Confessions of a Halo Virgin

If you look at all the frothing on the net and the ridiculous amount of advertising out there right now, the release of Halo 3 appears to be something akin to the second coming, and what kind of pope would I be if I missed it? After surfing the net the last few weeks, I literally felt that it was my duty to finally play the first two, so I could be more fully enraptured by the third.

Flynn has tried in vain on numerous occasions to convince me of the fun of the newer first person shooters. Failing in that, he has tried to get me interested by arguing the technical advancement and cultural relevance angles... all to no avail. So when I asked him if he had a copy of the original Halo he was, naturally, ecstatic. Halo and Halo 2 were both games that were stolen when his place was broken into a while back, but because I was interested, he rushed out and bought both.

I was responsible about it - I did my homework first. If Halo proved to be the kind of video crack that it is reputed to be, I wanted to be free of pressing responsibilities when I took my first hit. On Saturday evening, I took the X-Box controller in hand and began.

After 5 hours of solo and co-op play, I arose from the couch with mixed emotions (I suppose losing your cherry is always like that - am I right, ladies?). We had completed about half of the storyline (on Easy) and I was somewhat impressed. Although the story is not terribly complicated, it was a relatively satisfying explanation for why you're shooting everything that moves. The controls are not too difficult to learn (although I hate the targeting system), and the array of human and alien weapons at your disposal is fun. I will confess that there is even an enjoyable rush when you complete a mission in good style - especially in co-op play.

And yet, I am not jonesing for my next hit. It was fun, and I will probably play some more, but I am not a Master Chief groupie. I have been assured that Halo 2 is even better, but I seriously doubt that I will get hooked when I play it. Who knows - maybe Halo 3 will do the trick for me, but I think it is likely that I will forever remain a casual player of first person shooters, and possibly of video games at large. When I look back at the games I have been hooked on in the past (Tribes, American McGee's Alice, Unreal Tournament) I realize that my addictions had more to do with the rest of my life being crappy, than the games being great.

When I was a dedicated Tribes player (long live the rail gun!) I was working at a a job that I literally loathed; I needed the escape. When I was a dedicated Alice player, I was sharing a condo in CA with my mother - that's reason enough for anyone to want to leave reality behind for a bit. As for Unreal, it was winter in Wyoming and the woman I was living with had gone from being my best friend to being my worst enemy in a matter of about 6 months. I spent hours fragging because I really wanted to be ANYwhere but where I was. None of that is the case today, so Halo doesn't really have a chance to get its hooks into me.

The sad realization for me is that I doubt that I'm unique. I imagine that many hard core players - be it WoW, Evercrack, Halo, Madden, whatever - are so into their games because their real lives are so unsatisfying. I'm not sure if it's a symptom of our times, or just a statement on the human condition, but it appears Thoreau was right when he said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Instead of returning to nature, however, we relieve ours by destroying Covenant forces...

8 comments:

Modig_Bjorn said...

Your theory is spot-on. I would like to offer my own theory that I think runs parallel to yours.

I noticed a direct correlation between the drop in my "gaming time" and the rise in my "miscellaneous bedroom activities time."

With that in mind, I think the following conclusion can be made. If you are spending most of your time gaming, you really, REALLY just need/want to get laid.

As awesome as Master Chief is, he can't center me like "other acitivities" can. ;)

His Sinfulness said...

So true, Modig! I have a t-shirt which reads, "1f u c4n r34d th1s, u r3ally n33d t0 g3t l41d."

WNG said...

In the twilight zone between the time the antidepressants were prescribed and the time they started to work (roughly four weeks in 2001) I was pathetically addicted to SimCity.

And did not get laid.

Sad, but true

Levi said...

trust me: you should take every musical recommendation i make. i know my shit. especially the new les savy fav, at the very least, youtube the video for "the equestrian" it's goddamn precious.

and megaman rules.

if halo was about megaman, it would be like a bazmillion times better.

Eoin said...

1.) It's the Third Coming, not the second.

2.) I liked halo 1 better then 2. Long live the ungodly powerful pistol!

3.) I can read l33t at near full speed.

4.) Listen to Levi. The Equestrian is an amazing song, and I can't wait to hear the new album. Levi send it to me. Please?

Mayren said...

i thought today's post was going to be yet another daunting tale of Halo 3 and I find a fellow observer of human kind waxing just a smidge philosophical.
I loved that post Linus.
And yes... losing your cherry is always like that; Both solo and Co-op ending in mixed feelings *wink*

Mackenzie said...

I think your theory has merit, especially when I think of my lack of gaming during my recent back-to-school time.

But it might be worth trying with a truly good game. I'm not trolling--just expressing my honest opinion--when I say that FPS on consoles blows. Play some Half-Life 2 with the details cranked.

His Sinfulness said...

I've played a bit of Half Life, and it is a damn fine gaming experience, but I am unwilling at this point to to upgrade my PC. Maybe after the first of the year, when I get my tax return...

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