The Coffee Break. 22 September 2014.
Just thought I would do a quick coffee break for the 22nd of September. Likely most of you will have already finished your work day and will have little reason to read these coffee breaks, but regardless here we go with today’s thoughts (humor intended). After watching all the Halo Reach cutscenes in an hour, the feeling of awe and inspiration regarding the game suddenly returned. Now the premise of the game is that you are fighting a loosing battle, and that despite all of this you fight on with Roman valour as the enemy numbers grow while your own ranks dwindle.
Some bits of the game do not age well, and it shows in certain segments. Yet for all intensive purposes the artistic design of the game helps to smooth over the transition from old to new in the sense that despite us seeing newer, and more shinier graphics, the game can still live up to our expectations. Now this may all sound like rambling (and it probably is), yet the game always leaves me in awe every time I watch the cutscenes. Perhaps it is the story of a hopeless battle fought to the bitter end, of which a spark of courage is able to escape to ultimately help us win the Human-Covenant war. Perhaps it is the way Bungie threw together their final farewell to the series, and with the art, the music, and the cinematic direction the game came together as a whole – making players feel like they made a difference, even though the final fate of Reach has already been written long before they set foot on that world.
The sense of dread is somewhat subdued because in the end you know that there is hope out there, and though the enemy might close in on your position, and your ammunition stores may be exhausted, that all your actions – and subsequent death – will have counted for something. This sense of purpose is what I find most attractive about Halo Reach: that or I may be over-analyzing the game. Yet each person interprets the game differently, and this is how I interpret this piece of art. Agree or disagree, once has to note that in the end the game will enter the pages of history as an influential title to the games industry, and one that – years from now – I will use to recount my adventures to my grandchildren, and tell them of battles fought, comrades lost, and humanity saved. Then again if today’s youth are any indication, they will probably ignore me and go about doing their own thing – Emperor knows I did that from time to time (humor intended).
Emotion in gaming: something that should be explored. After all this format of storytelling is just as valid as books, as is television and so on. Gaming gives us that extra level of depth to a story, and allows us to interact with it in ways of which neither books nor films can ever hope to achieve. The future of gaming is bright so long as there are stars like Halo Reach, the Mass Effect series, Dragon Age, and so on that continue to dot the night sky. Ladies and gentlemen this has been the coffee break for the 22nd of September 2014: take care out there, and I shall see you next time.