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Shooting Fake People in Realistic Ways

I was going to include my XBox 360 gamercard, but 1) I couldn’t get it to embed right, and 2) I thought better of it at the last minute. I may, in future, reconsider my decision — it’s not like I actually go on live to multiplay, anyway.

And no, I don’t have enough free time to justify having cracked open Call of Duty 4 yesterday. And I rather proudly managed to keep myself to about 30 minutes of playing before shutting it down for the night, but…damn!

Call of Duty 2 was the first game on the 360 I got into (though I tried, how I tried, to love this one, and apologies in advance for those who follow the link and are assaulted by the music). I loved it. It chewed me up and spat me out, and still I loved it. Tears would stream down my cheeks when I played this game because I was afraid to blink for fear of missing something (Stalingrad, winter, snowing, visibility for crap, and let me just say the smoke effects? outstanding). I died early and often. It was great.

This was the fault of mercuryeric, as he was the one who turned me onto this particular dose of crack. I emailed him after playing the first level and consistently failing to, uh, survive, asking for advice. He wrote back: “1) ditch crappy Russian weaponry for not-crappy German weaponry ASAP. 2) Shoot. 3) Don’t get shot. 4) repeat 2 and 3.”

Funny guy. Funny, funny guy.

Thing about CoD2 was that it managed to — at least to me — be an FPS set during WWII, to be a game, and a truly enjoyable one, and yet to somehow not diminish the horror of the truth. Somehow, and I don’t know how the folks at Infinity Ward managed this, they created a game that was at once incredibly fun, and yet never once allowed me to believe that I would, for one moment, have survived the real thing. It’s a peculiar compliment, I suppose, but it impressed the hell out of me, and the efforts to remain at least nominally historically accurate were appreciated (unlike in Medal of Honor Airborne with it’s addition of, I shit you not, super Nazis).

It’s not that MoHA was a bad game — it looked good, it had some fun gameplay. But it somehow didn’t reach that same level of tactile, visceral “reality” (yes, yes, I know, it’s a VIDEO GAME) that CoD2 seemed to do with such (apparent) ease, and it certainly, at the end, failed to leave me with the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that COD2 did. To whit: I’m not replaying MoHA; I still play CoD2.

And the less said about the bitter, bitter disappointment that was CoD3, the better (though, it should be noted, CoD3 was not, repeat, not, made by Infinity Ward).

This new one, “Modern Warfare,” I’m not far enough into it to pass any sort of judgment (and frankly, I’m probably not one to be passing that sort of judgment anyway, other than to say that “I liked it” or “I didn’t”, which throws this whole post into question, certainly), but thus far, the franchise’s promise seems to be upheld.

And you start the game as a member of the 22 SAS, which has its own cool, in my opinion.

42 Responses to Shooting Fake People in Realistic Ways

  1. speakerwiggin

    haven’t played the CoD series yet. I prefer my FPSes to be sci-fi for shallow reasons.

    my current fav 360 game, even though it’s short – portal.

  2. alasdair

    The inamorata bought a 360 the other week. Thus far, I’ve bought Halo 3, and am stupidly excited about Mass Effect (she already bought Bioshock). Should I a) buy CoD4 as well, or b) accept that there is only a limited amount of time in the day, and save my time for Mass Effect, do you think?

    And is there anything else I’m missing?

  3. admin

    I have Bioshock waiting, and it’s waiting for the same reason that Mass Effect will wait — I suspect both shall be exceptionally obsessive-making. Everyone I know who’s played Bioshock loves the game, and from the very little I did play of it, I can see why.

    As for Mass Effect, it’s got a good pedigree, but I’m actually a little leery; I like BioWare for their RPGs more than for their shooters.

    That said, I’ve got it pre-ordered, so, y’know, I’m a hypocrite.

    I will say that, if you like shooters, I can whole-heartedly and without reservation recommend CoD2. As for CoD4, as I said, they got me, but I’ve yet to play through enough to speak about the game as a whole.

    And hey, if you get CoD2, then we can try to kill each other from across the big blue, and that’s got to be a good thing, right?

  4. jeffrey

    We have a print of your icon framed and on the wall, along with three of his other works. Bawidamann for the win!

  5. admin

    He rocks so much it’s not funny. This past SDCC, he was my first stop, just so I could pick up some shirts while he still actually had them in stock. I love his work.

  6. alasdair

    From what I’ve seen of it (which, OK, isn’t much) Mass Effect looks to me like an RPG with some slightly more shooter-y elements, rather than an out and out shooter, which is why I’m excited. I may be in for a bit of a let-down…

    CoD2 should be available cheap, so I’ll pick it up when I can. And then you can shoot the shit out of me, assuming I can get this Live business working…

  7. kali921

    “1) ditch crappy Russian weaponry for not-crappy German weaponry ASAP. 2) Shoot. 3) Don’t get shot. 4) repeat 2 and 3.”

    This is sound advice above and BEYOND the gaming sphere. You realize this, yes? Aside from being snarkily brilliant gaming advice for you?

    This gets my Arthur icon.

