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I'd like to make a confession. I have never played Halo. To be precise, I have played it for thirty seconds, when Halo: Combat Evolved was just released, and I have not played it since.
My initial experiences with it were ones of disappointment;
I remember sitting by an Xbox at my local comic/game store, down in the
basement where they held social gaming, looking at that huge controller and
wondering how on earth I was going to even manage the controls.
I wanted to like Halo. I loved the soundtrack, I loved what I heard of the story.
But I have played it for all of thirty seconds before I got frustrated and put the controller down. I have not even bought the PC version of the game, or picked up any of the sequels; I simply have not touched the franchise since.
To be fair, it was then that I learned that I do not care much for first-person shooters; figuring out where I am and where I need to look causes frustration to me, and even though I would love to follow along with the stories of Master Chief, Cortana, the Covenant Prophets, and the Arbiter, and their battles, I usually consented to watch whilst other people played.
Unfortunately, not playing Halo means that in some circles,
I am not a proper gamer. The reasoning goes: of course gamers play co-op or
competitive play, of course they play first-person shooters – it is a grand old
tradition, a tradition started with Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, and what
red-blooded male does not like to play those games?
First, I am not a red-blooded male. I am a female, and while there are plenty of girl gamers who enjoy first-person shooters, there are also plenty of girl gamers that simply enjoy other games.
Second, there are indeed other games to play. I prefer taking my time through things, a style that is not suited towards first-person shooters or twitch gaming. It took me a while to learn this.
Without Halo, we would not have had excellent machinima like Red v Blue. Without Halo, we would not have the sweeping notes of the Truth and Reconciliation Suite, as emblematic to Halo as the fanfare and Imperial March is to Star Wars. Also, without Halo, potentially the Xbox would not have taken off as well as it did, and video game music would be not as likely to be as commercially available or commercially successful on iTunes or other venues.
I consider myself a gamer. I have never played Halo, nor will I ever sit down and play it – especially not now that I have plenty of other games in my backlog to play, games more suited towards my individual play style and preferences. But I still consider Halo to be epic.