I borrowed Call of Duty 4 from a friend of mine the other day and started playing the Solo campaign. It’s a very beautiful and enjoyable game. Eventually I tried the online, multi-player mode. 16 minutes later I was ready to purchase the game, new, for what is about half the annual wages of your average Kyrgyzstanian. This is odd since lately I’ve not been a very big fan of online shoot-em-ups. I love World of Warcraft and back in the day I was a huge Unreal fan, but they’ve done something to the modern shooter that makes it almost impossible to enjoy as a post-30 year old. They invited children to play.
Don’t get me wrong, I like children, at least on paper. Dealing face to face with little ones can go either way depending on my mood, the current phase of the moon, the amount of Mountain Dew they’ve consumed in the last few hours and their average WPM (whines per minute). But you throw a headset on a prepubescent kid and wrap his grimy little Vienna sausage fingers around a game controller and I guarantee that I will enjoy dealing with them considerable less than I would enjoy square dancing to Garth Brooks with a freshly shorn grizzly in ill fitting overalls.
The fact that there is a legion of what sounds like 10 year old kids (of both sexes I think, although this is debatable since most 10 year old boys sound like 10 year old girls) playing ‘Mature’ rated games is bad enough, but that these children have picked up very fluently the lingo of the average hardcore , 30-something, mom’s basement style gamer makes it that much sadder when they blow off your head from half a virtual mile away using their young, coordinated reflexes while your twitching, caffeine deprived, too-large brisket paws fumble with the thumb sticks, desperately trying to get out of the corner of the hangar and at least face the person who’s laying into you with that Uzi.
Getting pwned by a 12 year old is bad enough. Getting pwned by a 12 year old who swears like a sailor with Tourette’s is even worse.
These kids also use the ‘N’ word so much that it would make 50 Cent blush. I have never in my life heard anyone so consistently use this particular epithet as to dilute it into some kind of racist punctuation. It’s used so often that I don’t even think it is a conscious act. It’s more a habit picked up from hearing hip hoppers, rappers and older gamers using the word very casually and, like most 12 year olds, taking something they think is ‘older than’ or ‘forbidden to’ their age group and repeating it ad nauseam until it’s lost all meaning and just becomes another quirky affectation. I honestly don’t think they realize the history behind it or what a hateful word it is, and that’s probably because it’s one-sidedly thrown around by rappers and their ilk without anyone explaining to the adolescent white kid who lives in middle class suburbia and is rifling through his older, angst ridden brother’s iPod exactly what the word means and what would happen to him if he ever said it in public. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that these kids are so misinformed as to not realize it’s a taboo word, I just think that, like violence on TV, it’s been so diluted from overuse that it’s lost any meaning and has become some kind seed for the latest cause célèbre on slow news days.
Getting pwned by a 12 year old who swears like a sailor with Tourette’s and who is spewing racial epithets is kind of teh craps.
To counter this, my newest invention would be purchased by the parents of younger players, parents who are tired of the vile and venomous vituperation coming from their children’s bedrooms. They would simply replace the current headset on the controller with one of my own design. The cheaper, simple model would have a small remote that the parents (and my own personal override) would control. A more advanced model would use voice recognition and a dictionary of forbidden words (handily created and edited by George Carlin) which would also trigger the device. A small pressurized container would be filled with any variety of liquid soap the parent desires. When the voice recognition software sensed foul language, the parent hit the remote or my modified controller was activated, a stream of soap would spray from a small hole near the mouthpiece directly into the offender’s mouth. This would not only cause shock, hopefully minimizing their swearing over time, but would momentarily (or longer if they go rinse) leave their character stunned in-game which would allow me to shoot them repetitively and mercilessly until dead (repeat as necessary).
The parents would get a child who has been conditioned Pavlovian style and is ready to be indoctrinated into our current menial and repetitive workforce. I get to win a goddamn match. I think this is win-win for all parties involved.