    Pray and spray. Pray and spray.

  8. anw

    Yet once again, those of us looking for good beefcake are starved – starved I say! – by the cruel oppression of the heterarchy!

  9. jeffrey

    Yeah, and I caught him at Wizard Chicago a few years back (before moving to the fire pits of Apokolips, better known as LA) and we bought four prints and two shirts, and went back before we left to get even MORE prints and he’d sold out. He’s truly magnificent.

  10. lithera

    I will be buying a 360. My resistance to it has been worn down by so many factors and I must have Rock Band. I saw a preview last night for Mass Effect At the Battlestar Galactica pre-screening I saw. (BTW, Razor is excellent if you enjoy the show at all. And they gave me this cute little Cylon action figure.) I liked what I saw.

    Most FPS games weren’t really things I enjoyed because most of the ones my friends played on seemed to need me to configure my fingers into strange shapes with the keyboard and remember what seventeen different keys did. I remember playing GoldenEye and loving the hell out of it. So, once I get the 360 and I lose my voice from singing every single song on Rock Band, I will probably end up getting Mass Effect and Call of Duty 4.

  11. scrnwrtinghack

    Played the COD4 MP Beta and thought it was pretty good.

    Just need to finish my NaNoWrimo Novel and COD4 awaits! And, yeh Mass Effect and Bioshock is a must.

    GT: rkbentley

  12. ajr

    CoD2 will always be a very, very special game to me. It was only the second game I got for my 360 (which I purchased at launch, more fool me), and unlike many of my jaded friends, it was new to me. I never had a PS2, and I gave up gaming on the PC after Half-Life, so I hadn’t experienced any other WW2-based FPS games before[1], and had no idea what to expect.

    What I got was a game that blew me away. I was really impressed by the way that it was a set of incredibly cleverly constructed set-pieces, so that instead of wandering corners blasting things it really felt like you were fighting a proper war. And in its authenticity, it felt true to the actual events, or near enough.

    Partially because of the achievements, but mostly because I liked the game so much (and hey, it was only one of two I had at the time), I went back and played through the whole thing again on Veteran difficulty. It was, to pick a word, harrowing. I sometimes joke that by the end of the experience it damn near had be suffering from PTSD, so brutal was it.

    In short. One of the best games I ever played. I hope you forgive my geeking out above.

    I haven’t got CoD4 yet. I ordered it from Amazon last week, and I’m still waiting for it to find its way through the postal service to my doorstep.

    [1] Alright, technically I played Wolfenstein 3D back in the day, but that doesn’t really count.

  13. admin

    You and starved are words I never really expect to see in the same sentence, you foodie, you.

    Though it does make me wonder what WWII nose art would’ve been like if it’d featured beefcake instead of cheesecake.

  14. anw

    Have you received a copy of the book yet? I’ll happily send you one if you haven’t ordered one. (I assume Jen told you about it?)

    No-one really does beefcake in that style, as far as I know – partly because I think there’s something about the bent back pose that defines the style, and men tend to look silly sticking their boobs out. Men aren’t… so aerodynamic.

  15. stealthbunny

    Several years ago, my friends (all men) sat me in front of the tv with a game console, a gun thingie attachment, and a shoot-bad-guys type game. I kept telling them I never played video games any more. In turn, they kept teasing me about how I used to tell them that I hunted and target-shot as a kid, so this was my chance to prove that.

    A few minutes later, they very quietly took the gun away from me.

    I scared them, not so much because I hit every single target, but because I knee-capped and groin-shot almost every one of them.

    They never sat me in front of a video game again.

  16. davesbu

    Played Bioshock, my attention span doesn’t last with video games. I get bored quick, which I guess is a good thing. Though I still appreciate my playstation 2 and obsessively play Ultimate Spider-Man and God of War over and over again.

  17. kali921

    What? No love for Tom of Finland?!

  18. mercuryeric

    To be fair, the advice is a distillation of the “United States Marine Corps Rules of Gunfighting in Warfare”, highlights of which include:

    1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

    2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Your life is expensive.

    6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

    7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

    9.5 Use a gun that works EVERY TIME.

    10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

    11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

    12. Have a plan.

    13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.

    18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

    20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

    21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

    24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a “.4″

    (And of course, there’s the corollary: the United States Navy Rules for Gunfighting in Warfare:

    1. Adopt aggressive offshore posture.

    2. Deploy Marines.

    3. Drink Coffee.)


  19. nealbailey

    Coincidentally, I managed to do about a half hour of the same game last night, and found Call of Duty 2 to be an awesome game I’ve played through twice. I actually prefer the first one to the second, not sure why, but I love both. Something about killing Nazis and Terrorists on a massive scale. The brutal realism of Modern Warfare has got me hooked. I’ll probably get another half hour in in a week, heh.

    I do the PC thing, though. Something about gaming consoles and FPS games can grate on me. But that ship escape…holy hell.

  20. portax

    Coming from someone who plays a lot of first person shooters: CoD 4 is amazing. It’s definitely one of the best games this year. As much as I love getting your comics in a timely fashion, you should take six hours or so off to play through the whole game. It’s a short game, but it’s so damn good. There are moments in the game where I just sat there and thought, “holy shit.”

