One More Go: Why Halo makes me want to lay down and die

Thumbnail image for The_Silent_Cartographer_Dusk_by_Halo_Photographer.jpg

There are those who say that when any door closes another one opens. These people have clearly never queued for the ladies toilet in St Pancras Station. Conceptually, though, they have a point. Endings are often beginnings.

The biggest ending of all, however, has long had me beat. As a wet-humanist, I have no big expectations for life after death. A bit of rotting. General blankness. The absence of everything is a prospect I’ve always found more soothing than daunting. The concept of heaven has always troubled me far more. What would it be like? What would I want it to be like?

ragol.jpg

For a while I thought my answer to those questions was Phantasy Star Online. Perfect sunsets, nice greenery, good clothes, the company of friends. There was a timelessness on Ragol which would clearly have been compatible with eternity.

Today though, thanks to the slightly underwhelming reminders of ODST, I think I’d like to go to Silent Cartographer when I die. What could be better? It’s beautiful, for a start. The moon hanging fat in the sky, and the Halo stretching like spun silver around the horizon. Waves lap on the golden shore, shaded paths climb to airy peaks.

Thumbnail image for Silentcart.jpg

Heaven shouldn’t just be cosmetics, though. Halo has always been a place where I feel safe. Nothing in games has ever been more reassuring than the feel of that pistol in your hand and full clip in your belt. An elegant weapon for the civilised task of shooting people once in the head and watching them fall over. Not flashy, not over-dramatic: more a tool than anything else, and one which repays practice and patience, which are the kind of things I suspect heaven approves of.

Halo has always been a place where I feel loved. Over-statement? Perhaps, but there is something profoundly warming in the reaction you get from the marines when you stride (or bunny-hop) into view. They are genuinely pleased to see you. Genuinely buoyed by your presence. Being able to instill hope and confidence into people just be being near them sounds pretty heavenly to me.

Halo has always been a place where I feel good. I don’t mean that in a James Brown sense. I mean it’s a place where I feel virtuous. Master Chief, often lambasted for being nothing more than a suit of armour and a weapon set, engenders a sense of honour and duty which actually make you feel like a better person. He does always put others before himself. He never gives up. He understands sacrifice. What’s the point of going to a better place if you aren’t going to be a better person?

Thumbnail image for silentcartdistant.jpg

Halo is a place where I feel peaceful. It’s partly, I grant you, the pistol in my hand and the rocket-launcher on my back, both of which take the stress out of day-to-day life in a way in which is often underestimated. It’s also, partly, the beauty. But there is something more profound. There’s a solitude to be found on the beaches of Silent Cartographer. A tranquility in the scene which has more in common with a photo from a inspirational poster than a videogame. As I pick my way across the beach, I find myself instinctively looking for another set of footprints and listening out for the voice that says ‘My son, that was when I carried you’. Although, this being Halo, that voice would surely more likely say, ‘My son, that’s when I stickied you with three grenades and then juggled you with a rocket launcher.”

Which – good point – is my last requirement for heaven. Fun. Silliness. Generously assisted nonsense. Halo was always a very adaptable toy-set, full of springs and balls and dolls waiting to be tossed in the air with endlessly unpredictable results. In fact, my soundtrack to the whole thing would probably be taken from the Warthog Jump video – Sinatra and Hendrix. What could be more heavenly?

So now I don’t fear endings. The road not taken is the road you shouldn’t have taken. And when the last door shuts, I’ll square my shoulders, unholster my pistol and let Frank serenade me into eternity.

[Margaret Robertson is the former editor of Edge magazine and now videogame consultant. One More Go is her regular Offworld column in which she explores the attractions of the games she just can't stop going back to.]

This entry was posted in Featured, Games. Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to One More Go: Why Halo makes me want to lay down and die

  1. xzzy says:

    I suppose if one were to run with this idea, the later mission where you descend into the depths of a forerunner facility and witness the release of the flood is the Halo equivalent of hell.. followed shortly by the Library, which most gamers consider Hell+1.

  2. Camden says:

    Escorts Camden love this game. all our escorts in Camden Town, London do not stop playing that game. Really they do not have time for escorting as they playing all the time.

  3. jameslee12 says:

    I think all the Halo games are so good and fun to play. I do not understand what the issue is. IT is such an amazing game to play.

    Prostate Cancer Treatment

  4. Ratdog says:

    I still prefer Bungie’s earlier series, Myth. That had some cool levels. It also had dwarves with molotov cocktails. Now that was fun.

