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My History with ‘Halo’

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‘Halo 4’ releases on November 6.

My dad works for the State Department, which means that much of my childhood was spent overseas. This means I missed out a lot on what other kids from my generation consider building blocks – Dragonball Z, Digimon, and Squeezeits, to name a few.

Some things I’m glad I missed.

It also meant that my home, for a long long time, was intensely devoid of a gaming console. My friend had a Nintendo 64, and I would try and stay over his house as much as possible so that we could play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or Super Smash Brothers. But the possibility of actually having one in my house, to play whenever me and my siblings wanted, was out of the question.

At the time, my older brother Christopher was going to a boarding school in Tennessee  where my grandparents lived. Once day, right before he flew overseas to see us, they took him to Toys R Us.

“You can pick out one console, a game for each member of your family, and 4 controllers.” What a dreamboat that must have been. And what a daunting decision, I would think. But Chris, who was in 7th grade at that point, had only one thought on his mind – Halo.

And rightfully so.

And so he brought overseas with him the original Xbox, all those controllers and games, including one of the most important, influential, and best games of all time. My brothers and I wore out that disk. We explored every level exhaustively. We shot alien corpses to watch new multicolored blood textures shoot out of them, to watch the physics of the world react to our bullets. We would even shoot allies, and if you killed too many, they turned against you – how cool was that?

I remember being amazed at my brother being able to kill a hunter using only the pistol whip maneuver-a task I thought was monumentally impossible.

Hunters are still no fucking joke.

Halo 4, the newest game in the franchise, releases in just a few days, to the hordes of hungry Halo fans. The last game they got was merely a prequel – a masterfully crafted one at that. Halo: Reach was released in 2010 and included many interesting things – space combat, for instance, and addicting multiplayer, refined after years and years of Microsoft’s experiments in previous Halo incarnations.

But it lacked what I, and I’m sure many other players, craved most. Master Chief  The man himself, who had saved humanity multiple times. The man who stopped the Flood on the first Halo. The man who launched himself into space with a massive Covenant bomb. The man who now is floating endlessly in space while his trusty AI descends more quickly than we’d like into madness. The man who, come November 6, will face a new and possibly much more deadly threat-the Forerunners.

And I can’t wait.

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Written by John Schwartz

October 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

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