Saturday, April 13, 2013


You either love Star Wars or you shut your trap. Which means, you never say that you dislike Star Wars. And to say you haven’t heard of it, it’s blasphemy. Capisce? Any breach of the above code, and the titanic community of Star Wars fans around the planet could obliterate you with a mere look. Such is the reach of that sweeping cultural institution conceived by Lucas about 35 years ago redefining concepts of science fiction in Hollywood and raking up a cultural response at a global level like never before. Darth Vader and Han Solo and Princess Leia’s doughnut hairstyle took places in the reserve of urban metaphors and never went out of style till date.

May the power of God Who look after the lesser mortals save my head from exploding as, frankly, I was never a die-hard fan, nor did I follow it to the extent where I could tell apart Ewoks from Chewbacca. But I knew beyond doubt that Star Wars was big, mighty big (despite a share of critics panning it in the name of juvenile fantasy), and that it had a staggering fan following all across the globe.

But then Star Wars is history, an already established truth that is nothing you are going to relive or look forward to anymore. But save the displeasure. Repeating the global reach and cultural bearing of the same size, if not more in the third millennium is the crafty world of a multi billion dollar science fiction video game called HALO. Along with legendary graphic novelist Brian Michal Bendis and Variety magazine, many believe that this first person shooter game by Bungie, Inc. is assuming the size of the magnificent George Lucas masterpiece which was one of the most influential creations of all time. Halo being a video game, also has the advantage of offering the magic of living in the world as one of them as opposed to the confines of a film. That one live inside the combat zone contracting bullets and stabs, makes the factor of empathy towards the protagonist/ player/ performer tenfold sounder and first-hand with a video game. Anybody who has maneuvered the virtual wheels for NFS would know how the shock of speed could send paralyzing chills up your spine.

Inside the stunning world of this fabulous video game that Halo has evolved into over years (even post Bungie), what stands above gunfights, explosions and alien zombies is the experience that’s to die for. 

In Halo, set several hundred years in the future, one plays in the shoes of the protagonist, a space marine called Master Chief who enters a world of aliens in a domain where it’s on an interstellar war with humanity. As and when each installment came out, the stakes got larger and threats got meaner, the set-pieces and cinematics along with characters got more and more real. The design of the look of the game has been so deliberated to make it look no lesser than the best. The construction of characters based on motion capture and the brilliance of quirky architecture along with the landscape in the vicinity, both immediate and away has succeeded in making the current face of Halo top-notch. 

One of the most successful aspects, which is also the scariest, about the experience offered in the Halo world is the size of the conflict in comparison to self. One grows to know deeper in the game that the magnitude of the combat is unfathomably large, complex and unpredictable. With all these, one cannot blame the grasp this multilayered living experience has on today’s generation with general surveys proving a large number of video game players falling in the 25-40 age group.

Like Star wars that was novelized and adapted for the market through toys, comic books, children’s book and radio drama, Halo franchise has books, comics, anime and collectible action figures and vehicles not to mention its varied spin-offs. The word of a film version has been in the wind for quite some time with big names like Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Blomkamp and Peter Jackson flapping around as dragon flies. Latest addition to the list of enthusiasts is Steven Spielberg who showed interest in making a film version.

The weekly Halo3 match between the nerds in The Big Bang Theory could only be a reflection of our generation minus the nerdiness which prompts Sheldon to say “Halo 3 is better than sex” similar to Tracy from 30 ROCK who says, “I love Halo so much I want to take it behind middle school and get it pregnant”. So a little heads up to the non-fans should not be a bad idea. Next time, be careful while asking who Cortana is, even if it’s to a 40 year old, if you don't want to end up in a hospital bed with an eye patch. He might be from the Halo Nation.

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