Saturday, November 20, 2004

If Halo 2 were a pie, I would eat it

Hmm, methinks I’m not going to type much tonight. All the recent slacking has made me tired. I mean, I played so much Halo 2 tonight that my fingers are bleeding. Now I know how children in third world countries feel when they have to work 13 hours a day in hellish conditions for meager-to-insulting wages to make Nike shoes. Solidarity.

And some news on the Halo 2 related front:

As if it wasn't tough enough being a soldier these days, Stars & Stripes reports the Army and Air Force Exchange Service--that's the PX to you and me--has run out of copies of "Halo 2."

The retailers who serve the nation's military personnel got 25,000 copies of the smash Microsoft game for its Xbox console, according the news service, and cleared them out pronto.

AAFES promises that it will receive another 16,000 copies of the game within the next two weeks, however, meaning more of our men and women in uniform will be able to experience the new preferred form of rest and relaxation from the rigors of military life--shooting stuff.

Wow, not only does the American military protect our freedom and kill terrorists, but they protect us from the alien menace of the Covenant! My respect for our armed forces increases everyday, just like my respect for the thighs on Michael Moore’s sweat pants (how they can resist such intense heat and pressure without being turned into a fossil fuel is nothing short of miraculous--and check this out, slightly related, highly humorous).

Vidja games can also teach us civvies a thing or two about combat. For example, through Halo 2 I learned that it’s best not to get killed because that can lead to long respawn times and your “teammate” picking over your corpse for weapons (band of brothers my expletive).

And if I ever do get in a combat situation, because of my extensive Halo 2 experience I’ll know exactly what to do. Rock the left joystick forward, tap the X key and hold down both triggers, while also applying gentle pressure to the right joystick. And, seriously, I've never even been to a boot camp! No joking!

Michele Malkin, right-wing pundit extraordinaire, brings us another Halo 2 scoop (with extra media bias goodness!):

I was a bit of a gaming geek many, many, many years ago before career & children & meeting mortgage payments took over. Was addicted to King's Quest and one of the biggest thrills during my stint in Seattle was meeting Sierra On-line co-founder Ken Williams, husband of KQ pioneer Roberta, when he launched a now-defunct Internet radio talk show network based in Bellevue, WA, called TalkSpot.

Anyway, just thought that personal background would explain my interest in Halo2, which the gaming world is going ga-ga over at the moment. Seems that some conservatives took umbrage at comments by Halo 2 writer Joe Staten, who was quoted in Entertainment Weekly as follows:

"You could look at it," Staten says of his Halo 2 storyline "as a damning condemnation of the Bush Administration's adventure in the Middle East."

Turns out, though, that this is actually what went down:

The EW journalist chose to include one of my examples of possible misinterpretation in the article, but not all of them. Most importantly, the journalist left out my closing statement: "Look, you can read anything into the story that you like - call a damning condemnation of the Bush Admnistration's adventure in the Middle-East, for example. But you'd be wrong."

The "But you'd be wrong" part seems kind of important to me, but then again I'm not a professional journalist (and, alas, I've not even played any journalist related vidja games, such as ). It seems the medias leftist bias has even infiltrated into vidja game coverage. I mean, I can see someone trying to milk political points off the death of Christopher Reeves or the fact that DICK CHENEY'S DAUGHTER IS A LESBIAN... but vidja games? Is nothing sacred? Have they no souls?

And finally, to round off this post, an interesting article on the politics of Halo 2 from Slate:

In the first Halo, the aliens were a shadowy, militaristic menace driven by religious zeal. In Halo 2, they're still pretty much that way—unfortunately, you never get to go all the way to the dark side and fight humans. Nonetheless, you do get inside the aliens' heads. After talking to the Covenant's spiritual leaders and learning about their motives, they still seem pretty loopy, but it's harder to think of them as just faceless monsters.

This inverted perspective extends, brilliantly, to the manual that comes along with the game's "Limited Collector's Edition." While the game's plain-jane $45 version comes with a guide written from the human perspective, the bulked-up $55 edition (it also comes with a DVD) has the exact same handbook written from the alien perspective. Both books cover the same material—the weapons, the combatants, the Byzantine back story—but with hilariously different interpretations. The human guide calls the littlest aliens "Grunts" and says that "they will often panic when faced with superior forces." The alien guide calls them by their actual name, Unggoy, and purrs that they "will as ever fight well with their comrades." More pointedly yet, the aliens refer to their defeat in the first game as "The Atrocity at Halo." Who wrote this thing, Noam Chomsky?
Heh. This is funny because I dislike Noam Chomsky. And because it's true. But mostly because I dislike Noam Chomsky.


Of course, you could argue just as easily that Paul Wolfowitz wrote the humans' guide. The narrative seems awfully familiar: a "good" force, convinced of its moral superiority, hacking through a faceless, undeterred horde that's driven by religious fervor.

This is also funny because I dislike Noam Chomsky. Yeah, I'm still feelin' some leftover buzz from the Chomsky line--wasn't that great? Unlike Chomsky, endorphins totally rock. I think I'm going to go read that line a few more times. Not that I need too. I mean, if I wanted too, I could stop reading it at any time. And without patches or a step down program. Like cold turkey man. Freezing, frickin' frigid iced turkey. Okay, now I'm gettin' the chills.
More pointedly yet, the aliens refer to their defeat in the first game as "The Atrocity at Halo." Who wrote this thing, Noam Chomsky?

Chills gone. Pulse normal. Buzz high. Fingers talking.

update: we'll just file this post under "the perils of blogging late." You know, along with every other post I've written.

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