Bernardo Vigil

Since the emergence of the video game in the early 70s, society’s perception of the gamer has evolved from the timeless computer nerd complete with calculator watch and pocket protector, to basically every male above the age of ten and below the age of 35. Yes, today video gaming for hours on end has not only become socially acceptable for adolescent males, but a social requirement.

It is even quite possible that next to school-sponsored sports, video games-namely the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3-have become the preeminent method of male bonding in this generation, and it seems that no video game has brought men together like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

To non-gamers, it seems like sitting around and playing a video game would be something to do on one’s own when they don’t have anywhere to go. Few things could be further from the truth. Since the release of the game in November, COD MOD 2 parties and (both official and unofficial) tournaments that are popping up. Generally COD MOD 2 parties are surprisingly similar to other primarily male gatherings: lots of pizza, lots of swearing, and bottles upon bottles of Mountain Dew.

If you are still having a hard time picturing this, imagine a Super Bowl Party minus the women, good commercials and jerseys. When groups of teenage boys get together to play COD MOD 2, the few that are playing focus solely and intently on winning, while those that are not focus solely on distracting those who are. Typical attacks include simple taunting, “You’re terrible! You’re terrible! Way to miss! Have you ever evn played this game before?” (and for the record, usually the verbal spars are just a tad more explicit), to mock-erotic dancing, so simply blinding the player with one’s hands. Needless to say, usually the latter ends up in the game being paused and a few choice punches being thrown.

In keeping with the Super Bowl party metaphor, gamers and their supporters (if they had any) are quickly humbled if they lose. While the relentless teasing that occurs at these celebrations of testosterone may seem unappealing to some, gamers never seem to be having a better time than when they are surrounded by their friends trying to kill more people than the others and doing a victory dance when they do.

When parties are not a viable option, most gamers turn to online mode. One need travel no further to test this theory than any boy’s bedroom between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. which Wired magazine has described as the “prime time” of online gaming. Accessible from the X-Box, Playstation and PC versions of COD MOD 2, online mode allows players to duke it out with other real gamers from across the globe as opposed to being restricted to simply playing alone.

In addition to being able to play against anybody, gamers can join up with specific friends regardless of the geographic (or transportational) barriers that usually present themselves when trying to play video games with friends on school nights. Armed with their controllers and head-sets that allow for inter-player communication, many gamers report staying up well past midnight to continue battling friends. Junior Peter Schubloom describes the online mode as the best part of the game for one more reason, the ability to track one’s ranking in the world or amongst friends in regards to kills, accuracy, and overall score.

Although few games have received the universal praise that COD MOD 2 has, even fewer have received the attention that it has. Sophomore and Call of Duty aficionado Cisco Labayki said, “The best part is shooting stuff… aiming that trigger and pulling that trigger.” It seems that for whatever the reason, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is here to stay and will be the main event at many parties to come. As Labayki stated, “I play it till my PS3 breaks.”