Published on September 14th, 2007 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Consider me a Believer in Halo 3
Being a gamer is something I hold near and dear to my heart. Not only do I get the chance to travel galaxies, surpass overwhelming boundaries and live through deep and intriguing stories through this medium, but every now and then I get to sit back and take in something marvelous.
Through rich storytelling and interaction, games allow us to do the impossible. The new ad campaign pushing Halo 3 forward not only reminds me of this, but it exudes of story.
You see, I’m one of what some gamers would call ‘Hardcore’ when it comes to franchises that somehow become a part of my gaming vocabulary. Every now and then, there’s a game that embeds itself into your memories and moves beyond the ‘game’ aspect of it’s story. Those titles that are true definitions of why it is that we play games.
I’m sure everyone has different games that fill this space. Personally, some of my favorites are Final Fantasy VII, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, and many assorted Atari 2600 and Super Nintendo titles. The latest franchise that’s left it’s own mark in my gaming Hall of Fame is Halo.
With an initial story that caught my attention and wouldn’t let go, then expanding into print with the novel series, I’ve become more of a Halo fan than I expected to be initially. Each novel printed, I now own along with the graphic novel. Even though the story of overcoming impossible odds has been one repeated through history, this franchise has a pull that I can’t resist.
All of this talk thus far leads me to my point. With the latest Believe site, Microsoft has hit a nerve with my love for a well-told story. ‘Believe’ has done it in spades.
Yes, the Halo series has been a favorite of mine for some time, but this site expands beyond the standard ‘gaming’ site. I know in the back of my mind that it’s an advertisement, but having been so involved in the story thus far I’m even more captivated than I would be normally.
For starters, the audio on the site can be described in no word other than ‘epic’. Anyone that has played a game in the Halo series should already expect amazing sound, but the piece playing while you explore the Battle of New Mombassa is truly breathtaking.
Beyond audio, though, the site is actually a snapshot of this fictitious battle. A snapshot of an actual hand-made model of this battle. Clicking and dragging on the site will take you through a second of this encounter, obviously a major part of the Halo story. The things that make it different from other information sites are the extras.
While you scroll through the site, you’ll come upon videos, enemy combatant profiles of Covenant soldiers, and soldier profiles as well. Each of these parts combine to make an all-encompassing whole that feels almost like a mini-novel, as each profile – enemies and soldiers alike – comes with some sort of render. What takes it over the top, though, are the human faces scattered throughout.
The use of actual pictures on select first-hand encounters truly humanizes the experience. For me, it strengthened the words of each empowering tale of heroism. Each heart-wrenching tale of defeat. Each small piece of the puzzle added together tells of mass heroism in the fight for all humanity. The fight for our survival.
Placing human faces on the characters in their individual recollections of this battle has taken it far beyond what I ever expected from a story that started in a video game…
I was hyped before, but the tales brought forth by the ‘Believe‘ site only strengthen the ties to the story that I’ve been a part of since November 2001, when I originally picked up my Xbox controller to play my first game of Halo.
Here I was thinking that the recent advertisement was the best it could get. Boy was I wrong. This diorama fly-through hit me emotionally, something that games and anything related to games rarely ever have the chance to do. The only other games to have ever done so remain my favorite games of all time. With this site, Microsoft and Bungie have merely cemented Halo’s place in my favorite games list even more than it was already.
September 25th and Halo 3 can’t get here fast enough. I’d very much like to finish the fight.