Aging Writer, Do…or Do not. There is no try, Dream, Dreams, End of an Era, Fans, Final Fantasy, Finish, Gaming, Halo, HALO 2, HALO 3, HALO 4, Halo: Reach, impending doom, Madden Nation, March of Time, MLG, Multi-player, Never Give Up, Never Giving Up, NOOB, Online, Original Gamer, Overcoming Obstacles, Perseverance, Pitfall Harry, Playstation, Professional Gaming, PS3, Resident Evil, Survival Pod, Survival Pod Publishing, Video Games, WCG, XBOX, XBOX 360, XBox Live
I am many things.
Father, son, partner.
Comic book geek, Sci-Fi aficionado, television and film connoisseur.
Musical eclectic, fan of profession sports, admirer of art.
I am a writer of fiction, am politically active, and socially aware.
I believe in free speech, am an advocate for LGBT rights, and respect the diversity of the culture to which I was unwittingly born.
Overweight & out of shape, with terrible issues involving mental illness, and aging… I am your ordinary average American. And yet I am special.
Why? Because I am an ORIGINAL GAMER.
It was my generation at ground zero for the true birth of video games and we changed the world.
Do you remember when video games were a spinning paper reel of roadway with a few blinking lights, ringing bells, and a little metal car that moved side to side on a wire? I do.
I was there for the hey-day of the stand-up arcade & its inevitable demise, the release of the first home console units in the early eighties, and the turbo-boosted cartridge wars of the nineties.
In the last decade, I bore witnessed to the rise of the big three from the ashes of the cartridge war and have been lucky enough to live in the “Age of the Console.”
What was once a child’s toy has become an integral part of every-day life to millions around the globe and I am proud to say I was there for all of it..
I am an ORIGINAL GAMER.
I have saved Pitfall Harry, fought lickers in Raccoon City, and single-handedly saved the world from Sephiroth’s might.
Online, I have raced Aussies across battle scarred mountain passes in the wee hours of the morning, and fought knee deep in alien blood side by side with modern day digital samurai from Japan.
My generation is the bedrock on which a billion dollar industry now stands tall.
Don’t let my age fool you. Despite the gravelly voice on the Mic; a gift from ten thousand dangling cigarettes, or the diminishing alacrity in my left/right strafing skill with time, I am still OG.
I may be dogmeat most days but occasionally I am deadly with a frag grenade/shotgun combo and guess what? I will be flinging those suckers till the day I die.
Why? Because I’m OG B*%$#@&!!!
The reason for my seemingly random gamer post today? HALO 4 and the rejection of Microsoft’s flagship title as a competitive platform by the Pro-Gaming league: MLG.
IMHO: One of the dreams of my generation has been the idea that video gaming would be elevated to the same level of social consciousness as other professional sports like the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NASCAR.
Born from mountain dew laced dreams and unchecked teenage angst. Encouraged in the theaters by sappy films like The Wizard, “sexy-time” movie Joysticks, and recently NOOBZ; my whole life had been filled with visions of competitive eGaming.
It is my generation that built, bought, and birthed a bevy of organized professional gaming leagues. From Madden Nation, and the World Cyber Games to the MLG, the current incarnation of eGaming is a direct result of the children of the eighties & nineties and our need to enthusiastically pass it on to our spawn.
My personal obsession with Pro-gaming truly came to life in the spring of 2002 on a random trip to the game store with a friend. After years of being a loyal fan of the Sony PlayStation, I was introduced to Microsoft’s newest product; the XBox. Although not really in the market for a new console, I hefted the massive “DUKE” controller for the first time that day at the behest my friend, and haven’t looked back since.
The demo playing on the monitor that day: HALO
Yes, I still flirt with Sony every once in awhile. When a new console comes out, or a new handheld hits the market, I always give it a try. My relationship with gaming consoles has been like being in a really great marriage because despite the flirting, I always come home to the Xbox and Master Chief.
Back in the old days… Long before the birth of the MLG and the WCG, it was local level LAN tourneys and monday night rumble pits for those of us hardcore enough to drag around our console and television. We would battle it out late into the night, talking smack from three feet way instead of on-Mic, and always leave with a sense of joy at the senseless slaughter we had reeked on family and friends alike.
It was in the downtime, when hours and days would drag by till the next competition, that the dream would take flight. All of us huddled around our TV’s would imagine that ultimate glorious moment when ordinary guys like us could step in the ring, bang armor with the best of the best, and walk away with cash in our pockets for the effort.
Early in the 00′s; fueled by the introduction of high speed internet and the release of multi-player titles like Halo 2 & 3, Counterstrike, & Unreal Tournament, the console generation quickly found itself rocketing towards legitimate Pro-gaming.
The dreams of organized, professional eGaming were suddenly no longer a dream. That fantasy living on the precipice between the ethereal and reality, E-gaming jumped off that cliff and soared into the stratosphere backed by a mainstream media obsessed with the amount of money flooding into the gaming industry.
Everybody wanted a piece of the pie and even now, despite a downturn in the economy as well as a general lull in the media coverage, professional gaming is alive and well. A massive amount of money changes hands every year in cash prizes, swag, and endorsement deals to reward the best & brightest gamers on the stick.
My generation’s dream is a reality and yet I am sad.
Why? This recent article by Paul Tassi in Forbes Magazine where he discusses the realities of HALO 4 being left out of the line-up for MLG’s Winter and Spring competitions.
Beyond the obvious corporate implications of the MLG versus an alignment between Microsoft and Virgin Gaming with their new Tournament App on the 360, the implications of Mr. Tassi’s article are not unfounded. HALO has changed.
The differences between H3, Reach, and H4 are having a deleterious affect on the multi-player community. Special armor “abilities” like Armor lock and Jetpack, random armament drops, customizable load-outs, have caused its once rabid fanbase to abandon Microsoft’s flagship title. As a result, this beloved FPS had finally fallen from its place atop the mountain of Pro-competitive play.
Mr. Tassi’s is correct in the idea that uniformity is required in league play to create an even playing field. It is only through conformity on the field of play that the true skills of any athlete, in any sport, will come to light. This is why the equipment in all major organized professional sports is tested and identical for both opponents.
Don’t get me wrong.
I am a hardcore HALO fan and would play every Halo title just for the storylines. Even if they removed multi-player game play altogether, I would still purchase the adventures of Master Chief because he is the ultimate Bad ASS and his tales are amazing. But I can still see the mistake.
While trying to create a more immersive, player friendly, and customizable world to play in, both Bungie and 343 Studios made the cardinal mistake of professional gaming & online multi-player action. They gave birth to two amazing games that were both original and worthwhile while managing to alienate the community that has been their life’s blood for more than a decade.
Sales numbers lie but online lobby numbers do not: There was 175 people online yesterday in HALO 4 Rumble Pit. When HALO 3 was in its prime, I never saw less than a thousand in the lobby.
So I understand the decision of the MLG to move away from HALO and concentrate on COD: Black Ops2. I may not like it but I understand it.
And yet deep inside, that guy inside my Spartan Armor wants to be king of the mountain, win all the gold, and take home the trophies. My spartan mourns the demise of a legend on the competitiveness scene.
So for now, if I want the glory of the arena, I guess I better start learning how to play COD: Black Ops II…
For years, both the loyal and envious alike have wondered who the “HALO Killer” would be. Could any of us have guessed the greatest threat to Master Chief would be himself?