Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, you know that “Halo” is much more than what’s hanging from the corner of Sugar Ray’s four-post bed. “Halo,” Microsoft’s most successful video game available for X-Box, is a first-person-shooter with incredible graphics, fast-paced action, a movie-quality storyline and a multi-player mode that has redefined what it means to have a multi-player mode in a game.
Then “Halo 2” came out last November, and it took everything to the next level, improving upon every aspect that made the original game so great. “Halo 2” has sold 6.4 million copies worldwide, according to Microsoft, and video game sales were up 8 percent in 2004, which is largely attributed to “Halo 2” and “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.” “Halo” has become not only a successful video game, but also a successful series of books and action figures, and there are talks of making it into a feature film in the near future.
One cannot visit any college campus without finding several “Halo” players, and the College is no different. Several clubs and organizations, like the Society of Honor Students, have even set up “Halo” at meetings to entertain and to encourage attendance.
What defines “Halo” here at the College is the multi-player experience. Through the College’s local area network (LAN), students are able to play the multi-player mode with anyone else on campus who owns “Halo.”
“It’s already popular, so many people know there will always be others online,” Jack LaFayette, junior psychology major, said.
“It’s so popular with college students because they could just plug it in a wall and play their friends with no lag at all,” Nigel Plaza, freshman interactive multimedia major, added.
Of course, playing with people on campus, including those you may not know, means following certain terms of player etiquette.
“Never do anything annoying like delay games or kill teammates, and don’t get frustrated if you’re not that good,” Lafayette said.
“Have fun and don’t get too serious,” Plaza said. “It’s just a game.”
And like any campus activity, playing “Halo” allows a student to meet others here on campus. However, sometimes, it’s just within the game itself.
“I’ve met a few people from school through ‘Halo,'” Plaza said. “I still don’t know any of their real names, so we just call them by their ‘Halo’ names.”
For more experienced players, the campus experience allows players to do things in the game that normally could not be done. With modified X-Box consoles, players can change aspects of the game that make for a whole new playing experience.
“You can change things in the multi-player mode. We were able to dual-wield any two weapons, have unlimited sword range and other things,” Plaza said. “All of these changes worked over the school’s LAN and X-Box Live.”
If you want to start playing “Halo” and become part of the growing group of players on campus, you obviously need an X-Box console and “Halo 2,” the suggested retail prices for which are $149.99 and $49.99, respectively. These are available wherever video games are sold, including stores like GameStop, Electronics Boutique, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy.
New players who are afraid of getting crushed by more experienced players may want to hone their skills by playing the single-player mode in various difficulty settings. To try multi-player mode outside of school and play friends across the globe, an X-Box Live subscription allows you to play with fellow subscribers, of which there are over 1.4 million worldwide. Purchasing “Halo 2” even gives players a passcode that gives them a free two-month subscription. You do not need X-Box Live to participate in the College’s LAN games.
“Halo” is a video game phenomenon along the lines of Pac Man or Super Mario Brothers. Vince Ingraffia, sophomore health and exercise science major, expresses a sentiment many “Halo” players feel.
“Normally, I am not really into video games, but for some reason, “Halo” is something I’m really into,” he said.