Halo effect

Jason Jones of Bungie Studios humbly suggested that “Halo 2 is a lot like Halo 1, only it’s Halo 1 on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas … And, the ninjas are all on fire, too.”

Sandy of TechStuff.ca humourously muses on the Top 10 ways the Canadian version of Halo 2 differs from the US version. Nathan Walpole, Lead Animator at Bungie and a London, Ontario native has let on that the Canadians on staff have secretly hid maple leafs and other hoser easter eggs in the game’s multiplayer maps.

The funny thing is, as FPS games go the first Halo was above average, but certainly not the Best Game Since Time Began. However, it did sell 5 million copies, singlehandedly vindicated the Xbox’s existence. Halo 2 is poised to do even better – analysts expect 3.5 million copies sold by New Year’s Eve.

Some bitterness remains for PC and Mac gamers, however; when Microsoft bought Bungie in 2000, they made Halo an Xbox exclusive, only belatedly offering PC and Mac versions in 2003. Halo 2 will also be Xbox only for the forseeable future.

In any case, the videogame industry is big. Halo 2 is on a two-page spread of Entertainment Weekly. In the UK, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has, in its two days of launch, surpassed the opening weekend movie box office record as set by Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. When an M-rated gangsta’s paradise en virtuel outsells a PG-rated family flick, one has to wonder how it is possible.

To me, it’s a no brainer. A videogame is an immersive experience that can last over a hundred hours. A theatre movie is less than two hours of content and ten minutes of advertising with your feet on a sticky floor.

In the PlayStation 2: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. To call it “that game where you beat up hookers” does not do it justice. You can eat, dance, buy clothing, get a haircut, exercise, go on dates, race cars, gamble, go for a swim, OR beat up your local citizens. You can travel the miles and miles of countryside by car, van, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, plane, helicopter, boat, or even by street sweeper. The strategy guide is over 270 pages; pundits estimate over 80 hours of gameplay.

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