Editorial: The Good and the Bad of the Halo 3 Effect
They came, ran in the streets with their copies of Halo 3, and then tucked themselves away in their basements for the next three days. To the rest of the world, it was a phenomenon. To gamers, it was expected.
But to be fair, the numbers were impressive. It’s understandable that the rest of the world notice—this has been the single most fastest selling piece of media in the history of humankind. The estimated total in the end was $170 million, and it overshadowed the once triumphant Spider-Man, which probably can be considered the most similar release to that of Halo 3.
It’s fantastic that many “normies” out there woke up to find that video games have more than established themselves in the footholds of popular culture. Though, one has to admit the BBC went a little far in stating the obvious.
One recent article read:
A key attraction of games like Halo 3 is that many people can play simultaneously – either against each other or as a team. They do this by connecting their games machines together using the internet.
That’s a real key piece of information for all you people who were, you know, in a coma for the latter part of the 90s. Did they really believe that people using the internet to read their news would actually need to be brought up to speed on the idea that gamers, too, use the internet for the purposes of gaming?
To give the article some credit, however, they did bring up the positive effects of what this “awakening” for gaming will have on the population at large: making the dorks feel less like dorks.
“There’s now a massive social aspect to online gaming,” Tim Ingham, deputy editor of MCV, told the BBC in the article. “You can share the camaraderie of gaming with others even when you are in your own bedroom, because gaming networks enable you to speak to the people you are playing with.”
You’re not a loner, you’re just really into games! Even if you are a social pariah, you won’t feel left out at parties, because there’s bound to be somebody with a 360 around. Finally, the jocks, cool kids, stoners and weirdoes can finally get together and teabag each other until their hearts are content.
We can give the original Halo partial credit with starting all of that, and obviously it is recognized on a much larger scale now since its release on the original Xbox. According to the article, more than 650 million hours have passed with gamers around the world blowing each other away in Bungie’s creation.
So thank you, Microsoft, for helping to make video games a more culturally accepted practice. But you know what we can do without? The product tie-ins and corporate sponsorship.
Sure, it will lead to bigger and better opportunities, possibly tournaments where the elite can battle it out for some cash, but this new breed of Hollywood video game is probably not going to do a whole lot for innovation. The first-person shooter formula works, and corporate sponsorship demands corporate results.
If somebody can give me evidence that larger financial backers in the entertainment industry have helped to usher in waves of creativity, then there’s nothing to be said. However, it seems to me, much like in the film industry, that there’s a rather large chance the mainstream gaming industry has just gotten its first taste of true blockbuster rewards, and it’s good.
Mountain Dew, 7-Eleven, Pontiac, Comcast and Burger King are riveted, which isn’t exactly riveting. Big name corporations can’t have a positive influence on the game making process, it would seem. But perhaps the tournaments will overshadow all that.
In the meantime, go back to Master Chief. He’s waiting.