These days, it’s nearly impossible to log on to any site, gaming blog, YouTube video, or podcast and not hear or see at least one comment tearing someone else down and accusing them of being a “COD” fan.
To many within the community, to be a Call of Duty fan is synonymous to being ignorant, only able to appreciate one type of game. And in many ways, the mud slung at the COD crowd is the same as the one thrown at the casual gamer, putting out the same argument that these types of gamers aren’t worthy of being a part of the bigger gaming community as a whole.
Now, I’m not a big COD fan by any means. I’ve played my fair share of it through the years, from Xbox Live in the early WWII days of the series all the way up to MW3, but it’s never been a game that has resonated with me.
But despite the fact that it’s not one of my all-time favorites, I still appreciate what the game is and what it has done for gaming. And call me what you will, but I think it’s time the rest of the community started doing the same.
Yes, it’s an annualized franchise, seeing a release every year that explodes in sales numbers and leads Activision to boast about its success. And no, it doesn’t change up a whole lot from year to year, other than the major tonal shifts like we saw with the original Modern Warfare and even with Black Ops.
But it doesn’t necessarily need to be completely revolutionary with each and every iteration. Why? Because, as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
There’s no denying that Call of Duty is probably the most popular multiplayer game on consoles. Sure, it’s not the first one to implement death matches and teamwork in gameplay, but it is the one that popularized it, adding in and refining their own conventions that have worked so well as to completely re-define the way we go about multiplayer today. It’s thanks to the runaway success of games like Call of Duty that you see multiplayer modes shoehorned into games left and right, in an effort to keep games in consoles and off of used game store shelves. Let’s not forget, Call of Duty is the one that has nearly perfected the loadout system, leveling up, map construction, and the finer presentation details like kill cam and map worlds themselves in an FPS. For the most part, online multiplayer with Call of Duty is a seamless experience with enough polish and addictive quality to make it one of the most well-designed multiplayer experiences out there. 9 times out of 10, people play Call of Duty for the multiplayer, often letting the single-player core campaign go to the wayside. It’s a fairly odd scenario, and one that speaks volumes about the quality of Call of Duty’s multiplayer modes and content.
And there’s something to be said for its impact on the military shooter. Because of the commercial success of Call of Duty, the FPS market has been flooded with military-based shooters looking to claim a bit of the same success that has made COD such a standout hit.
Much like casual games, Call of Duty has also helped usher in a new audience of gamer. You’ll find everyone from the hardest of hardcore gamers to those who own an Xbox strictly to play Black Ops online sharing the same space within matches in Call of Duty. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s Call of Duty’s widespread appeal that has, in a way, helped to further legitimize gaming as a viable form of entertainment. Think about it; where gaming used to be a very niche thing, it has now become something more widely accepted in our society, a hobby shared by people of all ages, genders, races, and faiths. It’s a more acceptable and recognized activity, and that’s nothing but good news for our industry’s future.
At the end of the day, this all goes back to what I’ve written before; don’t be a genre snob. Don’t sit and put others down because they don’t necessarily line up for the next Uncharted or put up posters for Borderlands 2 in their house. The beauty of gaming today is that we have so many different genres and titles to pick from, giving gamers a chance to play the games that suit them the most. There’s no reason for the hate directed at Call of Duty and its fans. It’s a pointless exercise to sit and spew hate at each other because of it. If one person wants to spend hundreds of hours camping out in Nuketown, it’s their God-given right to do so.
All I’m asking for is a little more respect. We owe it more than we realize.