"Before we go into the recap, I would like to thank Sharukurusu for his tremendous help in recapping this month. Without that, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy my vacation as much as I did. Unfortunately, I am not savvy enough with graphics to produce an official banner for him, so I had to do with a bigger sized text (if you can produce such a banner please put it in the comments section). Note that the recap blog of this month is written by Sharu, which should be obvious as I haven't played a single Xbox game in my life. Enjoy."
The first time I saw Halo: Combat Evolved was before the Xbox had even launched. Our local Electronics Boutique had a kiosk set up in the store, and if I remember correctly, there was a life-sized Master Chief statue set up there as well. Obviously, the goal was to promote Microsoft's upcoming console, and the hype was easy to get swept up in.
I easily remember thinking that those were the best graphics I had ever seen. If anyone is familiar with the YouTuber Kelsey Lewin, she made similar comments when speaking about the Xbox on one of Metal Jesus Rocks’ videos. Compared to the PS2 (which still felt ahead of its time in some ways) the Xbox was bringing console graphics to the next level.
I had a PS1 and PS2 at home, which were my primary gaming consoles. At the time, my neighbor and I were regularly playing Grand Theft Auto III, and like many others, we were blown away by the “openness” of that game and the apparent freedom it allowed the player.
Halo was on another level, though. Back during a time when the prominent first-person shooters were headed towards a multiplayer focus (particularly on PC with Counter Strike), Halo offered players a new and immersive story-driven experience that would shatter people’s expectations just like the original Half-Life. Halo’s atmosphere, music, graphics, otherworldly-ness, and overall bend to destroy aliens was something that I became obsessed with.
Of course, being thirteen at the time meant that I wasn’t exactly raking in the dough. So I never picked up an Xbox. My best friend did, and we played Halo for countless hours, both against one another and in co-operative play.
The hype leading up to the release of Halo, as well as Microsoft’s brand new console, was something to truly remember. Back then, I was the only one of my friends who didn't own a Nintendo console (other than my GameBoy pocket). All of my friends had a Super Nintendo and eventually a Nintendo 64. For me, it was all about the Sega: Genesis, the PlayStation, and my home PC. All of the gaming I did on the SNES and N64 occured at friends houses.
After the Dreamcast had faded out of the console market, a lot of people were looking forward to something brand new. And since the PlayStation 2 had somehow managed to (arguably) overshadow both Nintendo and Sega during early 2000s, I believe that both Sega and Nintendo fans were looking forward to something fresh, something that wasn’t PlayStation. The Xbox home console provided exactly that. And the fact that a handful of Dreamcast-bound games would eventually find their way to the Xbox meant (at least back then) that the Xbox was a solid place to find awesome and exclusive games. Both Nintendo and Sega fans could find something new and exciting with the Xbox.
Some time after the release of Halo I discovered Eric Nylund’s novel, Halo: The Fall of Reach. I bought it, and read it, and thoroughly loved it. I tried sharing it with my friend, who was my main Halo companion. Although he wasn’t much of a reader, he did think the story was really cool. I’ll never forget getting absorbed in the Fall of Reach and being sucked into the background story of the Master Chief, Dr. Halsey, and the other Spartans. For me, there’s no doubt that Microsoft Studios created a world that rivals the feeling I would get while playing Star Wars games and reading the Star Wars novels. While researching for this blog, I found out that the novel actually released just prior to the game.
There are some who will argue that Xbox today is a shadow of what it was back then. Although I have never owned an Xbox myself, the console and its flagship game remain very close to me. As a Sega fan, I only realized years later how many Dreamcast and Sega properties made their way to the Xbox. And as a PlayStation fan, I think Microsoft deserves more praise for bringing its classic games to the Xbox One in the form of backwards compatibility.
The truth is, console exclusives are not as big of a deal today as they were during the 90s and early 2000s. During the SNES/Genesis days and the PS1/N64 days, the number of unique and interesting exclusives to each console was through the roof. If you only owned a PlayStation or Dreamcast, you had an entirely different gaming experience than your friend who owned a SNES or N64 (which was the case for me, being on PlayStation).
Personally, I’m a fan of all the major console companies, and always have been. I have good memories with each of them, whether it was through playing at a friends house, or playing the system that my parents bought for me as a kid. I'm lucky, then, that I got to experience the pre-launch days of Halo between playing the demo at E.B., eventually playing the full game at a friend's house, and finally getting absorbed in the prequel novel Fall of Reach. It was a really good time for video games.
Long story short, I wanted to use this blog to celebrate a unique and interesting time in Xbox history. Now that the Master Chief Collection is making its way to PC, I am patiently awaiting its release so I can relive my journey through the world of the original Halo, and I’ll finally get to experience a few of the sequels. Maybe I’ll even re-read Eric Nylund’s novel, just for kicks.
My “good-old days” rant is over. Now, here’s a look at August 2019’s list of Cblogs written by the members of the Dtoid community.
S- It looks like Kerrik52 is back with his weekly reviews of past games in his "Traveller in Playtime" series:
S - Uncle Arena Fighter unveils his newest series, Freeware Fridays, where he'll discuss free games such as demos, betas, and alphas on a weekly basis.
T- If you think freemium games can't get worst, then CorruptAI125 is here to correct that notion. It looks like Gears Pop! is infested with monetization tricks that could be the most disgusting bullshit cocktail I ever saw.
D- In an epic (and possibly fruitless) quest, ABowlOfCeareal continues writing some interesting balancing suggestions for the Super Smash Bros. cast:
M- PhilsPhindings continues his excellent series where he looks for similarities between famous videogame tunes and other music from different sources:
To celebrate the recap of the entire month, give a hand to the following bloggers:
Comments of the Week and Band of Bloggers Team of This Month:
Blog Count: 69