Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 earlier today at Gamescom. My colleague Alexander and I had just spent the past 20 minutes carefully defusing IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices, for those of you who don't watch US broadcast news) and murdering potential assailants in a Berlin Spec Ops map, part of a mission named "Invisible Threat." Between laughs, furious button presses, and the occasional expletive, I realized we were having a lot of fun -- far more fun than two grizzled Battlefield vets expected to have with a Call of Duty title, anyway.
And soon after our play session, I understood why. That feeling I couldn't place was nostalgia, subtly reminding me that, yes, at one point I used to really enjoy Infinity Ward-developed shooters. As I carefully sniped oncoming baddies, Alex -- dressed in a "Juggernaut" bomb suit, a first for the series -- slowly lumbered around, dodging bullets/missiles/helicopters/tanks (seriously) while I assisted from above. Moreover, his ability to locate the remaining IEDs was based on me tossing up a UAV and spotting them from above, all the while dodging bullets/rockets myself. Of course, that meant I got to regularly drop missiles from said UAV onto the aforementioned waves of antagonists. Points!
Somewhere in there, it all clicked. I was back in college, shouting at my roommate to cover my back before we got clipped, frantically popping enemy after enemy, hoping to hold off the never-ending wave for just another few moments so we could complete the mission.