Halo 3 has a special place in my memory and my heart, for many different reasons. I have been anxious to finally play this game, so I can rehash some old memories and experiences. Tonight was the night ... finally.
This game was the first Halo to be released on the Xbox 360, and from what I vaguely remember, the build up to it was phenomenal as gamers were clamoring and drooling to see Master Chief in the HD glory, finally. It was the end of the storyline arc that began in the original Halo, and with the new Xbox 360 system and the quickly growing Xbox Live community, gamers couldn't get enough of the multiplayer mode. In a lot of aspects, Halo 3 set the bar high for many standards in the video game industry.
When the game came out, however, I had no way of playing the game. I had come back to reality and abandoned my gaming hiatus, but naturally, my climb back into the gaming universe got started where it all started in the first place - Nintendo. I had gotten a Wii for Christmas right after it was released, by my amazing better-half, who stood in line for hours outside of Best Buy with our youngest boy, who had just turned one, in the pouring rain to get me the hard-to-find console for Christmas. She knew I used to love video games and wanted to get back into it, so she thought I would enjoy the Nintendo Wii for a Christmas present. Needless to say, it remains one of, if not the best Christmas present I have ever received, not just because of what it was, but also because of the trouble she went through to get it.
ANYWAY... while I was back into video games, the Wii was the only system we had. And that was perfect for me. And while we thought our oldest son would take to it also, he just was never too interested in the system or the games we had. So the Christmas after Halo 3 was released, we got him his own Xbox 360 - but didn't get Halo 3 then. Getting that system opened up the flood gates, as games I had no access to before suddenly became interesting. Later on, when Circuit City went out of business, I swung by their closing store to see what they had left, and somehow, someway managed to walk out with the collectors edition of Halo 3 for like $12. Score! There was one problem, however.
Mom didn't really like her little boy to play violent video games. We had a neighbor kid who was a punk, and he was obsessed with Halo 3, so naturally, she associated this violent game with his poor behavior. I can't blame her for thinking that, but Halo never screamed "VIOLENCE! HIDE YOUR KIDS!" like other games. I tried explaining how you are just shooting aliens, and gore is at a minimum compared to other violent games. Eventually, after showing her Halo 3, she caved and agreed to let him play.
Oddly enough, he was eight years old when she decided it was OK to let him play. My seven year old has been playing Halo games for several years now (and Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc.), without qualm. Either she just became numb to it, or trusted that we are raising our kids to be great people, and that will counter any negative influence "violent" games may have. I prefer to lean towards the latter, of course.
Sitting here tonight, playing Halo 3, brought back all these memories and feelings which I anticipated it would. The game is so pretty, even after all these years, as it is clear that Bungie knew how to squeeze the very best out of the Xbox 360 console like hardly any other developers could.
Tonight, surprisingly, there was no mention of the inability to sprint - I think my son has just given up on that fact. I also rediscovered that I am still horrible at driving Warthogs, as I always was. Instead of driving, I am much more content jumping in the gunner position and lighting up the Covenant, while Caleb on the other hand, insists on driving. Thankfully, Halo 3 was built with co-op campaign in mind, as there are PLENTY of vehicles available for both players. At one point, our game became an all-out demolition derby. That was fun.
Funny side note: His little sister, my four year old, was very confused by the fact that he was an "alien" who looked just like a "bad guy," and she constantly wanted me to shoot him, not knowing or not caring that it was her brother, not an enemy. Unbeknownst to him, I "accidentally" took him out a couple of times with sticky grenades and turrets. Oops! Blame it on the cute, innocent sister!
We just had a lot of fun tonight, and I thoroughly enjoyed not only actually playing the game, but reliving some really good times in my gaming past. And that is what is going to be awesome about this week of Halo - and so far, it is living up to the hype on my end.
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