Anyone who has ever picked up an xbox controller during their life has had, in some way, a Halo experience. This is mine.
Over the course of my youth, I had garnered many interests in a variety of games, especially those in the science-fiction genre. Games such as Star Wars or Mass Effect kept me entertained, while smaller, less-complicated games, like Battlefield or Call of Duty, kept the flow of action enjoyable. Halo however, has been the staple of those interests. Halo was the type of game that I always went back to, whether to replay my favorite moment in single-player mode or to play multiplayer with friends for hours on end. Halo was an epic arcade-shooter that captivated me from the start. As a kid, shooting aliens with a machine gun and laughing about it later was the stuff. It wasn't until much later that I realize that Halo had a story to tell. Master Chief was a soldier, a hero even, that fought to protect humanity from threats that emerged throughout the galaxy. My interest in the game expanded to the novels, which gave me a better understanding of what was going on. This eventually led me to buy an Xbox 360 console for myself, just in time for Halo 3. I remember playing Halo and Halo 2 the weeks prior to its release.
I discovered Halopedia in late 2007. The details are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember reading an article on Coagulation, a map in Halo 2, that I found enjoyable. After a few months of reading, and noticing that there was a thriving community on the site, I joined under the username Spirit-of-HALO. In retrospect, that name was purely ridiculous. Nevertheless, it stuck for some time. I garnered some attention, made friends, and eventually became a contributing member of the site, even being considered for Admin. twice. After awhile I left, realizing that spending an absurd amount of time here was an absolute waste of my time. Like many others, however, I was only just a kid that fed his own curiosity, so I never really blamed myself for wasting so much time. Afterwards, I pursued my real interests in life, leaving Halo and gaming as a whole at the back-seat. I returned a couple years later, around the release of Halo 4, but many that I came to know where now gone. The site itself had changed, and I no longer knew wiki-coding as much as I did back then. It was then that I decided to change my name to what I have now. Before leaving a second time however, I did make some strides in a community project that I created in order to bring users together, a way to enjoy each others company and play Halo, but that died out quick. The place I knew before was simply nonexistent.
Things were different, and Halo was different. I had realized that it became something of a guilty pleasure of mine back then. Eventually, it became somewhat of a memory, quickly falling into the deep, dark crevices of my mind where it remained for some time. It was only after playing Halo 4 did I realize that Halo was evolving. Its story shifted, its theme had changed to a more personal tone. It reminded me of me. Not the Master Chief, or any other character, but the story did – the elements of it. The matter was thought provoking, especially the end when John had lost Cortana. It reminded me of my prior relationship, and not only that, but a few other things that had happened in my life. I was right in the middle of going through some difficult stuff, but seeing the very end with the Chief all stoic was oddly uplifting, if only a little. It wasn't anything drastic, but it was something. Like a simple, "Hmph, how about that" before setting the controller down. Things were no longer like it was for me, where living life fast and "laughing about it later" was the dream. Now its even better than ever, where I feel comfortable and even relaxed, but like the Chief, some wounds take time to heal.
With the release of the Mast Chief Collection, my interest in Halo revitalized. It was truly something, I admit. Halo 2 Anniversary was the tipping point for me, it was then that I knew Halo had made a far more greater impact then I had thought previously. This was something I grew up with, something that lived and evolved. Although just a character within a fictional universe, the Master Chief became somewhat of an icon to me. Like when you think of a real-world hero, you may think of a police officer or a soldier in the armed forces, but when I think of strength or endurance, I think of the Master Chief first. Its those kinds of imprints that last for a life-time. Something only you yourself can understand and take with you.