The Campfire presents: The Nutcracker
The Campfire is a new column where we regale you with tales of our video game adventures. This is a story about a Spartan getting shot in the testicles.
How I loathed this gametype lurking within the team slayer playlist of Halo 3’s matchmaking. Even though 90% of the time I would get to play something fun, occasionally I had to subject myself to this riff raff to avoid getting down-ranked for quitting a game. I prefer beating my opponent’s stupid face in with the butt of my gun(*) to staying in one spot and scanning the area for anyone foolish enough to walk into the open. This was not going to be my idea of a good time and certainly was not a pleasant way to introduce my friend sitting next to me (logged in as a guest) to online-multiplayer in a first-person shooter.
As the pre game countdown for the two-on-two match began, I assured her that this likely wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience. She just shrugged and ran off to explore the map. With that I decided that our victory was up to me (oh how wrong I was). Determined to get some fun out of this, I acquired a second pistol for maximum anything-but-a-sniper-rifle firepower after sneaking up on an unwary blue and introducing his collarbone to the butt of my pistol (back in my day we didn’t have fancy combat knives and jetpacks).
And so my little rebellion against the weapon set thrust upon me by matchmaking commenced. I kept to a crouch, making me inexplicably invisible to motion trackers as I Solid Snaked my way from blue to blue. With both a katana and sniper rifle on my back purely for show, I maintained a decent kill count that bumped “melee” up to my preferred weapon according to the stat tracking on Bungie’s website. Naturally each little killing spree came to an abrupt end if I so much as paused at a window or ventured into the open.
Defiant to the end, I continued getting shot in the head numerous times while attempting to get the jump on my enemies brandishing a measly pair of pistols. I was so caught up in running around and punching snipers that I wasn’t paying much attention to my teammate. She didn’t seem frustrated so I assumed she was having a good time, which was fantastic for someone uninitiated to the degrading slaughter that often defines one’s first online FPS experience.
I don’t actually recall if we won or not, but our personal victory was assured when I took a look at the match footage thanks to the Halo 3’s theater mode. I rolled my eyes as I skimmed past yet another Kodak moment on the receiving end of a headshot, but smiled when my teammate delivered my killer’s comeuppance not a second after with two successful shots from her sniper rifle. At first this didn’t seem worthy of a saved clip, but something odd about the way that blue jerk crumpled to the floor encouraged me to give it a second look.
Boy am I glad I did. She nailed him right in his Spartan gonads.
And again in the head!
Games tend to be a solitary experience unless you have a friend with a reasonable attention span or possess the rare gift of “sharing part of your TV screen with others.” As such we rarely have any viewers for the necessary high-fives when Commander Shepard ends a Reaper Brute’s existence with a biotic falcon punch and laughter as Skyrim’s fragile reality claims another helpless NPC in the clutches of a nearby wall that transpire during our single-player or online-multiplayer adventures.
Until recently we’ve had to rely on our own storytelling abilities to convey these “you had to be there” moments, but now we have easy-to-use equipment for capturing game footage and even in-game support for preserving our favorite moments. Thanks to the fact that Bungie hosted any screenshots you take in-game (a duty now assigned to Microsoft’s Halo developer, 343 Industries) I was able to upload this little piece of gaming glory to Facebook and tag my friend in it. She got a kick out of that.
These advances in modern bragging technology have given me picture-perfect proof of one of my favorite moments in my time with games that I still immaturely enjoy to this day. The age of archiving our experiences is upon us and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
*I’m a terrible shot.