    Myth III (not bungie) sucked though…

  5. tuckels says:

    I’d be happy to have halo as heaven, if just for the soundtrack.

  6. tiffany says:

    I have played Halo, CS, Call of duty, etc, but I still think Halo is the greatest!

  7. tiffany says:

    I have played halo, cs, call of duty etc, I still think the halo was the best like you said, love you post!

  8. tiffany says:

    I’d be happy to have halo as heaven, if just for the soundtrack. I recommend BIOLIFE too! Teh Haloz is teh best game EVARZ! I _love_ usink mi thumbs to bring hot death to other playars, epsecially because we can be drinking so much beerz on teh couch when we play. I tried to play teh PC gamez once. People were sayin that there were good gamez on teh PCs, but they is too hard! I keep missing, and the maps are so big. It just made it all the sweeter when I got back to teh Haloz, because Bungie is always good to me – Tiffany

  9. eumel says:

    The game looks interesting but I was expecting a bit more in the graphics department. I mean that’s not all of what makes a good game but it is a big part of FPS games.

  10. eumel says:

    Thanks for Sharing this great Article.. plakatrahmen

  11. mailmachine says:

    Halo, one the best games made during its time. If you haven’t tried the game, give it a try and you will be floored.

    Josh of Email Marketing Software

  12. jakekingdead says:

    I can spend all day thrashing Halo, and the resulting march of halo-a-likes that are it’s spawn, but in the end, I spent more time playing the trilogy then any other non-jrpg game.

    And with reason!

    The pacing and scale of the larger set-piece battles left me feeling like I had eaten all but the last few bites of a cheesesteak, wanting more. The multiplayer also brought out the visceral fps gamer in me that hadn’t seen gotten any screen time since TF2 or golden eye even, asking myself what I just did, if I was lucky, or what I just did wrong if I wasn’t. And the always-shoot-for-epic scope of the setting and story, had me thinking BRUCKHEIMER/BAY the whole way through and loving of it the way I still get a kick out of watching bruce willis slow-mo-explosion-jumping. And look at that! you play as an actual hero, no anti-hero lead here, no misgivings about stepping up, no hesitation, no family to give priority to, just straight up savior action.

    So apologies to my cynical half, finding faults in Halo is like finding faults in a Led Zeppelin album, they exist but get ready to forget them as there’s another nosebleedingly good drum solo around the corner.

    It’s the legacy of shitty 10 minutes of action, every 5 minutes, yo bro let’s just push through, fps games that gets me. But you can’t blame that on Halo, it’s like blaming the Beatles for Britney Spears. or can you? Can we? (please?)

    Anyway, I enjoy the shit out of One More Go. Thanks.

  13. jakekingdead says:

    I can spend all day thrashing Halo, and the resulting march of halo-a-likes that are it’s spawn, but in the end, I spent more time playing the trilogy then any other non-jrpg game.

    And with reason!

    The pacing and scale of the larger set-piece battles left me feeling like I had eaten all but the last few bites of a cheesesteak, wanting more. The multiplayer also brought out the visceral fps gamer in me that hadn’t seen gotten any screen time since TF2 or golden eye even, asking myself what I just did, if I was lucky, or what I just did wrong if I wasn’t. And the always-shoot-for-epic scope of the setting and story, had me thinking BRUCKHEIMER/BAY the whole way through and loving of it the way I still get a kick out of watching bruce willis slow-mo-explosion-jumping. And look at that! you play as an actual hero, no anti-hero lead here, no misgivings about stepping up, no hesitation, no family to give priority to, just straight up savior action.

    So apologies to my cynical half, finding faults in Halo is like finding faults in a Led Zeppelin album, they exist but get ready to forget them as there’s another nosebleedingly good drum solo around the corner.

    It’s the legacy of shitty 10 minutes of action, every 5 minutes, yo bro let’s just push through, fps games that gets me. But you can’t blame that on Halo, it’s like blaming the Beatles for Britney Spears. or can you? Can we? (please?)

    Anyway, I enjoy the shit out of One More Go. Thanks.

  14. joanwmaller@yahoo.com says:

    Halo’s an awesome game! There was a really cool article written about this on the xbox section on techblogg where they go into detail about the secret places and even have some cool cheats!

  15. SteveJ says:

    Thank you very much for the info

    dvd porn

  16. matttthompson says:

    Whereas previous generations had scripture, literature, or even—I guess—nature to inform visions of the here-after, our lot is stuck with videogames as our main source of reference for all of that.

