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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The first and last time I’ll play a Call of Duty game on PC

Like most males of a certain age group, I spent a ton of hours playing Xbox Live shooters. Halo was my jam but when you're in middle school or early high school you tend to go with trends. Which meant I also played a lot of Call of Duty.

Recently I finished up Final Fantasy XV with Persona 4 coming up next. One thing I like to do between big RPGs is to play a "pallet cleanser" game. Something simple or not really too involved. Last year I sprinkled my Final Fantasy binge with Spyro games or Xenoverse 2. Spend a few hours jumping around collecting that good stuff and then back to melodramatic dialouge about killing gods or what it means to be alive. COD4 was on sale, I realized that I had never actually played it back in the day on my 360 and I wanted to test out my new gaming PC. Picked it up expecting a good, stupid time.

I'm not having a good time. The game looks great even in 2021, the sound design is excellent especially with headphones and that gun play is just crisp. Using a sniper rifle has been my favorite thing. I'm using mouse and keyboard for the first time, so I'm hilariously throwing grenades when I want to reload. These are all positive things.

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I just have come to realize that at 26 I don't really like shooting people. Aliens, monsters, robots I don't mind. But as I play this game I feel uneasy with the tiny digital murders I'm committing. I just did the AC-130 mission and hearing the dialouge treat it like a video game ("Good kill, good kill") is just uncomfortable. I really don't feel great about shooting some poorly armed and armored guy holding an AK and wearing like blue collar clothes. I feel invincible, and I feel dirty.

I know that these games don't really say anything about me as a person. Going into this game I knew I would be shooting people. But I'm not having fun, I feel like I'm making a big mistake with each level.

I guess that shows you just how powerful video games can be. I feel like I'm playing now out of a sort of obligation. I want to see this through and from an academic sense I like exploring my feelings as I play a game I wouldn't have thought twice about in my youth. Having a fantasy disconnect (they're aliens, not humans) I feel makes this genre palpable to me in a way more realistic shooters don't.


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