Come and see the violence inherent in the system

1 Apr
Halo 4 hero Master Chief

Master Chief, the main character of the Halo games (except Reach)

Yes, that’s a Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote. If you recognised it you can pat yourself on the back.

The system I’m actually talking about is my Xbox 360, so not exactly Albion, but I was going for a sort of sideways connection because of the violence.

I’ve been playing a fair bit of Halo 4 in the last week or so, because when you’re feeling stressed and frustrated there are few things quite as cathartic as mercilessly slaying your fellow Spartans in multiplayer mode.

I don’t play a lot of video games, largely because I can’t afford to buy them, but Halo has been one of my favourites for about six years now. My friends and I have spent many a happy hour killing each other, other people, and various Covenant and Promethean forces.

If you don’t know much about Halo, it’s a first-person shooter (where you play as one person, and, well, shoot people) set in the future, and you usually play as a Spartan, who are like super soldiers in funky armour. To be honest, I haven’t played much of Halo 1-3, although I do own Reach, which is a prequel of sorts.

The storyline is pretty easy to pick up, and the controls are now instinctive to me. It is extremely entertaining to play on easy with a parent. I shall provide a snippet of conversation typical of playing with my mother:

“Where are you?! I can’t see you!”
“I’m over here. See? I’m bouncing up and down.”
“All I can see is grass.”
“Okay, you’re looking at the floor. Move the little joystick under your right thumb up. No, your right thumb. The other right. Oops, too far, that’s the sky. Bring it back down. Theeere you are. Now follow me.”
“I can’t see you again.”
“That’s because you’re running into a wall. You need to turn around. No, you just turned all the way round and now you’re facing the wall again. Oops, here’s some bad guys. I’ll kill them all while you try and face the right way.”

One of my friends has had much the same experience playing Halo with her dad, so from this massive sample of two I conclude it to be universal. That’s SCIENCE, y’all.

Waiting for Multiplayer Matchmaking to happen takes some time, so I’ve been able to get some reading in too.

Currently reading

For the Win by Cory Doctorow
“Organizing is a kind of tax on human activity. For every minute you spend doing stuff, you have to spend a few seconds making sure that you’re not getting ahead or behind or to one side of the other people you’re doing stuff with.”

A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin

Terrier by Tamora Pierce

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie

Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J K Rowling (This is the Chamber of Secrets in Spanish – it creates moments of marvelous misunderstanding such as when I thought it was saying Vernon Dursley was an immense bigot but actually it was just saying he had a huge moustache)

Completed since 12/3/2014

Snuff by Terry Pratchett

Persuasion by Jane Austen

“‘I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconsistancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.’

‘Perhaps I shall. – Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. education has been theirs in so much high a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.'”

Captain Harville and Anne Elliot in Persuasion. This was published in 1817, people. Still so relevant, and relevant across less privileged groups such as disabled people and different races as well.


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