"This is it, baby. Hold me."
November 10, 2014 3:15 PM   Subscribe

A decade after Halo 2 (and a day before the MCC), enjoy this loose timeline of essential Halo fandom: Halo.Bungie.Org / Halo at Macworld '99 / Red vs. Blue / The Halo Trilogy in 5 minutes / The Cortana Letters / HBO's cutscene library and dialog databank / Main Menus / Kitty Cat / Warthog Jump (and BOLL's Warthog Launch game) / How Not To Be Seen / Fan Art / Panoramas / The Music of Marty O'Donnell (prev.) / Video Games Live: Halo / Analysis by Stephen Loftus / Who was Brian Morden? / I Love Bees and the ARG radio drama / Halo 2 Trailer / Halo 2 E3 '04 Demo / Full Halo 2 making-of documentary / Voice acting / Conversations from the Universe / The Beastiarum / Surround Sound Test! / Geography of New Mombasa / This Spartan Life / The Solid Gold Elite Dancers / Creepy Guy at Work / Gameplay May Change / Master Chief Sucks at Halo / Another Day at the Beach / '06 Bungie Studios Tour / Halo 3 Trailer / Starry Night / Believe / HALOID / No Scope Was Involved / 100 Ways to Die / "Bungie Favorites" gallery / Mister Chief / OONSK / OneOneSe7en / 2553 Civilian 'Hog Review / Griffball / ForgeHub / 405th Cosplay / Neill Blomkamp's Landfall / Weta's Real-life Warthog / Halo Legends anime anthology / List of Halo novels / Halopedia / Halo 3 Terminal Archive / DDR Dance / Animatronic Elite project / HBO's "Guilt-O-Lantern" contest / Keep It Clean / We Are ODST / Sadie's Story / Halocraft / "A Fistful of Arrows" fan comic / RvB Animated (and CGI) / Project Contingency / Halo Zero / Halo 2600 (prev.) / Reach Datapad Transcripts / The last Halo 2 player on Xbox LIVE / Bungie's Final Halo Stats Infographic / Key & Peele: Obama on Halo 4 / Top 10 Halo Easter Eggs / Behind the scenes of Halo 2 Anniversary
posted by Rhaomi (36 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
posted by stinkfoot at 3:24 PM on November 10, 2014

Halo at Macworld '99

Yeah...Let's just open that wound, shall we?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2014 [11 favorites]

Oh, so it's an FPS franchise.
posted by kewb at 3:34 PM on November 10, 2014

>> Halo at Macworld '99
> Yeah...Let's just open that wound, shall we?

It never healed... The video after that with the wildlife and the chatter... agh.
posted by moink at 3:37 PM on November 10, 2014

Halo Marriage Proposal
posted by Phssthpok at 3:40 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

>> Halo at Macworld '99
> Yeah...Let's just open that wound, shall we?
It never healed... The video after that with the wildlife and the chatter... agh.

I think the most important video that anyone can watch that is related to halo is the video with commentary they did for a Fanfest years ago

It's kinda hard to imagine how the FPS scene today would be without the move to Xbox and the impact that it had.
posted by MrCynical at 3:41 PM on November 10, 2014

Yeah...Let's just open that wound, shall we?

I'm glad I'm still not the only one. Also, there is a slight tie in with an earlier Bungie product: Marathon's Story. You can see the Halo stuff at the bottom of the left frame.
posted by bonje at 3:43 PM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Whoops, it was there, just under "The Cortana Letters".
posted by bonje at 3:43 PM on November 10, 2014

This is the video that came out while the dream was still alive (E3 2000): https://www.youtube.com/embed/6eZ2yvWl9nQ
posted by moink at 3:44 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ah yes, Halo at MacWorld. Think I'll go give myself a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it, it will be less painful.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:46 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's weird to square the Bungie of the Marathon era with today's mega developer. But I think Mr. Cynical is right, the world of both console and PC shooters might be totally different without the transition. Halo convinced the mainstream of console buyers that they wanted to play shooters.
posted by selfnoise at 3:54 PM on November 10, 2014

Keeping the dream alive for an ODST respin, this guy right here.

Far and away the best game of the series, Reach being second in line. The Master Chief is the least interesting thing in the Halo universe.
posted by mhoye at 3:57 PM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

It's weird to square the Bungie of the Marathon era with today's mega developer.

