Newcastle upon Tyne
It was with much delight that my girlfriend won the 2006 Pepsi Max World Cup competition, after all we ended up with a lovely Xbox 360 Premium and a Football Manager 2006. Yes, Football Manager 2006, a game which if it was on the PC I would have time for yet for some reason the translation over to a console and controller based scheme made what little hair I had left materialise all over the floor. I went from the slicked back hippy to psychotic clown look almost overnight – unfortunately for me no amount of remedies will bring back my hair, and wearing a toupee only makes me look like that creepy old man that offers sweets to everyone who wants to view his puppies… or a politician! I shudder at that thought!
And to think that for almost all the Summer of ‘06, Football Manager was the *ONLY* retail game I had on the Xbox 360, between that and Hexic HD I must of lost a hundred or so hours – mainly falling asleep with the controller in my hand… not that I was bored or anything… okay, I was!
Thank the Gods for Xbox Live Marketplace and the few demos that started appearing.
After discovering that I had a free months of Xbox Live Gold (I think I managed to get three months with three different accounts), I scanned through all the demos looking for my first foray into Xbox Live gaming….
A quick break here to say that I had experience with playing online in an MMO environment only whether that be in Guild Wars or the various free turn based games that I had managed to Google (and at one point I was playing ten of them every night).
…and one game jumped out at me.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Not only was it my first online FPS game, it was the very first game that sold the whole Battlefield franchise to me. While I wasn’t to own a retail Battlefield game until the release of BF3, I did participate in the Battlefield Heroes beta (reminds me, I must redownload everything as I loved that game), played both Bad Company games (absolute classics but they were rentals) and even ran a soldier through Battlefield Play4Free.
Yes, I guess I have Battlefield on the mind…
Is that really a bad thing? Perhaps I should see somebody about it?
Anyway before I have to go away and lie on a couch to explain why I want to go around shooting various family members, perhaps it is time to continue with the story at hand. I tell you what, I’ll wait here while you go into the kitchen and make a cuppa – mine’s a black coffee… very strong… you know when you can leave the spoon standing up in the cup… yes, in a big mug as well.
Cheers for that. Mmmm, that tastes great. Real home ground coffee…. you spoil me!
After that nice interlude, it’s back to Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (demo).
You must remember that this was back in the day where background downloads were a strange invention hitherto unheard of on a console and broadband speeds were considered fast if they topped 2MB/s. I know some far off prehistory that we scare our children with on dark, stormy nights during the brief delay between selecting the programmes on anytime TV. Times were hard back, it made men out of men, women out of women and strange purple creatures out of (oddly enough) pink vegetables. Also it was the time when I had strange waking dreams about desserts – you know knickerbocker glory and banana boats…
I’ll skip directly to getting into my first game, after all we were talking about EA servers and demo ones at that, so you can imagine the number of initial frustrations I had. If you can’t, you’re a jammy git who has never experienced what people call the EA Effect!
I selected my class (randomly as I really had no idea what I was doing – and nothing has changed since) and behold I spawned on the map. Then was killed. You buggers! Just wait until I get back into the game… oh I did. You buggers! Just wait until I get back in the game this time, I’ll get you I swear on my… oh, I’m back. Ha ha, you missed…. bugger! Where the tea tree was he hiding? Just you wait! Take that you blinking boomerang, you see I can shoot my gun as well! Bugger – I take it you’re a better shot than me… well saying that so is the tree over there!
For my first ever game, it seems that not only could I manage to shoot nothing (whether player, vehicle or even tree), but that every bugger on the opposite side knew exactly when and where I would respawn. And this wasn’t the worst part of it at all…
In my infinite wisdom I had decided to hook the Xbox headset up as I had never used it before, although I did have the mic muted (very long story but “playing with the baba’s” had it’s twists and turns which also affected the relationship with my girlfriend). I expected to hear some gruff welshman (don’t ask) shouting instructions to all of us on how to use ours knives to carve out the hearts of fallen enemies…
Instead it was a whiny, high pitched voice – pre teen by my guess…
Not only whiny and high pitched, but American (Brooklyn NY if I remember correctly – kind of like the Scout class in TF2)…
Not only whiny, high pitched, and American, but also singing….
“Do you have the time…”
Oh bugger, this is what to expect over Live comms?
“To listen to me whine…”
No I don’t, I want to play this game without having to rip my ears off!
“About nothing and everything all at once…”
Stop it, I’m trying very hard not to get killed!
“I am one of those…”
Shut the buggering hedgehog up! Before I say and do something that I’ll regret!
The agony… my ears are bleeding!
“Neurotic to the bone no doubt about it…”
That’s it! The straw that broke the pig’s back (couldn’t find a camel)! This brat is going to die a horrible death in this game! I want to find his corpse and drag it all around the battlefield while everyone voids there bladders all over him! And after that… I’ll… I’ll
Well the song continued through the chorus, and although my ability in the game revolved around running people over in the jeep to score kills, my temper was well and truly heading into that region… you know the one that means I might actually *swear*! That was until this happened…
“I went to a whore…. THUDD!!”
Now what is this, I don’t seem to remember that part in the song. Hmmm, I’ll just park my jeep right next to this BOOOM!, Oh I guess it was a mine… ah well.
Over the comms came a higher pitched but far more mature voice, and although it still had the strong Brooklyn accent it was like music to my ears.
“What Mom! “
“What have I told you about using that word?”
“What, whore? THUDD!”
“Yes that one, it’s a bad word you know what happens when you say those words!”
“No Mom, no don’t… I don’t want it… really no don’t! THUDD”
(I need to know what it is that she does to him, mainly because it is probably far worse than the insertion of a rather irate hedgehog up his rectum that I was thinking about)
“I’m sorry to all you kids playing with Johnny but he is a potty mouthed boy, so he can’t play with you anymore…”
(Thank you Johnny’s mom, thank you!)
I will add that I do not condone any sort of excessive child disciplining (another discussion that really has no place on a gaming forum anyway), but by the noise coming over the comms (they were left on) sounded very akin to soap and mouth meeting one another.
Perhaps Johnny would have been better choosing a Barney song to sing along to instead…
“I like you, you like me…”
End of round, and then kicked out of the lobby. Even to this day I wonder what happened to that young Brooklyn lad who thought that murdering a Green Day classic was the best thing to do over Xbox Live comms.