November 2001, I would have been in 4th grade at the time. The amount of hours I spent playing video games up until that point in my life I could have counted on my fingers. It’s not that I didn’t like video games; quite the contrary, I enjoyed any chance I got to spend playing them. It’s just that I never owned my own console. I did, however, have a friend who had recently acquired an Xbox and a copy of this game called Halo. He raved about it at school, and insisted that a few friends have a sleepover at his house to play the game with him. It would end up being my first all-nighter.
The controls felt awkward, I sucked at the game, I didn’t know where I was half the time, and I was absolutely hooked. We played most of the night on Sidewinder: 2v2 Capture the flag, goofing around with the vehicles, bouts of Slayer. My friend was quite skilled with a sniper rife, and to this day I have a certain loathing for snipers. I make it my personal mission to seek them out and end their killing sprees.
Many sleepovers followed that one. The one other night that really sticks out in my mind was the night I played coop campaign with another buddy while everyone else was asleep. Before that night, I had never played through the entire campaign. To be honest, because of how awkward the controls initially felt, I was a little frustrated with the campaign. By this time, however, I had grown more comfortable with the controls. My buddy and I battled our way through the Covenant and Flood hordes, cheering each other on and working together to save the galaxy. We laughed at our many deaths, we screamed in excitement and fear, and when we ran those last few feet to the Longsword, barely escaping the destruction of Halo, we finally sat back and basked in our hard won victory.
Fastforward 10 years when I discover the bungie.org community and realize that there are people who share my love for Halo (and Bungie), and who are even more passionate fans than I am. The brief time I have spent in this community has brought back those feelings of playing Halo for hours on end with my school buddies. I feel as though I have found a home, and I couldn’t thank the community enough for their awesomeness.
For a while I was never quite sure what it was about Halo that made me fall in love with it. There was so much that I loved ABOUT it: the story, the music, the heroic characters, the fun times with friends. But those things can be found in many other games. So why did I love it so much? (I’m gonna go a little deep here) I believe that the reason we love something, anything, whether it be a person, a pet, a story, a game, is because it has a positive effect on us, it changes us, makes us a better person. Something about Halo changed me as a person, and therein lies my reason for loving it. Halo made me a happier kid, and it made me the gamer I am today. Thank you, Bungie, for giving me that.
Destiny awaits, and my inner 4th grader couldn’t be more excited!