Can you say "Activision?" Sure you can.
posted by The Bellman at 4:01 PM on November 10, 2014

The unusual excellence of Halo's best level

because this post didn't have enough Halo links
posted by mbrubeck at 4:28 PM on November 10, 2014

Between Assassin's Creed(s), Dragon Age : Slashfiction, Destiny Grinds & Grand Theft Auto V2.0, I'm looking pretty good for distractions this holiday season. I enjoyed my time spent in and around Halos, and am glad it's getting such a spiffy deluxe anthology and multi-player bonanza. My only real desire to give it a whirl before Q2 2015 is to check out Blur's lovely lovely work, but Youtube now has 1080p60fps, so problem solved.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 4:29 PM on November 10, 2014

Gah, and then the buyout happened, and Oni was neutered, too. Thanks Rhaomi. I haven't moped around about this in years.
posted by moink at 4:41 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah...Let's just open that wound, shall we?

Indeed. Too much talk of this, and soon I'll be trying to get my old Performa 636 to boot up, and occasionally muttering "Frog blast the vent core!" to myself.
posted by chambers at 5:12 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

in halo 1, on the level "halo", if you triggered the enemies to spawn on the rockslide room, then left and came back later, you could fight the greatest number of enemies at the same time in the entire game.

a while back i uploaded this to youtube for posterity - Invisible People Suck. WOW did people (sadly, including myself) think that "fag" was just so wow hilarious most funny great wonderful thing ever back then :/
posted by rebent at 5:29 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Halo is also a pretty cool guy
posted by idiopath at 5:53 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm an old school Mac user and real-computer-games partisan so believe I was mad when MS bought Bungie - though I'm more a Myth man than Marathon man. But they deserve a LOT of credit for Halo, which is the first console FPS I ever thought really worked - sorry Goldeneye, but you're not all that. I find the single player in the original has some repetitive bits, but across the series the overall feel of a shooter has seldom been more perfectly tuned - in 2 especially which also has some of my favorite multiplayer maps ever in a game.
posted by atoxyl at 6:10 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you say "Activision?" Sure you can.

Surely you mean "Microsoft/XBox". Bungie was already pretty mega by the time they hooked up with Activision.
posted by kmz at 6:11 PM on November 10, 2014

Ah yes, Halo at MacWorld. Think I'll go give myself a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it, it will be less painful.

As Mac fan(whatever gender) as that seems on the surface... in 1999, that was some pretty amazing FPS tech. Yes, Microsoft acquired it eventually...but what a great game. The only game that held me entranced like the original Halo... was Half-life.

Damn...What a beautiful waste of time.
posted by Benway at 7:42 PM on November 10, 2014

Before I knew what the fuck Halo was, I stumbled into I Love Bees. I might have even stumbled into it at the very first notion of "Hey, this is for Halo 2". Regardless, I actually let it run its course before I went back in to read/listen to all of it.
It was such an amazing little radio drama that it made me instantly want Halo 2.
Until I found out that no character involved in ILB is brought up again in either Halo 2 or the rest of the series.
Still an awesome Radio Drama though.
posted by WeX Majors at 9:17 PM on November 10, 2014

kewb: "Oh, so it's an FPS franchise."

An uncommonly good FPS franchise, certainly one of the most influential. And more importantly for this post, one helmed by master storytellers and worldbuilders who fostered a really engaging community of fans who've created a lot of interesting work in the last 10-15 years.

I've tried a few times to showcase the Halo fandom here -- it's clearly not in MeFi's wheelhouse. But if you have an appreciation for intelligent science fiction, innovative new media, or quirky, organic web communities, there's a lot to love here. The first waves of the machinima genre, pre-YouTube. One of the first and most successful alternate reality games. An award-winning multiplayer talk show. Hollywood-tier short films. Three fan game projects, one of which has been featured in the Smithsonian. And lots of really intriguing and well-done deep science fiction lore in the Terminals and the Cortana Letters and I Love Bees and Sadie's Story. There's so much really cool, artfully done storytelling hidden deep within the secret recesses of these games; it's a shame they're not easier for non-players to find and appreciate.

