This of course, is an age old saying that normally goes without… well, saying. But in the past few days I found new significance for the quote that usually refers to the experience of falling in love with another human being. No folks, I did not meet the future Mrs. DJ Steve (all my eHarmony posts have still gone unanswered despite increased traffic on this site, WTF?!) but I did rekindle an old flame of mine. There was a brief moment in time when she meant everything to me; but alas I was not the only one who was jockeying for her number one spot. She challenged me, left me brokenhearted and distraught, and yet in the end I have nothing but the warmest feelings for her. She is and always will be one of my most tragic love stories. She is Microsoft and Bungie’s Halo.
I never had the privilege of owning an Xbox or Xbox 360 but this never prevented me from pursuing my love affair over the years. Halo, the forbidden fruit, the game that won over countless of my friends, was always something I had to appreciate from a strictly outsider’s perspective. This weekend while visiting with family, I was able to recall the reasons why my love affair with Halo was so tumultuous and why despite years of separation, playing it again felt like no time had passed at all.The epic nature of the aptly titled “matchmaking” process in the Halo 3 online lobby is enough to rouse even the most skeptical of all n00bz. A brilliant dance of colors (Red, Blue, Green, and Orange), a moving orchestral score, and the fact that you can visually see how many other lost souls are actively feeding their unrequited love affair with the game across the world, all combine to make you realize that you have transcended reality and truly entered into another universe.
On the Statue of Liberty, it reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” In my heart I knew that Microsoft (despite my abhorrent sentiments towards them) had captured this founding principle of the United States’ immigration policy in a game. Because Halo is desired by all men: free or imprisoned, poor or wealthy, educated or not. The collective love for a challenging, interactive community of like-mindedly smitten individuals conspires to make Halo the ultimate social equalizer in a world often divided against itself. This love affair has stolen the hearts of the bravest of men and inspired the youth of a nation.
I guarantee that there are more people playing Halo right now than there are reading books in the United States. But this is not a cause for alarm because I, like so many, have been entranced and cannot… nay will not ever turn my back on her. How can you say no to something that reinvents itself as faster and better looking every 3 years for the low cost of a weekly McDonald’s part-time paycheck? Like a ship captain to the sea, I will forever be drawn to her. Because when all is said and done I can simply turn her off, let her cool down, and go at it again with her for another 12 hours straight.