‘Halo’ Comes Full Circle With Game’s 10-Year Anniversary

Posted 9 years ago by Games

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

I vividly remember when I first encountered Halo way back in 2001. I was working with a bunch of serious gamers at the time. A couple of them picked up the new Xbox on the morning it launched on Nov. 15.

One of the guys bought the new console and a few of the initial games before coming into work. I went into his office to check out his haul. He showed off two the games he considered to be the best, NFL Fever and Project Gotham Racing. He’d bought a third game on a whim. It was Halo. “It’s supposed to be pretty good,” he said giving his justification for the purchase. Looking back, that was the understatement of the decade.

In the months that followed, my coworkers and I convened at lunch to play a little on the Xbox. Halo quickly became the lunchtime favorite. Not the campaign with the sci-fi storyline but the multiplayer which pitted player versus player. Our lunch sessions would sometimes spill over to after work. Other friends would often stop by to join in the fun.

Halo began to rule our world. No longer was it “Hey, what are you doing for lunch?” The question, or command rather, became “Hurry up and eat so we can play.” We knew all the maps by heart, the placement of each weapon on every map and the quickest route to pick up the best one. Damnation. Hang ‘Em High. Rat Race. Prisoner. Those were the names of the “boards” that logged the most hours. I was so obsessed with Halo that sometimes at night I would dream about playing the game.

Multiplayer matches were done via split-screen. Each player had his corner of the TV to watch. As we got more advanced, it became easier to sneak a peak at an opponent’s screen and locate them for an easy kill. Elaborate cardboard dividers were devised and attached to the screen to prevent this type of cheating.

It worked surprisingly well but then we got the bright idea to have another Xbox and TV on-site. With two copies of Halo, we could link the game sessions for a small scale LAN party. Just when we thought Halo couldn’t get any better, “Team Slayer” over a System Link connection became the greatest thing ever. Each team would occupy an Xbox with an ethernet cable stretched between them.

I had an infant son at home as did a few of the other guys. Our lunchtime and after-hours play became like our tame version of “Guys Night Out” on lives that were otherwise dominated by feedings and diaper changings.

We tried most of other FPS games that came after, each promising to be the “Halo killer.” None of them could match the precise control and style of Halo. Of course we eagerly anticipated Halo 2 and it became a quick replacement.

But then some of the guys found work elsewhere and our lunchtime games fell by the wayside. Halo had come and gone as a dominant force in my leisure time.

Fast forward several years and my young son got an Xbox 360 for Christmas. I couldn’t resist trying Halo 3 but was left a little unfulfilled. The experience got so diverse and online play just too sporadic compared to playing with the guys at lunch those years before.

My son did eventually pick up Halo 3 and loved it. It became something of an obsession for him. I guess he gets that quality from his mother. I fueled his passion with the subsequent releases Halo Wars, Halo ODST, and Halo Reach.

The newly upgraded Halo: Combat Evolved “Anniversary” game was released this past Tuesday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the seminal game. I had to buy it to see the revised versions of the original multiplayer maps and updated campaign. I’m happy to say this new 360 version does not disappoint.

Best of all, the world of Halo comes full circle — no pun intended — as now I can play the original game on the 360 with my son. Those glory days playing Halo at lunch nearly a decade ago pale in comparison to the time I can spend with my new multiplayer teammate.

  • Thanks for sharing the great memories Tim! I have so many fond memories of playing Halo in the early days, and never really stopped, having bought and played all of the subsequent releases.

    My brother and brother-in-law used to come over and we’d set up our laptops around the kitchen table and yell profanities late into the evening. When we couldn’t play in the same physical location, we would all hop on with our speakerphones since we didn’t have the ability to hold a 3-way call. Blood Gulch was our favorite destination and I still have fond memories of hearing those sweet, sweet words…”running riot.”

    My thumbs are nowhere near as nimble these days but Halo is one game where I can still hold my own in the multiplayer matches.