    Katamari Damacy, for instance.
    That’s what I’m holding out for.
    …I think.

  17. danicosmo says:

    They choose nice destinations. I love them all.
    Search Engine Optimization

  18. chooky says:

    Sorry. Not a big Halo fan, I’m really over the rage with this game. I’d like to move on to other first person action games. Thanks, Rob at Brisbane Web Design and Websites Gold Coast

  19. Ratdog says:

    Yeah, I always noticed that about the Halo games.

    I am also a fan of Bungie re-Microsoft. But that is because of their other old series: Myth. I still play Myth II. There is something very unique about it. Myth III (not bungie) wasn’t very good though.

  20. Courtney says:

    Halo is a really great game. I think it’s probably as close to real as it gets.
    Thanks Courtney Fazende
    Affordable Health Insurance

  21. Lauren says:

    i have to say that i love halo it is really great
    adjustable dumbbells
    powerblock dumbbells

  22. Ratdog says:

    Yeah, if anybody is wondering, it looked like my message did not send, so I sent another. That’s why I have two messages saying prettying much the same thing.

  23. Escort Hendon says:

    Great graphics. Escorts Hendon love the offwords design. some of the escorts across Hendon love to design themself.

  24. Natdaniel says:

    I do not know what is waiting behind the door of life. But I do believe that there is a world which is free from every bonding of relationship. In fact there will be no media like adult dating site or friendship media to build million of relations in a life time. I will miss that.

  25. Abe says:

    There are those who say that car shipping is a problem. While playing my video games i decided to have my car transported and I did with the best company called auto shipping transporter cost. They were the best transport anyone can have.

  26. Camden says:

    Escorts Watford love your story. some of our escorts in Watford shed a tear after reading it.

  27. slimboy says:

    Written by pariuri sportive online on 19.06.2010

    There are some very great sources here and thank you for being so kind to post them here. So we can read them and give our opinion on subject.

  28. edhardy321 says:

    This column is pure poetry. The idea that when I die I’ll go live in teh tiffany necklace Haloz is just too sweet for words. Rock on Bro! Teh Haloz for evarz!

  29. spaidy says:

    The island is very good. who made the design of the island? I really want to try to see the outcome of all this. Thank you for the information.

    World Travel | Sports News

  30. aalas says:

    PSO FOREVER! Most memorable game of all time, hands down, nothing can touch the story, the end, or the soundtrack, OR the ammount of items for its time, or the symbol chat or, or that it was on a console!
    cheap cigarettes online

  31. globalmedicalshop says:

    SEO and SEM or Search Engine Optimization Tips Learn from semtutorials.blogspot.com

  32. Lemon says:

    If I could take one level from any game with me to a desert island The Silent Cartographer would probably be it. I think I have spent more time on that one level than on most games.

    @2 Those so called identical levels did play a lot differently with the flood infestations. Two Betrayals (the flood infested version of Assault on the Control Room) is one of my favourite levels. And for me Halo 1 is a lot less flawed than Halo 2.

    @1 I actually played the library more than the last level which I found harder. With a pistol the library ain’t to hard.

  33. Agies says:

    @1 And then you have running back through a series of identical buildings for no good goddamn reason. I love the Halo series but the first game was definitely flawed.

    ODST on the other hand has brought me nothing but joy.

  34. furia.internet@gmail.com says:

    Ive never tried halo before, Im familiar with many games and definately sudoku, looks interesting

    sudoku strategy

  35. Flyagainhero says:

    Thank you for a thought-provoking column! I love reading One More Go, but this installment was especially interesting!

    I found intriguing how different my own experiences of the Silent Cartographer were compared to what you wrote.

    For me the atmosphere of the whole first Halo game was disquieting. The game was really immersive, and, like you, I spent quite a while marveling all the visual and aural wonders of the game world. The waves, the peaks, the huge moon and the Halo arching overhead were all very pretty, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread. The pistol in my hand felt insignificant and useless in the face of the mighty Halo and all the ageless structures I explored.

    My memories of the Silent Cartographer are memories of loneliness, and of melancholy. It was heart-achingly beautiful, yes, but at the same time it was horrifying. It felt like the serenity was there only to mask the evil and chaos lurking just beyond your reach.

