Not Liking Halo on Halo 4′s Special Day

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Published by Jim Sterling 6 years ago , last updated 1 month ago

I had a dream about Halo 4 last night. I cannot tell you the details of the dream, for I cannot really recall any. All I know is that Master Chief featured heavily, and I woke up with nothing but Halo on my mind. I’m not a fan of Halo, and I have not been excited about Halo 4′s launch. In fact, a copy has been with me for a while and I didn’t even put the disc into the Xbox 360 until last night, where I gave the first chapter an obligatory playthrough. It says a lot about just how huge a new Halo release is, that even those who can’t claim to be fans are subconsciously obsessed with it.

Obsessed I may be, but I’m not going to play anymore of it. I’m just not interested. I’ve tried to like Halo many times in the past. I’ve played Halo, Halo 3, and Reach, and my conclusions have always been the same — it’s mechanically sound, it does what it does very well, but it absolutely does not speak to me. There’s something about Halo that I just can’t connect with, and every experience I’ve had with the series has been marked by a complete lack of emotion and a blank-faced stare.

I find something utterly alienating about Halo. There’s an artificial feeling to its world and characters, like everything’s made of plastic, and I feel like I’m playing with action figures based on an obscure Saturday morning kids’ TV show. Being able to believe a game’s world is a key component to my being interested in it, at least when it comes to narrative-led campaigns, and I just never get the sense that anything in Halo is actually real. It all looks and sounds so fake to me. I realize that, yes, it’s a videogame, and none of it is real — but even the most fantastical of fiction can be believed so long as you craft an involving enough universe, and Halo consistently keeps me at arm’s length.

None of this is to say that Halo is a bad game. As I said, whenever I play a Halo title, I can recognize that it’s built incredibly well. It does not surprise me that millions of people around the world enjoy it so much, and to an obsessive degree at that. I can see the allure of Master Chief, Cortana, and the war against the Covenant. I just can’t feel any of it.

Today is a difficult day for a gamer like myself. Not difficult in any meaningful or important sense, but difficult in the context of the gamer community. Today is the day everybody’s talking about Halo (in between commentary on Obama vs. Romney, of course!) and I feel like I’m missing out. I can talk to you about LittleBigPlanet Karting and Lucius — I have reviews for those coming up on Destructoid — but who gives a shit about either of those on Halo 4′s special day? When the launch of a big game comes and you don’t happen to like that game, you tend to feel as if your contributions to the next few hours of discussion are a little bit meaningless. You also can’t help but feel a little envious of those who do enjoy the series and are genuinely excited for the launch. I wish I could be that excited today. Who doesn’t like being excited for something they genuinely love? Today is not my turn for such excitement.

That said, more power to those who are fans, and are going to have an enjoyable day.

There seems to be a growing trend among certain gamers to actively hate people who like the games they don’t like. I can kind of see the appeal in that. I think it’s natural to envy those who are enjoying something you can’t, it’s like they own something you want and aren’t allowed to have. There’s going to be a level of satisfaction in calling those people out, accusing them of stupidity, and saying they’re dumb for liking the dumb thing that is dumb and you don’t even want it anyway because it’s dumb. It is, of course, far simpler to rationalize that, if you dislike something, anybody who doesn’t hate it is flawed. We all want to be the superior guy, and nothing makes us feel more inferior than being left out of a club that’s seemingly open to everybody except you. Far more soothing to simply suggest they are the lesser mortals, crawling in the dirt while you sneer down at them from your magnificent sky cloud.

I don’t like that attitude. I don’t like it when we judge other people for enjoying different videogames. I don’t like Resident Evil 6. I think it’s a vapid waste of time with terrible controls. However, I’m glad for the people who have enjoyed it. Good for them. We should be celebrating diversity in taste, and that goes for folks that don’t like popular games, as well as lovers of the mainstream. Whether we’re talking about Call of Duty or Thomas Was Alone, from big to small, I am glad that every videogame has at least some audience, even if that audience, sadly, may not be big enough to sustain some games that really need support. At least somebody loved it at some point. Except Thundercats DS. I don’t think anybody will ever love that one.

Is there a point to this article, or is it just pretentious drivel? More likely the latter. All I know is that I woke up with Halo 4 burned with scarring depth into my mind, and all I could think of doing was writing about it. Thank you for humoring this pitiful little non-Halo fan on Halo 4′s special day.

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