As CHUD’s resident HALO apologist, I spent a decent amount of time in the world of the Reach Beta. At first I was disappointed but over time found it to have enough of the gameplay mechanics I loved as well as some nice new features to justify its existence. And it was beautiful. But I am only a HALO apologist for one aspect. The LOCAL multiplayer. System link. If I’m playing with strangers, it’s just another game. The only HALO game I’ve played all the way through the campaign is the second one. I played ODST for about ten minutes and then went back to the multiplayer. So, I’m not really an apologist. I’m all about the games we play here and they’re so good I am proud to have several copies of the game and two complete set-ups for local play. If we open up the local establishment we’re researching right now, those will be a regular part of the experience.

Regardless, no one has done the smart thing and just released dozens of the old levels from the original games for HALO. That’s all I need: More levels. New weapons. Customization. If anyone’s playing the game for the story I don’t know what to do for you.

That said, Reach is coming September 14th [Brian Pollock’s birthday]. It’s official.

And I’m thrilled, because I had totally assumed it’d be a November release.

It’s pointless to try and convert new people. Either you get it or you don’t. And unlike many things, if you love HALO there’s still no bonding, because XBOX Live has 11 intelligent people playing on it and they’re never on at the same time.

But praise be, September 14th there’s a party at my place.