    And after you finish CoD 4, you should pick up The Orange Box and play Portal.

  21. admin


    How’d you DO that?!?

  22. admin

    The Live business actually isn’t too hard. Email me when you’re set up and we’ll exchange gamertags, etc, etc, ad nauseum. If nothing else, it’ll allow us to chat.

    You realize this is the most we’ve conversed since I was actually IN London last, do you not?

  23. admin

    Jennifer did, in fact, order a copy of the book, and I haven’t seen it since it arrived. I am looking forward to reading it (and AJ’s novel, as well, which I promised him I’d read, like, four months ago, and still have not done). I am somewhat cheesed at you, however, for neglecting to inform me of the impending publication so I could justly shower you with congratulations and other like praise.

    There are plenty of aerodynamic men. If you doubt me, take a look at the post about Makoto Nagano.

  24. admin

    I fear a grossly misquoted him, actually, but the funny survived nonetheless.

    And hey! I keep emailing you about those promised links, and I keep not hearing from you (and fear that you’re getting caught in my spam filter). Please advise!

  25. admin

    CoD2 or CoD4?

  26. nealbailey

    Call of Duty 4. I bought it about a week ago, finally had time to pop it in last night.

  27. kali921

    …I just found your first e-mail in my spam folder, and promptly had a stern “talk” with my Yahoo address book and spam settings. I’ll reply tomorrow! Sorry, I got totally crushed at work today (seven clinical trials around the world, HELLO, yet I somehow managed to spam the blogsphere with LJ entries), but will reply post haste, sir.

  28. jaydici

    I gotta say, Assassin’s Creed is the best game I’ve played on the 360 so far. The end will drop kick your ass repeatedly if you haven’t perfected the fighting system or what I call the “gingerbread man exploit” (running in circles so the bad guys can’t kill you). All of the cities are beautiful, and the story is the strongest I’ve seen in a game for a while.


  29. kali921

    Speaking as a woman who dated an Army Ranger…

    You are talking to a woman that dated an Army Ranger for years, a man who, while managing to manifest the apex of compassionate Buddhism in virtually every sphere of his life, was nicknamed “Jeff, Lord of the Sith,” and could kill you seventeen different ways with naught but a flimsy piece of lint.

    1. Adopt aggressive offshore posture.

    2. Deploy Marines.

    3. Drink Coffee.)

    You forgot #4: Duly underwhelm all other branches of the United States armed forces.

    Despite your critical error in leaving out #4, I think I would like to be your friend, sir.

  30. nealbailey

    Do you have the full version of this? I have a guy in my new book who would love to have it posted above his cubicle (totally seriously, while others think him joking) as he slowly takes over the world from a small grey box…

  31. nealbailey

    “gray” Dammit. Tired. Sorry.

  32. kali921

    Postus scriptus.

    PS – By Iluvatar in all the heavens, thank you for using that icon. I love that icon every time I see it around LiveJournal.

  33. alasdair

    Will do.

    (And, er, yes. I may have some slight deficiencies in the correspondence area.)

  34. anw

    I’m coy. Anyway, my book is an easy read, even you should be able to find time for it! And you’re one of only a small handful of people who’s read my other, unpublished book. As for Makoto Nagano, I think he’s more jet engine than nose cone.

  35. anw

    Ample love for Tom of Finland, his work absolutely typifies beefcake – but first of all he’s dead, and second he wasn’t really a pin-up artist. There’s definitely a gap in the market for cheeky, well-composed retro beefcake pin-up art. I suppose Glenn Larson and J Bone both get close to it, but neither of them dedicate the time to it – and I think the largely unknown Benoit Prevot produces gorgeous work, but his stuff is more Berlin cabaret than Waikiki beach.

  36. anw

    I should add – it’s only Tom of Finland’s style that typifies beefcake. The content of most of his work is much, much too explicit to be considered beefcake.

  37. speakerwiggin

    (i’m an idiot – forget my last comment)

    html – <img src=”image.png”>

    if you copied and pasted their code it may have just been busted.

  38. mercuryeric

    Not handy; actually, just Google “USMC Rules of Gunfighting” and you’ll find it quick-like.


  39. jmorse

    I just picked up CoD4 on your recommendation. Can’t wait to try it out.

  40. jmorse

    I just finished the AC-130 mission. I had a huge shit-eating grin on my face the whole time. I’ve always wanted a game that offered this.

  41. thepattyman

    CoD4 is soooo much fun. I’ve played through the single player campaign and had a blast. I’m not much of a multi-player type of guy, but I have to admit that the multi-player is, surprisingly, a lot of fun. I’m currently switching between Assassin’s Creed (beautiful game, but a repetitive), Rock Band (f’n METAL!) and Mass Effect. Good stuff. I’m kind of glad that there aren’t any more big game releases happeneing for a few more months (GTA IV).

  42. nealbailey

    This is a long while late, but thank you for this. Just tagged it and put it in the research file for book six.

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