Just give it a chance, is what I'm saying; apart from a few silly YouTube videos and anchor websites, I tried very hard to ensure none of these (77!) links are mere filler.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a Legendary campaign trilogy to revisit
posted by Rhaomi at 9:49 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

An uncommonly good FPS franchise,

For a console shooter.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:47 PM on November 10, 2014

Halo 2600

About a year ago I finally got a chance to visit Bungie's....studio lobby. The rest of the studio is locked off but they have a bunch of glass cases full of Bungie's "stuff" and a game room for the non-public but non-employees to peruse. In the game room they had an actual physical cartridge of Halo 2600, signed by Ed.

Being in that lobby, though, I felt something I haven't felt since being in a toy store as a child. That feeling of endless possibility that comes from imagination.
posted by hellojed at 11:48 PM on November 10, 2014

I will just leave this here

Ah, early Machinima. Takes you back.
posted by OldReliable at 12:17 AM on November 11, 2014

I love Red Vs. Blue so much... I am probably a season behind right now, but I've watched them all, a couple of the seasons more than once.

I'm not much of a gamer, but I love that Halo exists because it's given me hours of entertainment.
posted by hippybear at 12:22 AM on November 11, 2014

A lot of people hate it (and it has its flaws) but I still like Halo 2 the best. Although they did dispell some of the mystery and alienness of the aliens, they really went all-out in presenting this huge-scale, epic, complex-ish, and above all varied tale of space derring-do, while (mostly) keeping the mix of humour and heroism that makes the series shine.

The set-pieces are imaginative and, I found, pretty awe-inspiring -- walking over the outside of a working orbital cannon! New Mombasa getting stomped! The falling space-station! The chaotic, flames-in-the-darkness zombie invasion on the cusp of civil war! Loads of other stuff! Getting to play as an Elite and see more of their society was rad. Really well-working cooperative play was rad. The fancy graphics, two weapons, the really well-done and entertaining vehicle sections... all rad! Halo, but bigger, more, shinier, flashier. For that I was perfectly willing to accept some slightly shonky moments, and an absolutely ridiculous anticlimax of an ending.

After that I think they bought too much into the "STALWART MARINES HOOAH MANLY TEARS" side of the story, they shed most of the charm, the visual design got too busy, the level design lost its inspiration, the lore went nowhere in particular, and especially in Halo 3, the cutscenes took a handbrake turn over a cliff into the uncanny valley (or is it just me?). Oh yeah, and the presentation of Cortana got more and more creepy and weird.

Anyway, I'm glad it exists. Even the more unuinspired later iterations are at least more colourful and imaginative than CoDMoHBF.

P.S. Nice post!
posted by Drexen at 5:52 AM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Maw in the original Halo is, I think, the best final mission in any video game I've ever played.

No boss fight, just a sudden genre shift to platformer - of all things - pretending to be a demolition derby. Even better they kept the level design, twisty passages intersecting with the road, places where you could stop and explore - but there was no time.
posted by pan at 7:10 AM on November 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

It's kind of a stretch to call Halo "intelligent science fiction" when it's just an aggregate of science-fiction tropes flavored with some military fetishization.
posted by truex at 9:46 AM on November 11, 2014

Let us not also forget how, with each game, the character of Cortana was rendered as being more naked and with bigger tits. Then Microsoft named their personal assistant technology after it. Microsoft named their general personal assistant technology after a blue naked big-titty video-game lady.

Such engaging character design.
posted by truex at 10:00 AM on November 11, 2014

Such engaging character design.

Which is sad, because she was pretty awesome to start with.
posted by pan at 11:05 AM on November 11, 2014

Which is sad, because she was pretty awesome to start with.

The remade Cortana in the Halo 2 respin looks a lot less awful, for what it's worth.
posted by mhoye at 11:17 AM on November 11, 2014

So, for the record, the much-ballyhooed compilation of Halos 1-4 that inspired this post ended up more or less exploding on the launch pad. Microsoft and developer 343 Industries clearly rushed the game out half-baked to snag those sweet Black Friday sales, and as a result both campaign and multiplayer modes were plagued with glitches and bugs. Painfully slow matchmaking, uneven teams, save files lost, achievements failing to unlock, party system instability, UI weirdness, etc. etc. etc. There have been a number of large patches over the last few weeks, and things have gotten somewhat better, but the game is still an exercise in frustration. And of course, even if they fixed it 100% today, the damage to the long-term player population has already been done. They've turned what should have been a triumphant celebration into an incredible disgrace.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:52 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

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