The original Xbox released on November, 15 2001. It was Microsoft’s first entrance into the home console market, and was competing against two established giants named Sony and Nintendo. Sales of the console were initially strong, but Microsoft needed something to get the console to take root in the homes of gamers, the Xbox needed that “Killer app”. Microsoft found that killer app in the form of a game called Halo:Combat Evolved.
I will be the first to admit I am a gamer, I play games maybe far too much in my spare time, but Halo never really got its hooks into me. Being a gamer it is impossible to not know about Halo, and this past week Halo Reach the final and fifth game in the series was launched and the gamer community collectively screamed and proceeded to ignore EVERYTHING but their xbox.
What makes Halo a phenomenon? I have no idea? But to put it into perspective, Halo Reach made over 200 million dollars in its first day in stores. That is the biggest sales of an entertainment product in 2010, and one of the biggest launches ever. Iron man 2 was released this year and only took in 2.2 million in its box office opening. Halo is to Microsoft what Mario is to Nintendo. Halo did to Modern consoles and online multi player what Mario did for the home console market.
But still I have no idea what the appeal is, but I knew someone who did, my old roommate. Steve Carsten is a gamer to the core, and has played every major Halo title. Were I am choosy on what I spend my time on when it comes to games and am sometimes fine with just reading a review on some of the newest games while I wait for the one or two I really want to play, Steve plays them all. You could find him in the living room for hours playing Guitar hero, pulling all nighters on xbox live on ODST, on Red Dead Redemption with his posse, or playing mindless indie games he bought from the Xbox marketplace.
When I caught up with Steve a few minutes before he was supposed to be at work. He was playing Halo Reach online, with his grip tight on the controller, headset in, and game face on he was not much for words, but I was able to get a few full sentences on his thoughts of the new game and the series as a whole.
How long have you had Reach on preorder?
” Maybe since December 2009, or February 2010. I pre ordered it with a gift card a long time ago, I could have gotten a game at the time but didn’t know if I would have the money when it came out, so I decided to go ahead and get it.”
Why were you willing to wait so long?
“Cause its Halo. I have played every Halo game.”
Why is this game or game series so Important?
“Halo was the reason I got the original xbox. The reason I got the Xbox360, and the reason I started playing multi player games altogether.”
What do you think of the new game?
“I started playing it the day I got it at 2p.m. to 7a.m. for two days in row.”
What do you think of all the attention a video game gets from outside of the gamer community? The sales numbers broke records and was featured in CNN,yahoo news, and ABC news. I saw cardboard cutouts at Walmart, and Halo Reach is on every bag of Doritos, and bottle of Mountain Dew in every store I have been to.
“Ha! I have no idea, I have been playing Halo.”