"That's one thing I liked about BioShock," I say. "You play it and you're done. None of these artificial incentives to keep playing in perpetuity."
"God, is everything BioShock with you?" Trevor says. "Can we not talk about BioShock for five minutes? Which reminds me, I need to get my achievement for finding all the audio diaries. How cool would multiplayer BioShock have been? That game totally needed co-op. You should have rated it lower because it didn't have co-op."
"Okay, let's vote." It's time for me to rally everyone to help them learn to love Quake Wars, even though we just got severely beaten by people who are good at the game and organized to boot. In other words, people who spoil the fun for everyone else. "Quake Wars ranked server or unranked server? Who votes unranked?"
"Ugh, no voting," Douglas says. "That didn't work so well last time. I'm just going to play Halo. Hey, new guy, you didn't fuck up my save did you?"
"When are we going to play RTSs?" Peter asks, having long since passed his threshold for motion sickness from playing a first person shooter.
"I'm about to leave," Jude says. "I have to work in the morning."
"Yeah, I should get going, too," the new guy says. "That Halo game is exhausting."
"Anyone want to help play Battlefield 2142 and help vote me in as commander?" Trevor asks. "For my Distinguished Unit Service Ribbon?"
"I will," Mike volunteers. "I haven't played that game. It sounds cool."
"Anyone besides Mike?"
And that's it for the evening for Quake Wars. We will still play, but it won't be a regular like Team Fortress 2, which requires a minimal investment to enjoy, or Halo 3, which has reached critical mainstream mass and will be occasionally played out of a sense of obligation, or Aliens vs. Predator 2, which is our oldest dearest friend at Shoot Club. It's just not possible to enforce on a group of guys a given game any more than it's possible for them to make the correct choice between Coke and Pepsi (Dr. Pepper), or about whether the Transformers movie was any good (it wasn't), or about how you pronounce C'thulhu (Trevor has some misguided notion that there's a hard 'T' in there).
Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club appears in this space every Thursday.