PTSD ruined ‘Gears of War 2’ for me

Three Xbox 360 consoles are in a compartment three tents from our bunker, after First Sergeant Wilson forbade any recreational activity he deems “inappropriately violent, considering the state of our troops in the Middle East.”

So we make do with Viva Piñata. No more Gears of War 2 for us, which would have figuratively blown us away, if only the United States Army didn’t deploy us in Iraq.

Like any other peace-loving citizen, I enjoy playing games. While my son played Super Mario Galaxy on his Nintendo Wii, my neighbor used to invite me to online campaigns on Xbox Live. Even my colleagues at work — back when I was a supervisor for Benson Products — would stay up late at home on Fridays to see whose team would win at NBA 07 on our network-linked PlayStation 3s. Have I told you that my son loves Super Mario Galaxy?

When will I ever see my son again?

Completing the game’s campaign took my attention away from the deaths we’ve had here.

My colleagues at the squadron also enjoyed moments of heated gameplay on Gears of War 2. Even Lieutenant General James Woodward, who stayed with us for three days, hosted a round of drinks after he won a five-on-five multiplayer raid against the game’s bots that control the Locust Horde. Later that week, snipers from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army ambushed Lt Gen Woodward while his convoy passed by the outskirts of Najaf on its way to the Coalition airstrip.

Fortunately, completing the game’s campaign took my attention away from the deaths we’ve had here. The ultra-realistic graphics powered by Unreal Engine 3 was a welcome respite from the ordeal brought upon us soldiers when friendly fire from the United Kingdom’s military bombed a troop from the Seventh Infantry battalion by accident.

That’s right: Brits killed my friends.

I applaud the Epic folks for their continuous dedication to add downloadable content through the Live Marketplace. Too bad vagrants from Kirkuk stole the satellite telecommunications apparatus that gave us Internet here at the base.

But so far, I haven’t played the game’s updated content since losing sleep over an incident yesterday, when I shot a Kurdish teenager who was taking apart a link tower outside our camp. ♦

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