Modern Warfare Deluxe

jason.brown's picture

  I played Modern Warfare 2 online multiplayer for the first time last weekend and I finally understand. I understand what makes this game so popular, why it gathers a huge following, and what allows it to continue to grow even with the enormous amount of disaccord generated by it's core 18-35 male demographic. I would liken it to Peggle.

  What makes Peggle great has nothing to do with the game itself. At the core it is not that fun. The core game consists of firing a virtual pinball down a board of pegs colored orange and blue. Your goal is to eliminate all of the orange pegs from the board. Once all of the orange pegs are gone the level is over and you move on to the next level. It is mostly mindless and deficient of all but the most rudimentary strategy. If you have ever played Peggle you probably know what I am talking about.

  The beauty of Peggle, and what makes it such a popular game (especially among non-gamers) is that it is infinitely encouraging. For example, when you fire off an errand shot and it bounces off of an abnormally large amount of pegs, the game will reward you with extra points and in big pink letters "extra ball". When your shot happens to hit 3 orange pegs the game lets you know with "orange attack +25,000 points." Let's say you fire a shot that luckily collides with a second orange peg on the other side of the screen: "long shot +20,000 points" is your message. Finally when you clear the last orange peg from the board the the game explodes with "extreme fever" to the tune of Beethoven's "ode to joy." It may seem trivial but every step of the way, the game encourages you to continue playing it.

  Equivalently, Modern Warfare 2 takes this approach to shooters. Every kill you get brings up a point notification. Ending another player's kill streak or getting revenge on someone who that just killed you brings up bonus points and and plays special little song, whose sole purpose is to notify you that you are doing well. You can get special privileges and weapons for dying too often. There is even a special medal at the end of the round for those that spent the most time watching the kill camera (i.e. spent the most time dead). Nothing in the core gameplay of MW2 is any different from any other shooter on the market, and the community is at least as hostile and juvenile to new players but these little touches help encourage people to stick with it."You're getting better" it says. "Look! you got the Spy Game medal".

  Although it might sound like I am making fun of MW2, in reality I find this kind of encouragement under-utilized in video games. For a meduim that many times lives or dies through a first impression, I would think this kind of overt encouragement would pop up in more game demos, but it is notably absent from most. If I ever make a video game I will be sure to make it like Peggle. 

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Albino's picture

...Modern Warfare Nights.