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Tycho / on Fri, Sep 6 2002 at 6:50 am

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By conservative estimates, about half of the readership has completed our survey - so I’m satisfied that our sample is pretty good.  Then again, I thought that we had a pretty good snapshot on Wednesday, too, and since then we’ve added three percent more girls.  Now, I don’t know a whole lot about girls.  Maybe they only surf the web on Thursdays and Fridays.  Just in case, I’m going to leave it up for another day.

Okay, so here’s the strip.  Since our survey has revealed that many of you play videogames on occasion, I’m assuming you might already have seen the Halo 2 trailer.  It’s cool enough I guess, it doesn’t show so much as a frame of gameplay, but like candles or Clarence Carter it gets you in the mood.  It got me thinking about Halo. 

We didn’t play through the end of the single player in Halo so much as we were subjected to it.  Subjugated by it.  I mean, we were invested by that point.  When they made us play back through the whole game, yea, even unto the first level, it had become farcical.  Was it a sublime parody?  I asked myself.  Did they subvert the assumptions of the FPS genre or, uh, something?  I don’t believe so.  We were contacted by Bungie employees - using their home addresses, of course - who agreed with our assertion that the campaign was a failure. 

That was a really long time ago, and I couldn’t pretend to be filled with rage about something like that anymore.  If there was anything wrong with the original Halo, I don’t even think Bungie had much to do with it.  Clearly, the game had to launch with the system - the game was purchased by Microsoft to move consoles.  They had great multiplayer, possibly the best in a console FPS, about six hours of extraordinary action in the single player, and it was decided at some level by someone external to the studio that they needed more than that.  To my mind, there is no other explanation - let alone excuse - for the nearly infinite repetition of content.  So, in the absence of time, they had this one kind of twisty room you could go through over and over, and then go back through, literally adding days of playtime, only you played it with a claw hammer, pounding on your television and forehead, asking God why the righteous are made to suffer.  I don’t think creative people had anything to do with that decision.  And I think of Bungie as being staffed by creative people. 

That’s why I have such faith where Halo 2 is concerned.  I mean, the first one sold more than a million Goddamn copies, the sequel to it is as much of a sure thing as you can have in this industry.  I like to think that a flock of randy accountants won’t be contacted to fuck this one in the ass.  What’s more, the things I (and perhaps you) expected from the original Halo - pitched Multiplayer battles between ragged bands of Covenant and Humanity, via robust Internet support - is there in Halo 2.  Shit, it will be better than that, with full voice support and God knows what else.  So, I love Bungie again.  And I’m sorry for hitting them.  And even though it might be weird, I hope they can come to my birthday party in February.

Still playing a lot of Frequency as you might expect, epiphany and all, but I unlocked a song on the first stage by a band called Freezepop that I like a lot.  They have a few tracks on their own site, as well as MP3 Dot Com - it’s goofy, feel-good synthesizer pop that operates on the brain like a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. 

Also, the second part of the Henry Jenkins interview is now available - it’s getting pretty good.  The first part is here, if you missed it.  I guess there’s actually a third one coming, if you can believe that - we’ll catch that one Monday. 

(CW)TB out.

it’s all a part of my harebrained scheme


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