The Weaponized Transhuman: Halo, Deus Ex, Crysis, Bioshock, Warhammer, and the Future of Wetware (Us). Related: New Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer.
Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory -- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels, a wiki with over 7,000 articles, and one of the most successful ARGs in history (including a full-fledged radio drama). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes and epic music (lots of free previews) to top-shelf anime and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST, Believe, Deliver Hope, Landfall -- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima from Red vs. Blue, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top), gorgeous artwork, hours of recorded dialogue, complete transcripts of hidden apocrypha, and more factual analysis, story speculation, and casual discussion than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org.
GrifBall! Red Vs. Blue's Sarge and Caboose introduce the rules. A sample match: Bungie Vs. RvB. Context: Since the release of online multiplayer first-person shooter Halo 3, Bungie have allowed players to customise maps with the placement of objects, weapons, spawn points etc. using the Forge feature. Combined with customisable rule sets, unusually innovative custom games are possible. [more inside]
Halo 3: Easter eggs, including the excellent Red Vs Blue in-game dialog easter egg; the RvB Halo 3 beta initiation; 3D images and how-to (dig out your glasses); achievements, ranks, armor, skulls, and campaign scoring explained; Bungie's favorites (videos, pics, maps, game variants to download to your 360)... and that grenade stick.
Halo 3: Play-testing evolved.
Halo Zero. The Fall of Reach, old-school style. Some plucky French coders have borrowed a page from Codename: Gordon, the side-scrolling homage to Half-Life. As a result, Master Chief and his cohorts are now fighting the Covenant in 16-bit, 2D graphics. PC download only - though Mac owners at least have Boot Camp to avoid waiting for an OS X port. via Aeropause
How far can a video-game champ go? Ask Matt Leto.
Halo is probably the most well known and successful of games for the Xbox, but less well known are the scores of Halo movies that take advantage of its excellent graphics and physics engines. From the classic Warthog Jump to the cover of Asshole and the Red vs Blue series, the movies are sometimes breaktaking and almost always hilarious. Videogame geeks with a sense of humour? Say it ain't so!
NYT is realizing that computer games can be relevent, and not just a silly fad that only kids and the uneducated can enjoy. In this review (albeit very belated), Thursday's 'Circuits' section reviews both Operation Flashpoint, the widely acclaimed, disturbingly realistic combat simulation, and Halo, the shooter du jour on the XBox.