For the blood hemorrhaging into the gulch, till it coagulates.
In the year 2000 I was a young teenaged (mutant-ninja) gamer still riding high off of surviving Y2K and spending most of my time, and money, screwing around in the local mall. I had played many of my favorite video games during that time, whether as a fat plumber on the ’64, a space pirate on my power mac, or a valiant fighter-pilot on the family pc. I thought I knew what it meant to be a fan of a franchise.
That changed the day I sauntered into my local game store and saw the demo that shattered what I knew about video games.
I was lucky, it was a slow day and there was almost no one in the store, I was able to stand right in front of the monitor’s display and bask in it’s warm light. Hording it’s glory for myself. I was rooted to the spot for the better part of an hour. Everything about this demo spoke to me on a level that had, before then, been solely reserved for StarWars and Tolkien. From the first moment I saw that Pelican touch down disgorging it’s marines and ‘hog, to the final engagement between the Chief and the nefarious Sangheili, I was transfixed. Every tree, rock, and blind-wolf (heh), cemented the game in my mind as something I MUST pursue.
Finally I was able to tear my eyes away from the screen, as frantically I began my search for info. The demo itself was little help, as it only looped the cut scenes and action. The store’s employees even less so, as they had put no advertising material around the display. After minutes of pure frustration my eyes alighted on a tiny file name in the bottom right corner of the demo’s screen. Some computer-talk gibberish, a few numbers, dot-this and dot-that, and then, a word. So innocuous at first I was uncertain if it even had anything to do with the violence on the screen. But this was the only thing I had to hold afloat my drowning curiosity.
I was able to find Bungie, and to my delight, at that time Halo was being developed for Macintosh computers, I was certain my power mac II would have an awesome new game ere too long. Imagine my disappointment when I heard that they were switching over to the new, and as yet untested, Xbox for their masterpiece. I was heart-broken, because I knew I wouldn’t have enough money to buy one of these Xbox’s AND a brand new game. I resigned myself to never exploring the mysterious of the ancient ring-world </melodrama>.
Fast-forward a year, my buddy bought himself a new console and game and wanted to know if I wanted to come over and give it a shot. I got over to his place and was overjoyed when I discovered the game he had purchased was Halo! The white-stag of my (admittedly young) gaming career was within my grasp! Eagerly I began telling him of how I’d wanted to play this game since I first discovered it, he told me to shut up and grab a controller. O’Donnell’s orchestral opus began, and I fell in love all over again.
Hours were spent playing through the co-op campaign (unheard of!), and when we finished, days were spent playing the addictive multiplayer. Then we discovered LAN, and we called it good.
Ten years later and I’ve played the games, read the books, watched the machinima, collected the action-figures, written fan-fiction, partied down with Bungie at Seattle release parties, spent hours waiting in line with fellow fans at local midnight releases, laughed at Stuntmutt, pored over the Weekly Updates, giggled at bs angels innuendos, coveted recon, studied the making-of vidocs, and lurked on HBO for almost a decade. I’ve met friends, been irritated with Timmys (gotta remind myself I was their age when I first played Halo), and had more emotional highs and lows playing these games than any other entertainment franchise that I’ve enjoyed.
The years worth of good times and fond memories are something I could never repay Bungie for, not even if I bought the legendary editions of every game they release. And who am I kidding? I’ll probably do that anyway. Basically I want to say, that from the Pillar of Autumn to the Fall of Reach, from the machinations of the San ‘Shyuum to the poetry of the Gravemind, Bungie, you have started something that will never be forgotten. For that we love you, and here with my heart in my throat and my controller hand a-twitching, I ask:
Bungie, will you marry me?