On Halo (and Other Things)

This past weekend I was inundated with Halo. (For those not familiar, Halo is an extremely popular Xbox first-person-shooter made by Bungie, one of my all-time favorite game companies.) Let me explain what I mean. Early last week, I received an evite inviting me to a Halo LAN Party by my friend Robert. Now, I hadn’t played Halo in about 9 months, and hadn’t played it with ANY degree of regularity even then (I’ve logged less than 12 hours of Halo time, even after this HaloFest), so I dug out my xbox and copy of Halo and played an hour or two (long enough to get comfortable with the controller again), and then headed over to the party. Mickey opted to stay home, sending me first to see what it was like (since she doesn’t play video games, if EVERYONE there was a gamer then she’d be pretty bored). She sent me armed with pie, though, so that’s fine.

Suffice it to say, she probably would have had a ball. There was a nice mixture of gamer and non-gamer, and lots of good conversation was had before we sat down and started playing Halo. (They all loved the pie, too. With a Strawberry and Blackberry pie, how can you go wrong?)

I wasn’t exactly spectacular at the Halo Night, but I did alright (never the last, but never in the top 4, either). Really, for me, the experience was more about getting together with people and having a good time, and happily that seemed to be the case with everyone else as well. I met some really cool people, and hopefully I’ll see them again next time.

I dragged myself home around 12:30, crawled into bed, and then woke up the morning, ready for the next event. Well, MOSTLY ready. I spent most of the morning creating some business cards (UberCon cards this time… I have a lot of hats I could wear in a lot of areas, so I picked this one for now), and finally made it over to the LanWerx Gaming Day around 1 in the afternoon. I wandered around for a while, chatted with people, and checked out the place. I got a chance to check out Halo for the PC, which is looking sharp. The graphics are a bit more crisp, in my humble opinion, but what really does it for me is the much crisper overlay (the console information, the shields and health bars, et cetera). Visually, this made it a much more appealing game for me. The gameplay itself looks pretty solid as well, and they’ve opened up several weapons originally slated for the game that never made it in (well, not as player-useable ones, anyway). For instance, you now have access to the alien-equivalent to the missile launcher, which fires something similar to plasma bombs. (The alternate-fire on the alien jet.)

Around 3, the folks from Bungie set up a screen and showed us the demo to Halo 2. I was QUITE impressed. The game story picks up with the Master Chief getting back to an Earth under siege, where he proceeds to wreak some serious havoc. They’ve added a whole bunch of fun things to the gameplay, including new jeep-mounted weapons (grenade launcher, anyone?), and dual pistols. What really intruiged me was at the tail end of the demo, there was a scene where the Master Chief is surrounded by aliens with plasma swords. What I’m wondering is whether we’ll be able to use those.

I asked the Bungie folks after the demo about the swords, and they just grinned and said “That WOULD be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?” Damn NDAs, never a straight answer (though I think their response is rather indicative).

I left shortly after that, so I don’t know how the rest of the Game Day went, but supposedly it went smashingly. No one’s systems were walked off with, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

On to those “other things”.

The other day, I commented that I was very frustrated with my role with UberCon. I’m still somewhat frustrated, but things seem to be evening out a bit: I’ve been emailing back and forth with Kevin, and discussing the concept of a Seattle convention a bit further, and it looks a bit more like a “Go” now, as our next location. That still means not for another year at least, but we’ll see how this upcoming convention in New Jersey goes. If it isn’t solvent, then there goes that idea.

This wouldn’t be the end of the world, though it may mean the end of UberCon. Mickey and I both agree that the Seattle area is RIPE for a gaming convention, to the point that Mickey and I have discussed cashing out of UberCon and using that money to start our own out here. I didn’t say it, but if Kevin had balked at it much more, it may have come to that anyway.

This all means, though, that I’ve added yet another “Hat” for me to wear. I’m a student, a freelance photographer, graphic/web designer, corporate development for UberCon as well as being in Marketing and general organization, and Anime Head. (How many of these are still accurate is a whole other issue… I could easily pick any of them up again relatively easily.) The new role for me is that of Event Manager for Seattle… ie, I’ll be doing all the footwork and a lot of the planning for the Seattle con. It’s bloody daunting, but in some ways I think it’ll be good for me, and will give me a chance to try out the things I wanted to do differently.

I am a little concerned about doing all that and also keeping up with my school work, but I think I’ll manage. (This is all avoiding the issue of getting an actual paying job, which is something I’m still entertaining.)

It’s been pretty weird getting used to having essentially everyone I know be on the other side of the country. I miss them, but at the same time, I really do enjoy it out here. Hopefully things will even out and I’ll know what I’m doing soon (for both Mickey and myself… I think going back to work would do a lot to destress her).

I’ll close this post out with some semi-randomness. On a whim, I typed in my name (Nabil) into Google, and came up with 69,700 responses. I browsed through a few, and came across a few nuggets that I’d like to share.

Nabil Elderkin is a photographer based out of Illinois (likely in or around Chicago), and is a professional photographer with a focus on sports and event photography. Some of his stuff is a little cliche, but there is also some really excellent work as well.

Youssef Nabil is also a photographer, artist, and essayist, with some rather well crafted imagry on his site. Regardless of whether you agree with some of the ideologies expressed, the work itself is excellent and worth viewing.

Hope you enjoy them.