Home Editorial Why 12 year olds are good at Call of Duty

Apologies. I wanted to make these really tongue in cheek, but that’s not who I am or how I write, so you’ll have to deal with straight up observation.

Since I play my fair share of this game, I thought it high time I analyzed why teenagers often have the in-game skills to back up their claims. I hear my fair share of prepubescent children questioning my sexual status, but then again, I hear it from people my age too. This isn’t to say that we twenty-somethings aren’t good at CoD. I know one who can Blackbird, Chopper Gunner, Dog it with the best of them.

The stigma remains, however, that the best players on XBOX (I can’t speak for PC or PS3) are between twelve and seventeen. The question is, why?

The Reasons

The first reason is simple: time. When you were twelve or fourteen or whatever, did you have a full/part-time job on top of hours of pro-bono  (college or other necessary but not-paying) work? Did you have to travel around the country competing in sports? No.* So after homework and/or chores, the average 12-17 year old sat down to do some good ol’ fashioned vegging. Nowadays, CoD’s one of the most popular ways to do that. So they’re spending inordinate amounts of time online, and practice makes better, so their skill is going to go up.

The second reason is not so simple. Rather, it’s anatomical and psychological. I think most of us can speak to this one, but let me put it to words. First, kids nowadays use control sticks to aim before they can draw a coherent picture on paper or write a sentence with more than ten words. I played Mario 64 when I was six or so (do the math), and I couldn’t read, write or draw. Control stick aiming for the camera. Mario 64’s no FPS, and that’s really all kids play now. I’m not a superstar, but I can hold my own. For the eight or nine year old whose thirteen year old older brother gets Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3 for Christmas, the pathways in his brain that control movement, dexterity and hand-eye coordination are still very much in the development phase. Also, kids of that age are still forming who they are, who they envision themselves to be and how they view the world. Encapsulate all that, and by the time Big Bro lets you have the controller alone, the thing is like an extension of your hands. Parents don’t understand how we don’t constantly look down to make sure we know what we’re doing, but we don’t have to, these kids most of all. We know through muscle memory how to aim, crouch, shoot, whatever.

The third and final reason is more intrinsic than the first two: competition. When a squeaky little kid pipes up on the mic, there’s no doubt he’ll be abused and bullied because of his voice, his age and whatnot. He feels the need to prove himself and so puts what I’ve written above to good use. When and if he succeeds at his goals, he feels he must retaliate, and so starts smack talk, with the score on the leaderboards to back it up. Until his voice drops and he takes out the X’s and Z’s from his gamertag, this will continue, and so the cycle goes on.

*If you were, I’d like to know why.

22 replies to this post
  1. I’ve noticed a flaw.

    You mention playing Mario 64 when you were six and you couldn’t read or write at that age (or even do the math). The situation of prepubescents plaguing our games exists in England too and children at the age of six here can read, write, draw, do maths, sweep chimneys, perform in musicals, look adorable and play extremely basic video games.

    Maybe that’s the problem: They can’t play video games as well as the previous generation. Many six year olds nowadays stick to stuff like Mario or Sonic but when I was six I was playing Legend of Zelda, Lylat Wars and Goldeneye. I shall petition for research funding at once.

    • But the British are awesome at just about everything, so your point is moot.

      Also, I played, and was awful, at GoldenEye when I was seven. Kids these days don’t have genre defining games anymore. They have shovelwared crap that looks and controls exactly like everything else.

      I guess that’s why they’re so good.

  2. I still played Mario 64 past six…I would even have 120’d it if I could have, but my 64 was only borrowed…
    *downloads emulator because this game is worth spending an entire long weekend to it*

  3. Very Interesting.

    It seems that this research is proven, since my younger 12 yr old brother is a pretty good player in my eyes.

    But my eyes are Flawed since I hate FPSs like CoD and resort to playing RTSs (Starcraft), MOBAs (League of Legends) and PC FPSs (TF2), and the ocassional Third-Person Strategy (AC:Brotherhood).

    Then again, we’re also Asian, so I may be entirely wrong.

      • ha im actually not bad at CoD [mw2 that is] im like always mvp [Most Valuable player] on the leaderboard every team deathmatch
        and yes im twelve i usually like get 30 kills and 7 deaths [and yes im twelve] yeah anyway i agree that we dont really have jobs and dont have anything to do but play CoD hours on end [except 4 homework] so we pretty much just have more time to practice pretty much. [and im from australia so im not sure if that is a bad example or anything] [and yes that was pretty much a long version of me saying i agree

  4. Also, about the article:
    I’m not sure how the situation is over in Americuh, but over here you get exam’d for all you have ever learnt when you’re 17-18. In that period, there’s nothing but study, and you’ll be happy to be able to squeeze out one or two hours a day for gaming.
    Then again, I’m 16, taught myself how to read at 5, going to be having those mentioned exams in two halves in february and august, and still suck at each game I touch, except for WoW, even ones that I played for years.

  5. and their parents get them the fastest internet, the biggest tv, the best controller mod, best lag swtich, they use overpowered guns fmg akimbo type 95 and camp their **** off

  6. HAHAHAH u r funny man, first no one gets annoyed at these younge 12 year olds as you simply mute them..i listen to some decent music while i play anyway….and it may be muscle memory but its more than that its intuition…. and one more thing. ive worked out a tactic where id go to a room or area with two areas lay two mines so my back is protected and the front is just in case tho my gun is trained at the entrance…point being..i laugh because everyone keeps quiet and sneaks up around..i shoot my pistol so im visible and wait..its like fishing with a lure..then not only do i get points im having fun when they stop coming to the room im in..its all about tactics and a gameplay like playing football..simple

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