I generally keep my position as observer and cheerleader, because I don’t have patience to learn all the controls. I dabble in Gears of War (Lancer with a chainsaw attachment! OMFGWTFBBQ!) and I enjoy Rockband, especially now that we have some Maroon 5 and Queen downloads. But the Tom Clancy stuff, the Halo saga….I just didn’t get it.

Last week, J picked up a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. He’s been playing it pretty nonstop, except when I make him go to work, eat, go to the bathroom, shower me with love and affection, etc. And at first, the game was, at best, obnoxious. I tired playing the first one, see, and there’s this training mission you have to do. And the Captain kept yelling at me to go faster. I don’t do well when people are yelling at me, so to complete the mission at all, we had to mute the TV. Yeah. I’m that pathetic. It’s okay, take a moment to scoff and contemplate exactly how big of a weenie I am. I’ll wait.

Anyway. When J brought home MW2, I was expecting more loud noises, and people yelling in British accents, and exploding, and J cursing “Ivan sonsabitches!” every time an enemy killed him. On those points, I was dead on. What I didn’t expect was that I would get sucked into the story line. Parts of this game have made me cry. I got attached to characters. I’m emotionally involved, and that rarely happens when I watch films, forget video games. But there’s a real, honest-to-god plot. A good one. One with twists and turns and surprises that left both out mouths hanging open. I want Modern Warfare novels. Now, if you please.

And then there’re the visuals. I have never seen a game so lifelike. Each enemy dies in a different way, even if they’re shot in the same place. Two head wounds will collapse differently. A shot to the chest and a shot to the back? Completely different. Just like reality. When you’re in Russia, the bullets make the snow puff up. Crawling on your stomach, next to a boulder, you can see every shadow and discoloration and crack in that rock. The attention to detail is mind boggling. There are trained attack dogs, and you have to break their necks, otherwise you’ll get mauled. I can’t watch when J does that, because it looks too effing real.

Have I mentioned the score? The pretty background music composed by…who was that again? Oh yeah. Hans FREAKING Zimmer. The guy who did Dark Knight and Gladiator (and Cool Runnings! Anyone else remember that movie?? We are the Jamaican bobsled team!). Ooh, and the VO actors? Kevin McKidd of Journeyman and Grey’s Anatomy fame, Keith David, who has apparently had a cameo on every show ever, and….50 Cent? What? The rapper, 50 Cent, he provides voices for all the extra bits not attached to the main campaign. I was surprised, too.

I know there’s still a lot of controversy about war based video games, whether or not they make kids psycho-killers, blahdeblahdeblah. I’ll tackle that issue another time (or simply refer you to Penn and Teller’s BS episode regarding that debate), but it’s safe to say that this game is definitely not meant for someone not yet in high school. I would maintain the most first person shooters aren’t, but the violence doesn’t take away from how masterful Modern Warfare 2 is. It’s a collaboration of all forms of fine art, and I think it should be recognized as art in its own right.

Needless to say, as soon as J beats it on Veteran level, I’ll be trying it on Normal. Possibly easy. Depends on how many characters are yelling at me.

4 Responses to “Musings of a Modern Warfare Widow”

  1. Stella Says:

    It’s okay, my boyfriend is currently a Brütal Legend widower. But I’m slowly luring him into playing it with me. MUAAAHAHAHAHAAAAA

  2. TheOmniAdam Says:

    That’s why Video Games are being called the 4th Media. It also means game makers and designers are being recognized as artists…

    I’ve heard spectacular things about MW2, though be prepared to play as the bad guys in some levels, if I’ve heard accurately. Like, BAD bad guys.

  3. D. Says:

    I wonder how many books you would not have read.

  4. Carolyn Says:

    I also had no video games growing up.

    I’ve now been sucked into World of Warcraft (okay, it’s a computer game, not a video game, but it’s the same effect).

    I am really enjoying being in a group of people who love games of all kinds, computer, video, board. There’s so much fun to be had.

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