Last night was my Playstation 3's maiden journey into online gaming. In retrospect, I should've chosen a game other than Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to attempt online play, seeing as it's possibly the most realistic and frenetic war game I've ever seen. There's an eerie palpability to the environments and to the actual act of killing in the game that is largely unsettling.
What's more unsettling is that, playing online, one gets to meet the sort of people who are drawn to virtually blowing away complete strangers. If a gamer is uncertain of whether or not he is playing an actual human online, he is treated to a stream of insults and expletives from the horde of teenagers who are live-chatting via USB headsets plugged in to their respective PS3s. And what is particularly unnerving is that the voices you hear are unmistakably young and terribly Southern American. Somehow, the thought of teen Arkansans fantasizing about chasing down and murdering Arabs is disturbing. Then again, it is our modern equivalent of playing army and is ultimately harmless.
The opponents may be young, but they're deadly. I would respawn and be shot dead in seconds. To add insult to injury, the game shows you a replay of your death from your killer's perspective, just to summarize what we've all learned during gameplay. For instance, it's inadvisable to look around wildly at the rooftops while standing in the middle of the street. Trying to use a sniper rifle on an enemy who is five feet in front of you is at best awkward and at worst futile, unless you want to get a Hubble Telescope view of his nostril before he blows your fucking head off with a shotgun.
Still, as you play, you learn that violence doesn't pay. Also, you learn that you get upgrades the more you play, so as soon as I can get into that helicopter, TravisBickle343 is going down.