...unless they've built a port-a-potty into their chair (And if they have, I'd like schematics, please!)
I'm not an engineer, but I'm pretty sure you cut a circle in the seat of the chair and then dig a hole underneath it.
Generically labeling the majority Halo fans as swearing idiots is unfair. WC had a time when our chat rooms and forums were also filled with such idiots. Time has passed and thinned the ranks where those who are left are for the most part the best of fans. Halo also has a core group like this (I also consider myself to be part of it) and I think that in a few years I'll still be visiting HBO and posting on their forums. Not for bragging rights or to show how great I am, but because I love the series. I don't think the Halo community is based on negative reinforcement, judging the fan base merely by matchmaking encounters is insane. Check out the HBO forums, or even better look at the ARG Iris forums here. I think you'll find the opposite to be true.
What you just said doesn't make sense. He shouldn't label the *majority* of Halo fans as being like that... because there's a 'core' *minority* who aren't? Furthermore, you're trying too hard to be offended on behalf of a group of people who aren't the issue here. Are there Halo intelligent Halo fans who are well-rounded people with their own friends and credit cards and keys? Hey, it's possible - but if so then they aren't the people that the thread complaining about the millions and millions of angry hosebags is talking about.
On the other hand: It takes alot of skill to nurse a damaged Rapier back to carrier through flights of Darkets after blowing up a Fralthi cruiser. Which is not to mention blowing up the Fralthi cruiser in the first place.
Console games have done wonders to expand the number of people who play video games - but they've done it by putting out games any idiot can master in a five minute tutorial level, and so feel like they've 'earned' the right to show everyone up with their 'leet' skills.
Before we get too full of ourselves, let me say: no, it doesn't. You are saying about Halo *exactly* what people said about Wing Commander in 1990 - that it was a cheap action game designed to bring their beloved format to the masses. If anything, Wing Commander *begat* Halo - it was the game that taught publishers that a flashy, big-budget experience could widen the market. Before Wing Commander the PC gaming market was hobbyists... hardcore pen and paper RPG transplants, serious turn based wargamers, ultra-accurate flight simulator pilots and the like. Our 'interactive movie' changed all that and earned exactly this kind of scorn from the first generation of gamers.
As great as we would like to feel about ourselves for being able to use a keyboard, there is nothing inherently complex about PC gaming. This is 2007: having Windows autorun my The Sims 2 disc and then clicking on 3D girls until they make out is not the ultimate in intellectual stimulation you suggest. It certainly requires no more brainpower than ordering soldiers around in Rainbow Six or stealthily delivering cheeseburgers in Sneak King. Configuring my NAT to use my yBox correctly online is just as difficult as updating my DirectX.
The vast majority of modern PC releases are second-thought ports of console products - and that amount will only increase. There's almost no profit in large scale development for the PC. Wing Commander 6 will be a console game. A PC isn't what makes us special.
As I said before, different console games have different groups of players - and it's noticable immediately. I played the new Tetris Splash today... everyone was incredibly friendly - from someone who wanted to talk about how he'd first played Tetris when it came out in Russia to a little girl who was telling me what she'd named all her Tetrish fish. When I was playing the Civil War FPS a while back I got messages from other people going through it all the time (it was single player only). They wanted to chat about history or ask me how I'd unlocked some achievement. When I play Carcasonne, it's all incredibly serious boardgamers - people who know exact terminology for all the game cards and the possible maneuvers and so forth. When I play Uno it's a lot of frat boys and others who want to flash various parts of their anatomies. When I play Rainbow and GRAW it's people who are serious but not frothing-at-the-mouth angry. There's no one group of 'stupid' console gamers.
At the same time, console gaming is incredibly fun. I grew up without it - I was a dyed-in-the-wool adventure game player, I grew up with Zorks and various Quests and felt myself better than my friends who were playing Mario. I missed out, and so are you if you're writing off game consoles for some misguided intellectual reason. We're talking about games, not literary analysis - they should be fun, not something to fight about. I have a heck of a lot of fun with my yBox every day for a variety of reasons that I can't even go into here - the whole system is just great, from the fantastic achievement system to the wonderful online network to the sheer cost of it compared to PC gaming.
(What was the last PC game I bought and played through? The 2005 PC game of ER.)
But I would be remiss in the be-critical-of-Halo thread without... being critical of Halo.
I'll put this simply: I think Halo is a game designed to appeal to idiots.
I don't like the setting. It has just enough 'story' to convince stupid people that it's really clever. The entire thing is a pastiche of dumbed-down placeholders from a variety of obvious sources - a space fleet, a ringworld, a holographic assistant, space marines, a masked space hero, etc. etc. I defy any educated science fiction fan previously unfamiliar with the game to play through the first part of the first game and not immediately complain that the guys at Bungie must have really liked Aliens... and Star Wars... and StarShip Troopers... and Larry Niven... and Metroid in very, very unsubtle ways.