    The marines could have inspired a sense of camaraderie and security I felt lacking in the game world, but instead I always thought of them as dead men walking. Mere humans who, in their eager admiration of Master Chief, would follow him blindly into meat-grinding situations from which only a Spartan could survive. Of all the possible emotions to express, they chose to be happy to see me, even though I would certainly offer them nothing but death. It felt like I’d betrayed them from the moment they first set their eyes on me.

    Funny how people can experience places and situations in games so differently. What was serene and tranquil for you was horrendously vacant and depressing for me. Halo was the first (and thus far only) FPS that has affected me emotionally in this way. I have no idea why, though.

  36. jamesft says:

    Strange. I just installed and am playing Halo on my male cams. Mind you, it’s mostly because I was a Marathon fan pre-Microsoft ownership of Bungie. Same thing here! James

  37. lananhhoang2010@gmail.com says:

    Hello I am so delighted I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog. Please do keep up the great work.
    simulation assurance auto

  38. lananhhoang2010@gmail.com says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    simulation assurance auto

  39. ujolonuqulef@gmail.com says:

    Not a big Halo fan, I’m really over the rage with this game. I’d like to move on to other first person action games. step up 3d movie download | movie downloads

  40. VanceG says:

    Me love HALO! Plus I totally agree with LEMON, even me I could take one level from any game with me to a desert island which is said to be The Silent Cartographer. The level of this game is awesome. Anyway, I was fascinated by the pictures you have posted here – I barely reminded by the Frank Lloyd Wright’s house Fallingwater that we have visited last month. But, anyway what with the library? I’ve never gone there? Any updates please

  41. oyunlar says:

    Wait,
    mario Oyunları are you condemning FPS games for being action-oriented? Barbie Oyunları

  42. seoind says:

    Seo Company India provides best SEO services. Get professional Seo services from a seo company India, it provides quality seo services india. Reliable SEO helping hand for you online business promotion.

  43. EyeSpy Guy says:

    Youz Are So Rightz! Teh Haloz is teh best game EVARZ! I _love_ usink mi thumbs to bring hot death to other playars, epsecially because we can be drinking so much beerz on teh couch when we play. I tried to play teh PC gamez once. People were sayin that there were good gamez on teh PCs, but they is too hard! I keep missing, and the maps are so big. It just made it all the sweeter when I got back to teh Haloz, because Bungie is always good to me.

    So I want to say Thank You. This column is pure poetry. The idea that when I die I’ll go live in teh Haloz is just too sweet for words. Rock on Bro! Teh Haloz for evarz!

  44. seoind says:

    web design company india is a reliable source for best qualitative web design services. It stands for providing affordable web design services, a renowned name in the field of web design company.

  45. Natdaniel says:

    After reading the post I think those people who are hopeless from their lives they think like that.
    I have a strong intention to live and such post just work like Viagra within me, it just make e strong to fight against life’s obstructs.

  46. chocbar says:

    I like Halo but I am more of a arcade/action gamer. I really like the Mario series of games because they are fun and also kid-friendly and I have two kids running around and I don’t want the influence of guns around my house. I run my own Work from home business and I often find time each day to play a little ps3 or Nintendo with my kids.

  47. AirPillo says:

    I can’t personally relate, but that was rather poetic, thank you for the thought-provoking read.

  48. Napalm Dog says:

    Strange. I just installed and am playing Halo on my PC. Mind you, it’s mostly because I was a Marathon fan pre-Microsoft ownership of Bungie.

    Even stranger is the fact I have just landed on Cartographer’s Island. It’s slightly confusing; I can’t tell if I’m Lu about to face off with a Protector or if Durandel is going to pop out of the woodwork and be the basterd he is.

    One thing is for sure; Microsoft is milking the Marathon/Halo universe. Halo doesn’t feel much different playwise than Marathon. I wonder if Bungie has anything else up their sleeve?

  49. steadyup says:

    that is pompous but sad story, which may need buying paper fot further development

  50. Chris Cooper says:

    Can you make your own rooms in Halo ie the lighting, wallpaper, contemporary radiators works of art etc

  51. spsdel01 says:

    The poetic phrase is very good. It remind me of my school days where I ncert booksuse to do such things. Great things.

  52. Silver says:

    Ever thought your virtual space was overlapping the real? Excellent vivid descriptions. It does make me wonder now if game designers could ever influence the population by deriving virtual worlds like Halos, maybe instill prejudice etc to suit a political motive. It’s very much a silver lined gem.

  53. tinawalk says:

    Nicely written Margaret. I enjoy playing it as well and and can also feel the love from within it.

