[Updated] Last night, the fury took over. The first time in three weeks he fired up the Xbox 360, and some little shit was griefing him in Modern Warfare 2. Hell, he normally plays Battlefield. As the two yelled at each other across Xbox Live, Cody, 17, heard the voice of his antagonist's mother coming over the mike.
"Your mom's there, hearing this, and she's not screaming at you?" he demanded. Next thing he knew, he was getting an earful from some lady in a tawk-like-dis Long Island accent, and he called her a "dumb whore." To memorialize his outrage, he captured the argument and uploaded the video to YouTube.
Then the sun came up.
"When I woke up and saw what had happened, I saw this was making me look like an asshole," Cody said. "I realized I probably should apologize."
Cody, 17, spoke with Kotaku this evening about his role in the ugly "Modern Warfare Mom" incident, which can be heard in the video above. It's a mortifying lesson generations of young men have learned, just in different venues. Now they're learning it in video games.
Some things are not worth it.
Ignore him. Leave the room. Who cares how wrong he is.
Hang out with people you know, and just move on.
"It's what I usually do, someone starts yelling at me, I'm like, 'OK,' block, mute and hop off," Cody said. "But because my friends were around, I was trying to act tough."
In the end, he just looks bad, and Cody knows it. This morning over Xbox Live, he tried to find the target of his fury to apologize, was intercepted by a friend of the guy who wanted to extend the conflict, and ultimately Cody gave up.
"When this stuff happens, you might think it's OK to scream back and record it but in the end, you're just going to be labeled as an asshole," Cody said. "It's just not going to help. The best thing to do is report the player, leave the game, and move on."
Also, regarding the use of "faggot." Cody now understands that's a self-defeating insult, too, and that it doesn't really matter how he intended for it to be heard, it's offensive—gravely—to people who aren't even involved in the dispute. It can only make him look like a contemptible bully.
"I was reading the comments and was like, 'Wait a lot of these guys are in their 20s or their 30s so they might put that in the wrong context,'" Cody said. "No, they're putting it in the correct one. I'm not meaning to use it in a way that offends people who are homosexual, but of course it can be portrayed that way."
Same thing goes for "retard," says Cody: "When people say 'retard,' maybe they don't mean it," he said. "But you wouldn't call somebody that in front of someone who is developmentally disabled."
Cody understands that military shooters like the Call of Duty series have a terrible reputation for this sort of hostility and abuse in multiplayer. While he thinks that game makers could do more to moderate the behavior (he cited Halo: Reach, in which a frequently muted player can lose his voice chat privileges), ultimately, it's on the community.
"When people act like this, it draws players away," Cody said. "If I was older, like, 33, and I joined a game and heard people yelling and screaming, I would never play."
Therefore, only immature players are left. So don't be one, Cody says. Don't be like him last night.
Editor's note: After Cody replied to Kotaku's request for comment, this story was comprehensively updated from its original version. The original text is below.
Earlier today, a 90-second clip of yelling by people who totally deserve each other was removed from YouTube on grounds it was a "depiction of harmful activities." That would be a 17-year-old getting into it with an irate mom, evidently after he had a dispute with her minor son during a match in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.