Originally, I thought it would be funny to completely ignore Halo and just write about the other gaming news of the week. But after going through the complete wasteland that is non-Halo news, I realized that it was impossible. So then I thought that I would do a normal column, news, rants and cock jokes. But that’s faggy (explanation below) and I scratched the idea. It’s Halo Week, damnit, and in honor of the $170 million dollar juggernaut, this week’s Random Setting lands on Halo:

First Impression: Halo 3

I didn’t get to sit down with Halo until Tuesday afternoon. After repeated unanswered calls to my local Best Buy (what the fuck is that, it’s only the biggest fucking game of the year and they have seventeen people sitting around who have absolutely no clue about their department anyway, so put someone on the goddamn phone), I checked into the hospital Monday night for some tests (turns out I don’t have Herpes Simplex VII). After checking out the next morning, I drove by the Best Buy to find out it was opening at the normal 10 am.

On my way home for a quick nap, I drove past the 7-11 with the giant “Halo is Here!” sign and came to the realization that I’m an idiot. Why any of us reserved the game is beyond me. When I returned to the store, I stood in line with a couple of parents, college kids and one guy in a very nice suit who said Halo was for his “me time”. One parent told me “my kid will kill me if he doesn’t have Halo by the time he gets home from school.” The fear in the 6’3” 200 lb. man’s eyes worries me about what awful tasks I’ll be performing to win my child’s love in the years to come.

As I was leaving I saw this guy and his girlfriend lugging out that Legendary Edition monstrosity. As the guy tried to open the his car, he handed the box to the girl, who promptly dropped the box. He freaked out, as if she dropped his newborn child and I did what I felt was appropriate, laughed hysterically.

I ran some more errands and finished up some work, finally getting to play a few hours later. Coming of the sophisticated high of Bioshock, it’s a nice change of pace to come into an experience like Halo. It’s like your favorite meal from growing up. I know my mom’s chili isn’t the best in the world, but everytime she makes it, I can’t get enough. Halo is gaming comfort food.

As for the specifics, it really doesn’t matter. If you are a gamer, you know if you like Halo or not. Halo 3 will not change your opinion. Frankly, there isn’t much to be said about Halo that hasn’t been said about the previous entries in the series. Halo 3 is merely the next step forward. If you play for the campaign, you’ll enjoy the campaign mode just like always and you’ll be thrilled about co-op.

If you are like me and play for the multplayer, the game improves on past editions and the Forge will have gamers hooked for years to come. There is nothing like hearing someone giggle (in my case, Alex) and a tank drops on your head.

While I always say that I’m only sticking to online games with people I know, I am still drawn to that theatre of life known as the Rumble Pit. While I’ve heard and seen some of the most offensive and immature behavior in my life during Halo games, I am still amazed at the feces that spews from people’s mouths. For example, for one individual on Tuesday, everything became faggy. I’m faggy, you’re faggy, Warthogs are faggy, the left bumper is faggy, shoving the controller up my ass is faggy. What worries me most is that faggy is the best that guy will ever do. No one is going to accuse me of being a wordsmith anytime soon, but at least I switch it up every so often.

After spending two hours listening to these people, I started losing my humanity. I began to think, is this what we are? But then there are nights like Wednesday and Thursday, where my faith is renewed. Where I remember why I will revisit Halo every few months.

Since becoming hooked on Mario Kart 64 and Goldeneye in college, I’ve searched for a similar multiplayer experience. And it’s not about the competition (it was at one time), the experience is playing the game, while relaxing with some friends.

Over the years, between friends moving away and outgrowing gaming, it became more and more difficult to find that social fix. But recently, through Chud, I’ve met some incredible wonderful people, whom I can share the experience. There is something admirable in the Chewer community where I can relax and have a great time, whether we are talking strategy or laughing at the ass-pounding being inflicted on our party. It’s truly what Microsoft strives for in its online gaming, and while someday it may permeate across the gaming community as a whole, I’m elated that I found it in the Sewer.

Bill Gates in your Soul

A few weeks (maybe months) ago, I wrote about the LaRouche Political Action Committee’s claims that the Virginia Tech massacre was caused by video games, despite any evidence that the gunman was a gamer in any way, shape or form. This week, the political cult distributed a report, with the above title, criticizing the impact of Halo (and gaming in general) on our society. I could make some jokes about the impending Dark Age LaRouche predicts, but instead I’ll let the column speak for itself. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Enough with the Widescreen

When Bioshock came out, the people at Widescreen Gaming Forum had a collective stroke when they believed that the Widescreen settings shorted them out of a few precious centimeters.

While it was inevitable that some fringe gaming group would get into a tizzy over its focus issue when Halo was released, I just didn’t think it’d be widescreen, again. But low-and-behold, reports have been spilling out regarding how the Halo multiplayer split-screen does not completely fill the a widescreen. I understand that this slightly more serious that the Bioshock gripes, but still, you’re losing an inch. Think of it as extra training, freaks. I imagine that at some point Microsoft will offer some sort of Red Ring of Death inducing patch for this deadly sin of sloth, but I couldn’t give a shit about what’s in that box.

Should Have Placed Them in Plastic Sleeves

One legitimate gripe about the Halo launch was that copies of the Limited Edition arrived scratched as if they were former property of Mix Master Mike. The cause, the interior plastic nubbin’ (technical term) that holds the game in place looks like it was outsourced from Asia, to a mystical land where labor is even more cheap. Why Microsoft would cheap-out on the Limited Edition is beyond me, but they did immediately step up and offer full replacements, so all’s well that ends well.

Still Waiting for the House Filled with Popcorn

Because they are still in college, students from MIT, earlier this week, placed a Spartan Helmet and Assault Rifle on the John P. Harvard statute, which sits in Harvard Yard. The prank, well the MIT kids call them “hacks” because they’re all techie, is just the latest in lame MIT practical jokes. And now my email has been “hacked”.

Why can it just go back to the old days when young nerds started global thermal nuclear war or installed hidden cameras during panty raids? Hell, what ever happened to panty raids?

That’s all for now.