There are few games out there that can claim the commercial success of the Call of Duty franchise. It’s become a huge, cash filled juggernaut that seems to smash through the competition year in and year out. From looking at the Xbox Live/Playstation Network stats every week, it’s clear that there are a lot of people plugging away in whatever COD game takes their fancy.
One such fan is Okan Kaya, although he’s proven himself to possess a level of dedication somewhat higher than normal. He decided, late last year, that he was going to tackle the Guinness World record for the Longest Time Playing an Online Game. His game of choice? The recently released ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’. I managed to catch up with him last year, a week after he smashed the record.
First things First Okan, now that you’ve become the Guinness World Record holder for the length of time gaming online, how are you feeling right now, after having a few days to recuperate?
Okan: Ah, relieved. Certainly relieved. I mean even though that one week of gaming was really hard to do, it actually took me 18 months to get prepared for it. So I’m just glad that it all came together and turned out okay in the end.
How did you actually come to the decision that this was something you wanted to do?
Okan: Well it was 18 months ago when my wife actually handed me the Guinness Book of Records, I think it was the 2010 edition and because I’m such a game fanatic I went straight into the gaming section and in they had things like Call of Duty being the biggest franchise in history and marathon’s done by various people for different games so I thought “Why not give it a shot”. I put my application through and next you know they’d come back with the forms and guidelines and the rest is history.
How did your wife respond to you wanting to do this, along with the rest of your family and friends?
Okan: (Laughing) Yeah, they all thought I was crazy. They said “Haven’t you heard all the stories about the people overseas who tried this?” but because I had everything planned out and made sure to you know, drink my fluids, eat my meals and take my breaks accordingly, everything was fine!
What led you to choose Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as the game in question?
Okan: Well because I’m such a fan of the franchise, I thought if I was to get the game on the day of launch it would keep be motivated, you know it’s something new, something that will keep me going and you know, I wasn’t bored of it afterward (laughing) I was still interested in it so yeah, it really did keep me motivated.
And are you a marathon gamer, normally? What would be the longest amount of time you’ve spent playing a game before this?
Okan: No, I wouldn’t say I’m a marathon gamer. I think it’s because I’ve got kids and generally if I was going to play, it’d be late at night when they’re asleep and because of that I’d play until about 2 O’clock in the morning and only have about 4 hours sleep, and this went on for years. So I guess in a way, that routine in itself was training (Laughter)
I hadn’t thought of it that way
Okan: Yeah, well that’s why when I saw the guidelines I thought “Yeah, I can do this!” but you know what? It was actually a lot harder than it seemed on paper.
Yeah, I was tuning into the live stream of the record every now and then and I could see that sometimes you were standing up I guess to keep your legs awake, it would have been a huge challenge physically and mentally. What measures did you take to cope with that?
Okan: Well the schedule that I had was that I had to eat something at least every 3 and a half hours, drink plenty of ice-cold water and try to stay awake from caffeine, you know from the red bulls and so forth. Also always, if I could, I’d go on the stairmaster every couple of hours just so I could stand up and use my legs, just to keep the blood pumping through and avoid any clots, which has been problem for many other people attempting the record. Also I had a couple of guys with me at all times to make sure I followed that schedule.
What strategy do you think helped you the most with your victory?
Okan: Well my strategy was that the first two days would be crucial, like to play as much as I could in order to gain as many breaks as possible. It didn’t quite go according to plan, I think I was only awake for the first 27 hours before I had about 2 and a half hours sleep but once I got into that rhythm where I’d go to bed at 3:30 and wake up at 6 it kinda just followed through, with me going to bed late and waking up early. From there it just sort of kept on going but man, 2 and a half hours sleep (laughter) you do that 5 days in a row and it really catches up to you.
Yeah, see that’s what I’m amazed by. Anytime I’ve ever stayed up for a long period of time, in my experience the first time you go to have a nap you can just crash and then it’s all over.
Okan: Yeah, exactly.
Let’s talk about the game itself, now did you go through the single player or zombies at all or was the bulk of your time spent in the multiplayer?
