"Hey, what are you up to?"
"Nothing, just in the house, not doing much of anything. Whassup wit' you?"
"Same. 'Bout to hop on Call of Duty. Gettin' on?"
"Yeah, let's do it."
If you've invested more than two days with Infinity Ward's most recent Call of Duty iteration, then there's a very good chance you have a very good idea as to what follows the dialogue that you may very well have had yourself with a fellow gamer. No? Allow me then.
As you and you bud go to boot up one of Infinity Ward's more interesting titles in the past decade, you are more than likely met with, you guessed it, a dreaded update screen. Never before in the history of console gaming, has console gamers been subjected to a slew of unavoidable, obligatory prompts enforcing you to update your game before you can engage in some much-needed multiplayer goodness.
How is it that after FINALLY giving Activision a chance on a COD title, something you stopped investing in when you realized the unabashed cash-grab it had turned into year-after-year, punishment still finds you somehow idling on your couch, controller in hand, blue download screen in periphery? It's almost poetic.
A great game by any other name, is plagued with an unskippable pause feature in a generation whose attention span could not be shorter. You've come to adapt the idea that the IW gods must be ones of humor, once learning that not only must you pledge 3/4ths of your short gaming day to updating your game, but in the process, allow it to enjoy feasting on the precious hard drive space allotted for the many titles that help construct the library that your money has meticulously built over the years.
This monster's appetite is beyond voracious and makes the most egregious of previous gigabyte-consumers seem like a first-level boss who eventually becomes a mere respawning enemy by comparison. You consider this, and appropriately delete the titles of yesteryear in hopes that your sacrifice to the mountain god will quell its hunger.
But this beast knows no rest. Two days later it feeds again, demanding another sacrifice of another title you've spent many lonely nights with, perhaps chasing that final trophy in an effort to prove your love, only to be tossed into gaping mouth of the COD titan.
Yet you persisted. You continue to sacrifice. 600 hours in, you can't turn back now. Another title? Deleted? What have you become? How many more of your precious games must lose their place on the pantheon of greatness before the beast is finally sated?
Oh no. You've changed. You're no longer the virtuous, intrepid, free-thinking gamer you once was. The beast has corrupted you.
No. Don't. Don't do it. Not Horizon. You seen what corruption looks like thanks to it. It's the only title that remains on the pantheon. Fight back, this is modern warfare. 600 hours in, use what you know! What you've learned! You can't give in. Platinumed or not, do not sacrifice it to this...thing! External hard drives are there for a reason, JUST GET ONE!
you're too broke.
As you okay the deletion of your final pawn, you struggle to find some solace in the fact that it was all necessary to protect that which matters most - the king. You. He who cannot and will not ever be devoured by any beast.
The download is finally completed. You can now begin your gaming session.
But, wait. Something's different. Something's changed. The sacrifices...they weren't enough. The beast demands your Capture Gallery now.
A conclusion arises. The beast cannot be defeated. There was never any chance. You know this. How? Because your mania has brought about a new sense of clarity.
You're not corrupted.
The mountain god has had its best meal the moment you fed it to your console of preference. And just as your system had its belly filled, as did the beast the day it was first booted up.
You weren't its final meal. You were its first.