Duty Bound

willardWhen the nights are drawing in, and there is a fire crackling in the hearth there is nothing I like better than throw another fragmentation grenade into a room and improve my kill ratio on Call of Duty 4.

For those of you who have been living without electricity or have just returned from alien abduction, Call of Duty 4 (affectionately known as COD4) is a first person shooter on the Xbox 360. The meat and potatoes of this game is the multiplayer. For those of you who don’t know, Multiplayer is a means of being systematically humiliated by American 12yr olds as you gamely test your aging reflexes in a succession of depressing locations (most look like trading estates in Slough) whilst being sledged over VOIP. It doesn’t sound like much fun, but it really is.

I imagine that a lot of you are reading this, smugly congratulating yourselves that on a winter’s night you read Plato in the original text and whittle wood into the shapes of European monuments as your neatly dressed family act out a spirited game of charades – and your only physical task is to clap, politely, when mother gets the charade of Debbie Does Dallas acted out by your sweating children. However, I have to make do with COD4 on Xbox Live…because:

  1. It’s beautifully made. Infynity Ward have lavished such time and attention on this game that there is not one glitch, bug or mistake that I can detect. Every model, texture and effect has been lovingly crafted and the voice acting and dialogue actually ring true. Try and say that next time you watch another Guy Rithie film.
  2. It’s social. Granted, a lot of the conversations are abuse, but I take what I can get sometimes.
  3. It’s accurate. I don’t mean in terms of depiction, I means in terms of weaponry. When I first played this game I couldn’t hit a barn door with a bucket of peas and I stumbled around the environments like a lost drunk, occasionally taking wild shots at my devilishly mobile opponents. But eventually I learned to take my time and shoot down the sights, and that’s satisfying.
  4. It’s fun. When you get good and join a decent game that’s not full of kids telling you – continually – that you’re a noob, and you know the layout of the map; it can be great fun trying to outwit some of the better players.

To conclude, a bit of a glossary of terms (that you may or may not have been aware of) that I have found quite amusing:

  1. Noob. Used as a derogatory term by ‘experienced’ players to describe anyone who isn’t experienced. I have discovered that it is an all encompassing, universal multiplayer insult and sometimes no matter how good you are, some 12yr old is going to call you a noob. I try and point out that because of their age, they are – ultimately – always going to be a noob in comparison to me. Their response, predictably, is that this makes me a noob.
  2. Camper. Someone who finds a sweet spot to sit and ruins the fun for everyone else. So, basically the same as the other, more well known definition…except, without the killing.
  3. Bunny Hopper. A player who perpetually jumps up and down to evade gun fire. It is ineffective and eventually makes the player look like a tool…or, indeed, a noob.
  4. Noob Tube. Overuse of the grenade launcher. When you first play COD4 the grenade launcher seems like a splendid idea until you realise that it is actually very difficult to kill anyone with it…so, ironically, there is a weird cache when an experienced player gets a kill using one.
  5. Nade Rain. In team matches, both teams throw grenades as high as they can creating a shower of grenades. Even the best players die in nade rain, but unfortunately dying in such a way make you a noob.
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