Forget about missions such as "343 Guilty Spark", today's mission was far more precarious. My assignment was to secure a newly-released copy of "Halo Reach", the latest installment of the classic science fiction video game series initially created by Bungie. It came out today and my instructions were crystal clear; be at one of the points of sale the moment it opens for business.
My son had given me the necessary cash and the only fatherly financing required from me was covering the cost of tax. As soon as the doors were unlocked, I went into the first store. I pushed my way through the circle of stupefied employees gathered near the front door and found my way to the electronics section. There, I waited fifteen minutes for some clown to finally appear and begin filling her cash register with money. I pointed rather impatiently to the "Halo Reach" poster and said, "I want one". She called to another employee and asked him to go see whether the stock room was unlocked. He came back with a tall cardboard box on a trolley. He slid the box off the trolley, plopping it on the ground and then pulled off the cardboard frame. A ready-made "Halo Reach" display stand suddenly stood in front of us.
I flipped through the games along with a younger fellow and a store employee, on break. There were wasn't one English copy. The younger fellow, also in search of an English copy, expressed the dismay that echoed silently through my paternally-inclined mind. I hurried outside and hopped into my vehicle and drove to another nearby store. I found my way to its electronics section to discover a customer inquiring, in English, about "Halo Reach". As the store employee unlocked the display case, I asked whether the game was in English. The employee handed each of us a box. There, on the back of the box, at the top, were the telltale words, "Every Legend Has A Beginning". Satisfied, I waited in line, bought the game and proceeded back to the parking lot, where I saw the younger shopper from the previous store pedal up to the entrance on his bicycle.
Misguided, you say?
Ah, but I vividly remember the days of the original Halo, when my son and I drove around in our Warthog, wondering, "What comes next?" We were stuck in the very first mission. We seemed to have done all there was to do when, after checking on-line, my nephew, Ryan, told us we had to jump the gap in the cave. To our amazement, a whole new mission opened up and, until the day we completed the last mission of "Halo", I rushed home every day to sit beside Tristan as we excitedly discovered the dazzling graphics and characters, heroic and sinister, of "Halo". He was a child getting into his first video game and I was getting into my first video game as a chronologically older child!
It was riotous fun!
To this day, the "Halo" games are considered some of the best first-person shooter games on a video game console. In the first twenty-four hours of its release, "Halo 3" sold more than $170 million US worth of copies. Thanks to a well-connected communications firm with whom I had worked on video industry news stories, my son had a copy of "Halo 3" the day before it appeared in stores. As part of the same promotional campaign, we even posed for a picture with our favorite cybernetically-enhanced human super soldier, Master Chief. We vowed, with him, to "Finish the Fight".
I'm no longer my son's preferred battle companion. It seems I am more a liability than an asset when the battles intensify. I still play "Halo", sometimes on my own and sometimes, by invitation from Tristan, when he's desperate for a battle companion.
He's upstairs doing the "Halo Reach" campaign on "Legendary" with the same nephew.
You can never be too old for fun!
T-minus 8 days and counting until the new racing game, "F1 2010" comes out. Woo hoo! You know where I'll be when the store opens.