It’s the season
While it is nice to celebrate the fall in Covid cases nationwide, it is clear that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Some things may slowly return to normal, but much of our lives are still not quite the same. Part of me wonders how much this will be forever changed.
Of course, the pandemic also meant more free time, so like most people, I spent a lot of time playing games. I decided to give Call of Duty: Cold War gave it a try last year after receiving a copy, and I was instantly hooked. Now, it has become one of my pickups in the event of a pandemic.
While I’m still depressed about some aspects of the lockdown, one thing that has helped me get into the spirit of the season is actually the seasonal event of Cold War, also known as The haunting. This year’s event features what you typically expect: Halloween-themed maps and zombie modes, new multiplayer modes, and of course, plenty of skin and cosmetic packs.
These in-game Halloween events never reinvent the wheel, but I still find them a lot of fun. In the same way that others enjoy a pumpkin and spice latte, these seasonal events are my favorite because they only happen once a year and their novelty makes them special.
I always find these things fascinating from a meta-narrative perspective. It’s hard to have a solid line with live games like Call of Duty, Monitoring, Where Fortnite, menus, in-game dialogue, and additional hardware therefore have to do most of the storytelling work. For most of the year, these games usually try to maintain various lines for the characters and the world, at least to keep the atmosphere going when you’re playing.
I find it hilarious, so when the holidays roll in and it spoils it a bit. To take Monitoring, for example. I played this game religiously for a few years when I was in college, and the Halloween event was by far my favorite. Seeing spooky versions of my favorite map was fun, Junkenstein’s Revenge was Monitoringbest PvE event in, and as the main Mercy player, I always looked forward to adorning my witch skin, as it was one of my favorites in the game.
The fun part was, however, that I could see the seams of where the game world had to give a bit to allow for the Halloween stuff. The Junkenstein game mode was clearly irrelevant to everyone involved – so are we just claiming that these people (and robots) all laid down their arms to have some sort of weird role-playing session? Are we supposed to assume this is happening in an alternate universe?
It’s a stupid, finicky conversation – we all suspend disbelief because it’s just for fun – but I find it fascinating to think of it all the same.
Then there is Call of Duty. Is it a very serious war game in which very serious people fight tooth and nail for, say, the fate of mankind or something like that? I don’t know, I always skip all the cutscenes. Anyway, that’s why I find it so funny to have guys running around in suits in the middle of normal looking players on normal looking maps. If I get killed by one more Ghost face with those overpowered dual shotguns I’m going to lose it (aside from my nerd rage, it’s never going to stop being funny).
The silliness inherent in these events is sort of what makes them shine, in my opinion, as they are a great reminder that video games are meant to be fun first and foremost.
Playing these games has helped numb the sting of what we are still missing this year due to the pandemic. At the same time, however, not going out as often made me realize that what I love about the months leading up to the holidays is that I see all kinds of decorations around – at the store, at my neighbors’ yards. , in restaurants.
So even though I might not have these things around me all the time, I get along Call of Duty almost every day. I didn’t expect a seasonal event in a game to make me feel like Halloween was really here, but it did. It’s a small thing, but having that sense of normalcy, of passing time, makes a huge difference in getting me into the spirit of the season.
Story Beat is a weekly column covering everything and everything related to storytelling in video games.