Among many of those who like to label themselves as a "gamer", there is no franchise more reviled than Call of Duty. The merest mention of its name sends people flying to post anonymous comments blasting the game as the very model of everything that's wrong with video games today.
Take a look at any comments section on almost any video game site on Earth and you'll see the same thing. People wondering aloud why the series is so popular, complaining about its incremental updates, mocking its design and lambasting those who have the tenacity to actually enjoy it.
Those people are idiots.
There is nothing wrong with not liking Call of Duty. Everybody has different tastes in gaming, and what might compel one person to line up for hours in the middle of night might cause another to...stay at home and get a good night's sleep. Some people will like what the series offers, others won't, that's life.
But there's something wrong with hating Call of Duty, especially to the level many people bury themselves in at this time of year. I mean, what drives you to hate a video game? To work yourself up into such a state that you feel the need to project that hate, to continuously remind the world of how much you don't enjoy it?
It's a question that's often perplexed me, much like it did Lisa Simpson when she wondered "why would they come to our concert just to boo us?". But it's also a question I think I have an answer for.
You don't really hate Call of Duty. But you do enjoy being an obnoxious elitist.
Maybe you preferred it when video games were seen as "uncool". Maybe you feel the media attention and mainstream acceptance the series draws is somehow unfair. Maybe the people who enjoy the games aren't the kind of people you hang out with on vicious internet forums, so don't fit your myopic vision of what a true "gamer" constitutes.
It could be any one of those things, any combination of them, or many more, it doesn't matter. Hating Call of Duty is part of the identity you've created for yourself. You're not some mainstream thug who only buys Madden and Call of Duty once a year. Those people aren't "real gamers". You're a real gamer, someone who pre-ordered Dark Souls, who has been collecting JRPGs since childhood, who still visits arcades, who somehow has the ability to love one multinational corporation and hate another, even though their goals are exactly the same.
Running around the internet screaming about how much you hate Call of Duty is thus part of this identity. It's the enemy, the other, the yang to your yin. You wouldn't be the gamer you think you are if you didn't hate everything this series stood for.
The thing is, the identity you're clinging to is bullshit. You can't own a passion for a medium, or hope to dictate its tastes by whining about it. People don't walk around calling themselves "moviers", and pretend they're the only ones allowed to watch films. Everybody watches movies, some more than others, everyone with their own likes and dislikes. Same with books, same with TV, same with music.
So let it go, will you? You're not preserving anything. So what if millions of people enjoy a video game you don't? Let them! There are plenty of valid reasons to criticise the franchise, sure, but there are plenty of valid reasons to love it as well, and if people want to love it - and millions of them do, every November - you raining on their parade every chance you get isn't going to stop them.
It's just going to make you look like an arsehole.