In one of my first columns here on The Escapist, a reader suggested that the gaming generation(s) will grow up telling different stories than other generations. I think everyone can think of a relative that just won’t shut up about something they did ten years ago, how they caught the biggest fish or walked uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes. Perhaps as we grow up with videogames we will begin relating our in-game experiences in the same way – and why not? If you’re anything like me, you spend a significant amount of your time in different worlds (most of the time shooting people, or blowing things up, or both).
So I took the idea and ran with it. I rounded up a few keen industry folks and asked for their best gaming anecdotes. But I’d be a hack if I didn’t throw in one of my most memorable gaming moments as well.
Age: Twelve. Locale: Parents’ basement (classy). The game was a clan skirmish in Call of Duty 2. TeamSpeak fell silent as I checked the scoreboard to see that I – the youngest player in the clan – was the last one alive, in the deciding round of the skirmish. My rifle was nearly empty, and I certainly wasn’t the best player on our team. I proceeded to stalk the map, my “trigger finger” at the ready. My pre-teen heart skipped a beat; at the other end of the dusty desert street my counterpart on the British team emerged. Both teams waited with baited breath.
We exchanged hasty rifle shots and as we closed ground, we traded our empty rifles for pistols. A deadly dance of close-quarters hopping and circle-strafing ensued. I’m certain that in that hurricane of movement and gunfire my mental faculties escaped me, only to return with the final bang of a pistol. The bloody Call of Duty damage vignette pulsed around my screen, and at my feet was the British player, now a British corpse. TeamSpeak erupted in surprised cheers of glee, and I struggled to contain the adrenaline pumping through my pasty suburban veins.
The following contributions were put together specifically for this article, to share with all of you. Enjoy!
“Instead of trading charlie horses until one of us conceded, Cory and I talked incessant streams of seriously inane crap. Our intent: distract one another during serial Mortal Kombat II matches.
Ordinarily, this occurred in a dorm room without witnesses and where the stakes were purely psychological. ‘You can’t win with that crap, you cheating cheap ass. Why try? Hang your head, you despicable little dirt.’ And on it went.
He’d win. I’d win. It worked because we could count on streaks and the alternating license they afforded to utter aggravating and unspeakable stupidities. The danger was always that, one day, neither the streak nor the shit talking would exhaust itself before they obliterated the loser’s ego, as they eventually did in a San Diego arcade where an audience and dwindling dollars magnified the growing insult. I wasn’t going to win.
I walked out and drove off – a bitch maneuver by itself, but more so considering that he’d have to call his parents to come and pick him up.”
— Shawn Elliott, Associate Producer at 2K Boston
“My son Cullen, who was eight at the time, started playing a lot of Call of Duty 4 multiplayer. Terrible parenting notwithstanding, the kid was getting pretty good. So one day he challenged me to a split-screen deathmatch, and I happily accepted. I’ve never been very competitive, and am one of those dads who easily lets his kids win if it makes them feel good.
And so it began. One kill, two kills, three kills – I was handing Cullen a good head start. I then told him, ‘Okay, buddy. I’m gonna bring it now. I hope you’re ready.’ Yeah, he was ready. Ready to make a complete fool out of his old man. Try as I might – and believe me, I was trying – I could not get the drop on him. I realized my eight-year old son wasn’t just beating me…he was playing with me. Taunting me. He was the hunter, and I was his prey. It was probably the single most humiliating, and humbling, gaming moment I’ve ever had. Somehow, I had become my father, barely able to move the Atari 2600 switch box from ‘game’ back to ‘TV’.
I later found out that after school, after he did his homework (well, most of the time) Cullen was hitting YouTube and watching videos of CoD 4 multiplayer matches. He knew every map, all the sweet spots, the most effective tactics. All that, combined with reflexes and hand-eye-coordination worthy of Deadpool, and I never stood a chance.”
— Emil Pagliarulo, Lead Designer/Writer for Fallout 3 at Bethesda
“I recently experienced an amazing rush while playing the new Versus maps in Left 4 Dead. My team was struggling. The survivors had an expert player onboard – a real surgeon with the shotgun. And their [own] coordinated special infected attacks were making it hard for us to make it to the safe room without flaming out.
It was only a matter of time before the A.I. Director took pity on us. Our moment came in The Drains. I got the lucky draw and a chance to wreak havoc as the Tank. When I spawned I found myself in one of the pipes feeding into one of the large, multi-tiered cisterns. I could see the silhouettes of the survivors down below. They were playing it smart – grouped tightly in the center of the room, watching for my approach. The survivors weren’t expecting death from above – especially from a two-ton brute like the Tank. I barreled down the pipe at full speed and thumbed the space bar, propelling myself into space. My cannonball attack (dropping from at least two stories) put me dead center among their formation.
I’m pretty sure Bill soiled his Depends. One swipe of the arm sent Zoe and Francis flying. The other two were able to edge just out of my reach as I spun to bash their brains out. I touched them all, pounding as many hit points out of their fragile flesh as I could. Eventually they cut me down. I didn’t end the round, but I won a minor victory. I made the Tank fly.”
— Gus Mastrapa, Freelance Writer
Finally, I’d like to invite all of you to share an important gaming moment, good or bad, in the comments. So often we talk about games, but we tend to keep our personal gaming moments to ourselves. Well, – pause for dramatic effect – let’s put an end to that right now!
Nick Halme is a freelance writer who tricked three other talented people into writing half of his column. Checkmate.