Published on November 2nd, 2014 | by Ryan Guerra0
Why I’m Excited For Master Chief Collection
Without knowing it, entering into college in 2001 was the perfect time to be a gamer. In the dorms, everyone had Nintendo 64’s which lead to epic tournaments of Super Smash Brothers and Mario Kart 64. But little did we know that come November, our dorm’s network was about to be high jacked by a “big black box” and some “fatty” controllers when Microsoft released the Xbox and Halo.
I must admit. At first I didn’t really care about Microsoft’s new Machine. I am not one of those people who always thinks “bigger is better” when it comes to technology and games. After all, isn’t gameplay more important? Especially when it comes to shooters, whose controls at the time, had always seemed clunky to me on home consoles without a mouse and keyboard. Just look at Golden Eye for the N64. I realize it was a great game, but back then, I was always frustrated at the lack of precision which usually led to a bit of motion sickness. Maybe I just sucked at it, but it didn’t give me high hopes for future shooters on consoles.
So when my friend across the hall was the only one on my floor to get an Xbox at launch, suddenly, there was this Sci-fi shooter with an epic soundtrack drawing me to it. Not only was the presentation impressive, but with some practice, I found the precision I had always wanted, given by this “fatty” controller with two analog sticks. The split screen game play was fun, balanced, competitive and just all around amazing. Halo was so different from anything else out there that a small dorm room was crammed with a sausage fest of ten guys, all watching, cheering, talking shit and just waiting for their chance to play. It was the first time I had experienced anything like this as a gamer and it was glorious!
Then something really unexpected happened. In the cafeteria we overheard a group of guys talking about Halo who lived on the other side of the building. Naturally, we started talking trash which evolved into a challenge against floors. I figured that we would all meet in a lounge and set up the system and play. However, my buddy across the hall was like, “no man we just need to do this,” as he plugged the Xbox into the buildings Ethernet port and made a phone call to the other guys room. Suddenly, we were on the network and we were playing 4 v 4 team slayer for hall pride, glory and the right to shit talk. Not growing up as a PC gamer, I had never experienced anything like it before. It was my first LAN Party type experience. It was all I wanted to play and it sucked up a good chunk of my free time. After Christmas, there were several more Xboxes in the building and soon we were playing 8 v 8 on the dorms network. It was amazing and competitive. So Competitive, that when one team was dominating the map, we would tell one of our spectators to go slam on the door of that team till they answered, just so we can get the upper hand while they had to put the controller down to answer the door. We called it our “not so silent sneak attack.”
But after that school year, when I went home for the summer, I realized that my experience was not that common. Most of my friends and family who were gamers did not have the same experience I had had. They had Halo and played it on the couch with friends, but very few had played more than 4 player split screen. It was a shame because they had not experienced just how amazing Halo can be.
But then, in 2004, Halo 2 came out and suddenly they all knew. Thanks to Xbox live, I was playing 16 player matches with my friends from college, high school and my family, all from my small dorm room in Michigan. It was glorious, as I spent countless hours spent playing team slayer on Lockout, Rockets on Ascension or 1 flag CTF on Zanzibar. I truly believe that had Halo not existed, I probably would have graduated college with honors and become some sort of “noble or magistrate.” Instead I studied Halo and created memories with my friends that will last a lifetime. It was worth it.
It is this that has me excited about the Master Chief Collection. After college, Halo was never the same. Perhaps because some of my friends had families and didn’t have time to game as much. Others, like me, moved on to Call of Duty or Battlefield. But now, a decade later, it will be easy to play Halo and Halo 2 with my friends. I am just as excited now as when I was a poor college kid who had to recycle cans to buy the Halo Xbox. Today, I am looking forward to reconnecting with friends who have grown apart. To catch up about life, jobs, sports and families while dominating at team slayer over Xbox Live. They say, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.” But this feeling I have right now, is pretty damn close. November 11th cannot get here fast enough. I cannot wait to re-start and “finish the fight!”