    Tina – Forex Signals

  54. Bobby Smiles says:

    You can’t honestly be saying Halo doesn’t play differently Marathon. You just can’t. That’s like saying Mario 64 plays no differently to Mario 2.

  55. gregory77 says:

    Written well. Funny video “the Warthog Jump video” too much. Thanks from mahjong fan.

  56. milena says:

    Very beautiful location. The Warthog Jump video I was not impressed. Nothing special, so I think. Milena mahjong club.

  57. tiffanyrings says:

    This is exactly cheap tiffany jewelry you can get cheap Tiffany Rings, Necklaces, Errings, Bracelets and other Tiffany Jewellery.get more tiffany ||tiffany jewelry

  58. mington says:

    Wow, i’m actually surprised at how similar those old screen shots look like the new Reach footage, so much for taking it in a new direction Rigid kitchens

  59. sir says:

    yes no doubt best way to deliver as well. ccna

  60. skinbris says:

    I used to play Halo pretty religiously now I have moved on to more skillset games including puzzles and such. However, Halo is still an old standby. Ron at skin clinic brisbane

  61. Kyle Smith says:

    I’m with you all the way on this one. I can’t stand Halo and have never understood its popularity. Personally, I’d rather get a group of friends on our chaise sofas and play some mario kart.

  62. Bobby Smiles says:

    Wait, are you condemning FPS games for being action-oriented?

  63. mitchelmccluskey says:

    Hi. Nice to read that post!
    I’d be happy to have halo as heaven, if just for the soundtrack.

    free adult dating site

  64. george56 says:

    Yeah halo is great. I prefer dog products where I know they are safe for dog products.

  65. Rogue Cheddar says:

    Beautifully written. I always wish I could explain a little bit of this to non-Halo fans, or even non-gamers, but it’s so hard to put into words.

  66. Markdaniel says:

    It will be a new life after death. The greenery sunset that you have been showed in your pics, is just perfect to indicate the life after death. In this case I love the poem “Crossing the bar” by Tennison. In that life no bond to obstruct us, no friends to gossip, what will be life?? Just imagine!! It was like having a cheap flight and travel for heaven. Most importantly there will not be a single travel agent to help us, what a life……!!

  67. HaydenHarnet says:

    I believe that there is a world which is free from every bonding of relation. In reality there will be no media like adult dating site or friendship media to build million of relations in a life time. I will miss that. lol that’s great man
    routers compare

  68. ren7352 says:

    this is incredibly fantastic. I mean the graphics visibly great. Glad to bump on this page. I will surely share this with friends. average cost of life insurance

  69. John krish says:

    I always thought it was just me who felt Halo kind of heaven like. Now, I never actually thought of my gun as just a tool, so I left that aside when picturing heaven, but still..Anyways, to me it’s not so much about feeling loved, but about dissolving into quietness.
    John Krish
    repossessed car auctions
    repossessed cars for sale

  70. langstonaaron45@gmail.com says:

    The game looks interesting but I was expecting a bit more in the graphics department. I mean that’s not all of what makes a good game but it is a big part of FPS games.

    Jason from Sell Gold

  71. Phlink1088@gmail.com says:

    Well, I am so excited that I have found this your post because I have been searching for some information about it almost three hours. You helped me a lot indeed and reading this your article I have found many new and useful information about this subject.

    wall mount TV

  72. Johnalbert says:

    As I can see that you have mentioned Halo is one of your most be loved place, I would like to know about this place more.
    By the way I would like inform you that now you can have information on weight loss program from a reliable online source.

  73. Johnalbert says:

    As I can see that you have mentioned Halo is one of your most be loved place, I would like to know about this place more.
    By the way I would like inform you that now you can have information on weight loss program from a reliable online source.

  74. Guaca says:

    Ahhh. Your idyll leaves me with deep pangs of nostalgia. Halo is not so much a heaven for me but a half-forgotten dream. There is no possibility, for me, of reliving those moments on Silent Cartographer, but I’m glad I had them.

  75. Peter Sellers says:

    Graphics look like Everquest. My expectations were higher to be honest.
    harnesses for dogs.

  76. Jayme54 says:

    Halo is sick, and is quite addictive. Like, hours are stripped away without seeing it! Takes time away from my workouts with wrist weights.

  77. Jayme54 says:

    True

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

More BB

Boing Boing Video

Flickr Pool

Digg

Wikipedia

Advertise

Displays ads via FM Tech

RSS and Email

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries.

FM Tech