'Tis the season for blogs that start with "'Tis the season for ..." and drench our screens with savory nostalgia butter until they are dripping onto our keyboards, leaving us to sop it up with our tongues like dyhdrated hamsters. There is going to be like eight of these write-ups this month, so I'm getting one in before I get too blog-cucked this holiday season. There are two types of people: those who cuck and those who get cucked. It's a cuck eat cuck world. Remember that.
I never owned Halo: Combat Evolved, probably never will. I had a friend who owned it, and on my seldom visits to his place we would play it like it was our religion. I was more addicted to Halo than crack cocaine. Halo had a special place in my heart. It was like Jesus, sort of out of reach but still beloved dearly. So when Halo 2 came out in November of 2004 (My lawd, has it has been that long?) I knew what I wanted needed from Santa.
Let me preface this by saying that I don't get excited for Video Games like I use to. Many probably know the feeling of dealing with work, family and money. This is what usually separates the young gamer from the old gamer. Whereas I can wait for a release now, when I was a kid I had to have it ASAP. I would obsess over some of these games until they came out.
The night before Christmas I was so excited because I knew early morning I would have Halo the Second in my hands. I stayed up late anxious thinking about the small possibility that I would die before I wake, and I would never get to play as Master Chief again. What if a stray plane crashed into my house? What if I spontaniously caught hellfire? I would have been SO PISSED at God if I died. A small portion of those nights were planning on how to take down heaven just in case. I was about to get all Kratos up in that bitch. HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A 12-YEAR-OLD WHO CAN'T OPEN PRESENTS CHRISTMAS MORNING. If I didn't make it until sunsrise, nobody was getting an afterlife. That was the deal.
But Christmas morning came and so did I. Hello Too was finally in my mittens and I would be attached to it for the next year or so. I liked the music and story, but I really enjoyed painting the walls with alien blood. It had some gore (you know, the Flood-related stuff) but I remember being impressed with how much blood there was. Blue blood, green blood, orange blood, red blood; it was art. Sometimes I just sat there firing rounds into bodies until the floor was a mix of colors on a concrete palette. I also really enjoyed plasma grenades. Remember that feeling when you'd stick a grenade to a grunt and they would panic because they were suddenly reminded that life is fleeting? You asborbed it in, usually with a deep inhale, as the grunt ran into its allies causing mass devestation. It was thereaputic as drinking Earl Grey tea after a stressful day.
Hold your horses psychologist of Destructoid. As much as Halo was the gateway drug for turning children into psychopaths, it was also a good way at pumping them full of empathy. It was fun running things over with a Warthog or raining down explosive death from above, but it SUCKED when those things happened to you. Sometimes you knew what it was like being ran over or stuck with a sticky grenade. I still massacred every split-lip in the game, but I did it with a single tear in my eye.
Almost exactly two years later, a game called Gears of War would come out. Damn well had a repeat of my last internal struggle, but this time there was an added bonus. This would be my first Xbox 360. See, in my family you might get a game for your birthday, but if you wanted a console? Those only came around Christmas time, baby. That was true for the Gamecube, the Playstation 2...pretty much any console I've owned in my early childhood. So I was getting GoW and a 360?! THAT'S A MOTHERFUCK'N CHRISTMAS RIGHT THERE! Tell ya h'wat.
As soon as I was able to chainsaw someone in half, my young mind was blown away. Not to say that the gaming world was shy to violence up until that point (see Postal series) but there was something very over the top about using a chainsaw. There are games that have chainsaw deaths, but they were usually used against the player to invoke fear. When you're the one with the chainsaw THERE IS NO FEAR, only chunks. It was a Christmas Carnage Carnival. Gears of War just had that meaty oomph to it that made Xmas 2006 one of the bloodiest.
Images of those days play in my mind like ...
Mom: "I wonder if Swine is hungry. I'll see if he wants dinner."
Me playing GoW: "I WILL MURDER THE FUCKING WORLD."
Mom: "Such a nice boy."
Probably should have smoked some weed as a kid.
There were some other good parts. Like using the Hammer of Dawn to bring celestial laser beams down from the sky. Or swinging grenades around Evil Betty style. Swinging the chain. Swinging the chain. Swinging the chain. Remember how grenades and torque bows had that little arc so you knew where you were aiming? And you would try to play Whack-A-Mole with crouching bogeymen to earn a bursting headshot? That was the best!
And I guess...that's all there is to say. Thanks to Video Games I'll always remember those two iconic holiday colors, red and green. Red from all the blood, and green because holiday dinner had a tendency to give me the runs. I hope this Holiday season y'all get some bloody games too.