Okan: 95% was multiplayer online and the other 5% was zombies. You see, the guideline was that it had to be online gameplay so I made sure I was always playing online and with zombies it was still online with other people. For the multiplayer, I played that almost the whole time on I think ‘Nuketown 24/7’ which I found easier to play on because it was a smaller map so I didn’t have to move my hands around too much, since they were getting quite sore. And it was quicker to get the points as well.
Were you worried at any point that, for all your efforts, you might just end up getting sick of playing Black Ops?
Okan: Not really. It’s actually quite a good game. They’ve changed it up a lot from the previous game and that itself kept me a lot more interested. This time, it’s all about supporting, you support your teammates and you get more points that way. So it kinda changed my game a little bet, when I’m used to just running and gunning to get that killstreak, so it was quite challenging but I enjoyed it so I’m glad they made that change.
Were there any near rage quit moments at any stage?
Okan: Oh there have been heaps of those, HEAPS of those. There were times when I’d just get spawn trapped and it happened so many times I just wanted to pick up the controller and throw it against the wall. I did leave the game at some stages for a break, because when you’re playing it by yourself without help from any teammates it can get frustrating so yes, I’ve had plenty of those moments.
What was your go to multiplayer loadout?
Okan: I’ve got to say, my favourite weapon once it was unlocked would have to be the FAL with the quickfire switch and the quick reload. That thing is dangerous. It’s a single shot fire gun, it’s got great accuracy, great damage and it’s great on any map. Once you’ve got the quick switch to automatic perk you can keep your finger on the trigger and it just pours out the bullets. It was amazing. I felt that was the because, and a lot people might agree with me about this, but the MP7 was overpowered, the shotguns were overpowered so the FAL was a good all-rounder that felt perfect for me.
Well on that subject of balance, were there any other things you thought were overpowered or weren’t powerful enough?
Okan: Well like I said, MP7 was overpowered. It’s quite weird that it was one of the first weapons you unlocked when previously it was one of the last. The shotguns are like they were in Modern Warfare 2, with a lot of people using the SPAS because it was overpowered. You just see people casually walking around with shotguns, it’s unbelievable.
Well that and you also have the ability to carry a shotgun as a secondary weapon in your loadout now too.
Okan: Yeah, depending on how you set up your loadout , you can use the Overkill perk.
So as of right now [Nov 2012] you’ve played more Black Ops 2 than I think most people on the planet which as far as I’m concerned makes you a Call of Duty expert so in your expert opinion, which franchise do you think is better, the Black Ops series or the Modern Warfare series?
Okan: I’m going to have to say Black Ops, hands down. I mean, Modern Warfare 2 was ahead when that came out because it was different, they brought the killstreaks out and that kind of changed the way Call of Duty was played. But now with Black Ops 2 they’ve brought in the ‘support your teammates and you will win’ mechanic and that is great. Killstreaks don’t matter, you’ve got to support your team and support will win you the game every single time. Personally, that change alone would have me give it a 9 1/2 out of 10, I’d give it a perfect score too if it wasn’t for all the tiny little problems here and there that every COD game has.
What sort of things would you change? If you had a message to give the developers about any bugs to fix or something like that, what would it be?
Okan: The main one would be the constant host migration and server issues. You see, not just Black Ops, but every Call of Duty game has this problem when it’s released. Everyone kinda gets frustrated considering it’s such a big franchise but we always seem to see the server going down or a connection issue. I mean, the server actually did go down for about 20 hours during my attempt. I had to play a different ranked playlist which was annoying because you couldn’t earn XP in that mode but I had to play it just to play online. A lot of people were frustrated when that happened. Little things like that happen every year and they never seem to fix it. But in saying that, they have made plenty of positive decisions throughout the game as well.
Lastly, now that you’re done with the Guinness record, what’s next? Any games you’re looking forward to or a new Guinness record to smash?
Okan: Oh man, if I did another Guinness World Record my wife would absolutely kill me. Um, no, I’m not doing anything. Maybe if someone did say, beat my record I may consider doing it again, the only reason I say that is that once I’d finished I felt like I could have gone on for another week.
Ben O’Brien hosts a weekly radio show on 2rrr 88.5fm called ‘Big Head Mode’. You can stream the show every friday, at 9pm on www.2rrr.org.au and you can follow the show on facebook for updates, news and gaming reviews at www.facebook.com/bigheadmode2rrr