I am a highly competitive person, and I don’t really know why. I played sports growing up, but I was never that great individually, and I was rarely on the best teams. I also had this thing that happened sometime between middle school and high school where my legs grew two feet almost overnight. Anyone that’s over 6 ft tall knows what I’m talking about. Don’t even talk to me about winning, I’m just trying to fucking run without looking like a marionette. But somewhere down the road, a competitive spirit arose. And when I say spirit, I mean flesh hungry demon that will stop at nothing to win. I think I finally started to realize this when I cried real tears over losing in Super Smash Bros. at a friends house in high school. Yea, that was an L. I’ve learned over the years how to tame this demon, but somewhere, in the places that I try not to think about, he’s there, whispering sweet evils into my soul. And every now and then, he creeps out. Like in 2015 when I was helping a friend out with his middle school soccer camp. We were scrimmaging at the end of practice, and our team was down 1-2 with like a minute left. I shit you now, that demon must have pulled on just the right strings because out of frustration, I shot a rocket from around midfield…straight into a 12 year old’s face about 5 yards in front of me. The earth fucking stopped as everyone rushed to his side as he wailed on the field. I felt so fucking bad. Poor kid had a bruise on his face for weeks.

Anyway, let’s talk about the game that I think is the root of my competitiveness:

Numbuh 2: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

To all the assholes reading this saying in their head “Call of Duty is not a competitive game”: fuck you. Does it have a low skill curve? Yes of course, but that’s also why they’ve been the highest selling franchise in the last decade. While the series has declined, I think MW2 was the peak of both gameplay and story. The characters and levels in the campaign are so iconic. I mean just think of them all: the snow mission with Soap, defending US soil, “No Russian”, fighting your way out of the favela, running down the mountainside with Ghost only to be met with betrayal. Where CoD 4 proved that CoD games could actually have a good story, MW2 perfected it. And don’t even get me started on the multiplayer, because I was a god. I would routinely win free for all matches, even against “nuke farmers”. But peak MW2 mutliplayer to me was Hardcore Search and Destroy. There’s nothing more thrilling than winning a 1v6 after your entire team has been killed. And while all of this made me a competitive person, there’s one other thing that Modern Warfare 2 did that made a lasting impact on my life…

I hadn’t played many video games online up until Modern Warfare 2. Sure I played the original Call of Duty on PC and some Halo 3 online multiplayer, but I honestly don’t remember playing any games with a mic. Then, in November of 2009, everything changed. While BioShock may have changed my view towards video games as a form of art, MW2 changed my view towards human beings. Believe it or not, at the age of 17, I don’t believe I’d ever intentionally uttered a curse word. I remember calling my dad a bastard once because I saw someone on Survivor say it and it wasn’t bleeped out. He flipped his shit. But when I logged onto the MW2 servers, nothing was off limits. I would get into the most heated arguments with other players, but at the time I wasn’t great at insults. I would just call people everything I could without cursing until one day, the levee broke. Ask anyone that knows me in real life and they know that I have zero filter. I say whatever the fuck I want, whenever the fuck I want, with any colorful language I choose. You know where that all originated? Right here in the pre-game lobbies of MW2. The above examples are so tame. I remember sitting in our basement at 1am going at it with some random kid in Iowa about how much he sucked. I think it ended with him saying “lalalalalala” endlessly while I told a pleasant story about how his cumbucket of a mom tried many different ways to have him aborted. Yea. I went from angel to spawn of hell really quick.

So yea, that’s what MW2 means to me. And you know what’d be great? If this year’s Modern Warfare reboot was even better.