To Whom It May Concern:
As a millennial, I have spent my entire life around video games. Like many peers, I grew up with video games in the house. Almost all of my friends played them, and it wasn’t out of the norm to overhear a conversation at school regarding strategies, cheat codes, and high scores of popular games. I remember the first my first console fondly, the glorious PlayStation, way ahead of its time tbh. The days of Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot were a much simpler. I remember the Pokemon craze of the late 90’s/early 00’s, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still trying to become the very best like no one ever was.
It almost pains me to say this, but “back in my day,” I never imagined that video games could morph into the beast they are today. Throughout 2018 the eSports market produced over $900 million in revenue with an audience north of 380 million (Statista). Not to mention the thousands of people that make a living streaming video games full-time on Twitch. I feel like I am missing out on the chance of a lifetime. And it all boils down to one single event that scarred me for life.
Let me take you back to the highlight of my video game career – summer of 2010. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was all the rage. I spent more time playing that one game, than every other game I’ve owned combined. After logging hundreds and hundreds of hours into something, you end up getting fairly decent at it – and I was. The most appealing thing about this game, the way that most people determined how good you are, was the tally of how many nukes you had gotten. If you could get 25 kills in a row without dying, MW2 sends you the nuclear launch codes – killing everyone and ending the game instantly. Up to this point, I had accumulated more nukes than North Korea & Russia combined. The odds of Donny T giving me some stupid nickname like “Rocket Man” were sky high, but I was almost at the tipping point.
This one night started like any other, spending hours and hours trying to accomplish this task. Out of all the thousands of multiplayer matches I played during MW2 this is the only one I remember vividly. The game was Demolition, the map was Rundown – arguably, the worst default map in MW2. The game started off poorly – I definitely don’t miss that grenade launcher setup everyone used to use. After about 6 deaths in a row, I had to look in the mirror and ask myself if I was actually a *shudders* noob. I earned 7 kills in a row, set up the dreaded Harrier Strike and got the air support I so desperately needed. With the assistance of my own personal fighter jet, it wasn’t long until I had 11 kills in a row – rewarding me with one of the crown jewel killstreaks – the Chopper Gunner (vastly superior to the AC-130, don’t even come at me with that garbage). I was finally rolling. The adrenaline was mounting, all I needed was 14 kills from the unbelievably overpowered helicopter to get the nuke I was fighting so hard for.
Like so many things in my life (Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, any Chiefs’ playoff run prior to the 2018 season, senior prom night) I was getting far too excited and had not braced myself for the inevitable disappointment. My Chopper Gunner had left me just short – 24 total kills. Things were looking bleak. I was deep in enemy territory, isolated from my teammates, and running out of time and ammo. Nothing but the pitter-pattering of rain and the sound of enemy footsteps coming through my TurtleBeach X11 headset. Rations were running low – my mom forgot to get more Doritos last time she went to the store. I was patrolling the very back of the map, just trying to catch one last person off guard and secure the MOAB. As if my prayers had been answered by the big man upstairs, I walk around the corner right as an enemy spawns. I take a couple of shots and quickly realize that this asshole has a riot shield equipped. No problem. I’ve faced this issue before, just throw a couple of stun grenades, run around him, take him out, and finish the game. One problem, my hands are shaking from excitement. Both grenades sail way over the soldier’s head, not phasing him even slightly. At this point, I’m beginning to panic. My next reaction is to turn and run away. Save some face and try to catch the next guy off guard. No dice. As I turn to run away, the human waste of life controlling the riot soldier pulls out out the standard issue Spas-12 shotgun, and shoots me dead from a completely unrealistic distance. Heartbreak. There is no recovering from that. The only thing that can be done after that is to press the power button on your Xbox 360 and never touch the game again.
It has now been almost a decade since this incident and I still haven’t recovered. I have since sworn off Call of Duty games completely (mostly because they have transformed into terrible, bullshit cash grabs by game developers that consistently release the same garbage), but I can’t help reminiscing on what could have been if I had completed that nuke. It’s not a far leap to think I could be hanging out with Ninja, FaZe, or Optic gaming, I’d probably even be a millionaire. Anyway, if you’re still reading this and expect a satisfying ending to the story, just consider me the Chris Kyle of virtual war. The end.