Or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Videogames”
Not too recently, I did something 17-year-old Luke would not believe. I bought and played and even loved the Halo games. I have to say, things look different now, without the Prophets' lies clouding my vision. As a youth, I was the worst kind of fanboy; Nintendo was the best, Sony was for nerds and XBox was for jocks.
Don't get me wrong, I will always love Nintendo. I still maintain that there is nothing "mature" about preferring guns and boobies to bright colours and enjoying yourself. But looking back on the years I spent as a fanboy, I feel shameful for the nonsense I thought and said.
Last year, I was convinced to pick up a PS3 and play through the games I'd missed. First Mass Effect, then Metal Gear and finally Dark Souls absolutely rewrote my ideas of the greatest games of all time. I came to appreciate the world outside Nintendo. Now I look at comments on the internet about "everything on XBox and Playstation is brown shootybangs" I fight the urge to give them a lecture, rather than to join in. Have they explored Lordran? Fell in love on the Citadel? Have they seen the amazing things indie studios are putting out every year? I think its fair to say Mario hasn't been at the forefront of 2D platforming innovation for some time.
Once I'd played my fill of the PS3 catalogue, the only taboo left for an old Nintendo die-hard was XBox. The newcomer, with no connection to Japan, and the epitome of the guns and cars gaming I thought I would hate. As I looked at the new consoles, though, and the choice didn't seem as obvious as I expected. Batman, Metal Gear and the other multiformat releases were coming to both. The Last Guardian was still mythical and pie-in-the sky. Bloodborne seemed unnecessary when I still hadn't beaten either Dark Souls game.
Then I looked at the XBox. Scalebound had one of my favourite developers attached. Ori and the Blind Forest and Cuphead looked properly gorgeous. And there was Halo. The old enemy. But it did look good... I jumped in.
I remember, years ago, watching a TV programme, one of those times TV people tried to talk about videogames without bringing in any games people. They were comparing the then-recent Halo 2 and Metroid Prime 2. At the time, I found it ludicrous that they didn't give the win to Samus' adventure over a "generic shooting game". How wrong I was.
The Halo games are bloody excellent. The freeform combat, top level designs and satisfying enemy AI. are constantly exciting. Cortana and the Chief's bantiage is endearing. The worlds are beautiful and colourful, the aliens varied and interesting. The story and world drew me in, to the point where I'm reading novels and watching the films and television series. I love Halo. I am a Halo fan.
Does that make me an XBox fan? No. That's the point. I still love my Wii U, and eventually I probably will pick up a Playstation to play Bloodborne and Last Guardian. Trying to argue the benefits of one faceless, multi-million technology company over another is really stupid. You wanna play games? Crack on mate. Let me know if they're any good, I might have a stab.