Revisiting Call of Duty.

April 2, 2014

Political Theory


Revisiting the Call of Duty series was nothing short of refreshing. Having grown out of the online first person shooter in high school (for many reasons, I realized in retrospect), playing this game with a more critical and analytical lens was extremely interesting. After roughly a six year hiatus from the first person shooter format, I struggled to get the hang of the mechanics, but I noticed how much more realistic these worlds within the game have gotten.

Being successful during a first person shooter like Call of Duty created a dominating sense similar to being a predator. However, due to the fact that I was not as successful as my glory days in high school, I was the easy prey for my competition. I had become the exact type of target that, as a skilled player used to single out and boost my ranking by constantly killing them, otherwise known as “pwning a noob”. When I was successful in killing though, the first person nature of the camera work made me feel a deeper sense of empowerment. I was most successful at sniping people from a distance, a skill I used to despise. However, I knew I could not simply run around and take opponents one-on-one without being killed nearly instantly. The most startled I felt would be instances of assassination while sniping. If someone snuck up on me and killed me out of no where, the heart rate would increase and the controller would become more sweaty. This phenomenon drove me to conclude that this type of game was easily the most immersive compared to other formats of games. The more I played, the more I was immersed into the soldier real world, however something interesting occurred to me.

Playing a first person shooter is like playing a competitive sport. It stopped feeling like a realistic battle ground but rather a competition in which I wanted my team to win. I was no longer scared of being killed, but rather my ratio of kills to deaths being favorable and beating the other team. Nevertheless, the way in which I competed started to blend these two types of immersiveness together. On the one hand, I wanted to win, but on the other hand, I wanted to absolutely destroy my opponent. I am unsure if this correlates to real world war scenarios, as I have never been in the armed forces, but I imagine this game portrays a realistic experience, where at times perhaps some realism is compromised in favor for a better gaming experience.

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