This would be fine, in and of itself... after all, Wing Commander does exactly the same thing on exactly the same scale. In Halo, though, it became clear pretty quickly that the developers and the fan were taking it all incredibly seriously and believed it to be high art. Where Wing Commander went off to have some of the most enjoyably pulpy tie-in novels ever written, Halo went on to explain in an intricate fashion just how brilliant it was that the guy who wrote it saw a bunch of movies. I think it completely snapped for me when I saw elaborate official histories about how and why a girl Halo robot appeared in one of those girls-in-bikinis-beat-up-eachother fighting games (see, she's actually TK-422 and she's the friend of Halo Robot Alpha 5 who was mentioned in the pre-release fiction printed on the lanyards they gave out at E3...).
And speaking of terrible stories, remember the lauded 'ilovebees' ad campaign for Halo 2? Ugh, ugh, ugh - it was the most pretentious thing in the universe, with pointless nonsense websites being 'tracked down' to
'prepare' everyone for the epic story behind Halo 2. I wanted to strangle John Halo very, very hard every time I heard someone stupid enough to fall for that crap raging about how wonderful it was. It was a whole campaign designed to make stupid people feel smart about playing an arcade game.
(In that light, let me give a rare kudo to Halo 3 - the advertising has been truly magnificent. I'm the kind of guy who loves tie-ins and merchandising, and Halo 3 did that beautifully. Halo 3 Slurpees, Halo 3 action figures, Halo 3 Cars, disgusting Halo 3 flavored Mountain Dew, etc. I know it annoys some folks, but I wish to heck it was a game I didn't grit my teeth thinking about. And an unkudo - that terrible 'museum' advertisement is a brilliant concept that is done so poorly that it makes me angry beyond my ordinary angry-that-Halo-halos anger.)
Now, these pretenses and other nonsense weren't necessarily enough to turn off old LOAF - maybe the game itself was as brilliant as everyone insisted. Maybe it really would change the way we would play first person shooters and the way stories would be told in video games and so forth and so on.
Halo is an ordinary game, simplified so that everyone can play. That would actually be an honorable design concept, mind you, if I believed for a minute that they went in thinking 'everyone' would mean mom and dad and little sis and Dusty the cat rather than as many teenage boys looking to scream 'cocksucker' at each other over and over as possible. But... I'm not anti-cynical enough to convince myself of that.
I was never one of those 'FPS games are destroying gaming!' cubes. I think they're fine, they're fun and there's a lot to be built on with them. Some special games, like the first Ghost Recon, take the basic concept in a new direction in exactly the way art builds upon itself. Others, even more rarely (like the original Half Life) are literally earth-shattering - they're games that change how things like narrative itself works. Still others are just DooM with a new hat, and they're usually just as fun as their august predecessor. Halo is that type of game wearing the rotting corpse of the previous two.
The big developments in Halo just aren't. Wow, you hold two guns at once - somebody call Lara Croft! Wow, you can drive a car - somebody call Cybermage! Wow, you can play it in split screen - somebody call every Nintendo 64 game ever made. Halo is a bunch of good ideas that already existed in a pleasant balanced package (literally a pleasant package - the art design works in exactly he same way as the other 'dumbed down' aspects of the game... maps and baddies and characters who are literally as inoffensive and designed not to have a particular style to them as possible.)
It really seems for all the world to me to be a game made to sucker idiots - the story, the gameplay, the art, the ease of the thing... so, I feel bad about it. Several of my friends - people I respect more than anyone on this Earth - love Halo 3. They were playing when I started writing this. I see that and it hits my gut - how do people I really love like something so stupid? Maybe I'm completely wrong, maybe I'm unable to have fun for some reason, maybe I want attention... but I just can't feel it. The franchise bothers me on a very personal level that I find myself completely unable to write off. I do feel somewhat bad being an asshole about Halo, in light of people having fun with it and people I believe in loving it, but it is how I feel regardless of anything else.
(Is Halo just plain fun? Maybe - but certainly not for me. I drove three meters in the stupid Halo car and got stuck in a hole... Cybermage's stupid box tank worked better and that game had strippers! I played multiplayer games that were exactly the same as CounterStrike fort-levels with a Star Wars Bounty Hunter skin. It just didn't do anything for me and occasionally veered into incredibly tedious territory.)
Now, all that said - I don't want to be the guy who goes around complaining about the game wherever possible. So, Chris, as you read this and start to ban me, remember that I didn't bother anyone in the Halo-is-great thread...