A few weeks ago, I sat down on my friend’s couch and watched him as he played a game on his Xbox. It’s something I’ve seen done before; I’ve spent pretty much my whole life watching my brother transition from one game console to another. We both grew up playing Duck Hunt and Tetris on the original Nintendo console, eventually evolving to play Sonic on Sega and then Super Mario Brothers and Mario Kart on Super Nintendo. These games, to me, were the best games ever conceived. But somehow, I missed the whole online gaming era, one that spawned the likes of Halo and Final Fantasy, and I never really caught onto the whole role-playing game concept. It all seemed pointless and boring to me until one fated day last week in my friend’s living room.
I’ve seen my brother play for countless hours on his PS3 and never quite understood it, but I suppose it’s my fault for never trying. My friend was playing Call Of Duty: Black Ops and I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the way he was shooting people, dodging grenades and aiming down the sight of his automatic weapon to kill someone from the opposing team–someone who was actually a live person playing from some random location in the world. It seemed easy enough: point the gun and shoot, right? But when my friend laughed at me and my naive thoughts about the game, I knew I had to face the challenge. He passed me a controller and introduced me to the world of first person shooter gaming, territory I never knew I’d want to explore.
And explore I did. He put us in some sort of one-on-one training board where it was a simple enough goal to achieve–or so I thought: kill the other person as many times as you can within the time limit specified. By the time I even learned how to move around, I was blown up, throat-slashed or shot to death dozens of times. My friend showed me NO mercy and was enjoying himself with each kill. I didn’t understand that sick fascination with virtually killing someone until I finally killed him for the first time. The rush I felt from seeing his body drop to the floor in cinematic slow motion, blood splatter and all, was such a thrill! I knew at that moment that I was hooked.
…Hooked enough, in fact, to walk into Best Buy that very weekend and buy a console on a whim. I found a sales associate and asked him plainly, “I want a gaming console. Which is better, Playstation or Xbox?” …The looks on his face and the face of the associate standing next to him were priceless. “You want to buy…a console?” they both asked, shocked that a female could walk into a store and make a random purchase of a so-called boy toy like that. They didn’t know what to do with themselves. Naturally, one was a PS3 fan and the other was an Xbox fan. Having experienced the game on the Xbox and pushed over the edge by the fact that it has Kinect (which is an entirely different world of COOL in itself!), plus the fact that my brother already owns a PS3 and it doesn’t make sense to have two of them in the house, I decided to buy an Xbox. It came bundled with an extra controller plus the Kinect device. I got two games: Black Ops, of course (which I think made the associate fall in love with me when I asked for it), and a dance game for Kinect. He asked for my hand in marriage as he walked me to the check-out line. Priceless! :)
So for the past week, I’ve looked forward to playing Black Ops, spending hours training and trying to master virtual assassination for the simple sake of entertainment. I’ve studied guns, explored maps, shot down helicopters and delivered buzz kills. And what a RUSH! With each level I reach, I unlock new perks/guns/devices and get even better at killing other players. My mom heard all the gunshots coming from my room one night and almost freaked out when she realized what I was playing. It took her only five minutes of watching me before she asked me to play it herself!
It makes me wonder why more chicks don’t play these games. Maybe it’s because society has it made out to be a guy thing, like watching football or something (which is another thing I didn’t realize I enjoyed until I actually sat down and watched an entire game for once last year). But I’m a firm believer that if more chicks picked up the controller for one of these consoles, they’d understand why their boyfriends and brothers spend countless hours of their lives playing video games.
So there it is. I have a new-found obsession. And to think, this is only ONE game! Imagine what will happen when I purchase more! In the meantime, I’m practicing hard so I can battle with the boys. :) For all Xbox players, my gamertag is rozberri. Find me!