Sam emerges from the steaming contraption, peering around carefully. As his eyes adjust to the new light, he’s appalled by what he sees: customizable weapons, perks, health regeneration, cover shooting, and role-playing elements.

“No, this is all wrong,” Sam says. “This is…blasphemy.”

The other shooters overhear Sam’s quip and they quickly move to surround the newcomer, backing him into a destroyed concrete structure.Call of Duty: Black Ops steps forward menacingly, but Sam holds his ground.

“Big mouth from Mr. Primitive over here,” Black Ops says. “Pretty high and mighty for someone who can’t even aim down his sights.”

Behind Black Ops, Gears of War 3 high-fives Bad Company 2Halo: Reach loudly chuckles.

“I guess you don’t need to look down your sights when you’re fighting brainless enemies,” Black Ops continues. “Yeah, you’ve got a hundred guys running at you at once, but they’re all dumb. Just keep pulling that trigger, right champ?”

Sam doesn’t let it show externally, but the words cut him deep.

“Later, scrub,” Black Ops says, dismissively. “Time machine’s right over there.” The gang waltzes off, leaving Sam to his thoughts.

“I’ll show ‘em,” Sam grumbles to himself. “I’ll show ‘em, and I’ll do it on my terms.”

PAGE 2 of 5