Jeremy Kratka’s Favorite Games of All Time: Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)

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Halo is Microsoft’s FPS juggernaut. This sci-fi shooter follows Spartan 117, also known as Master Chief, as he defends humanity from the alien onslaught from a collective group called the Covenant. I didn’t own this at launch, but I clearly remember my brother talking about how fun it was. My first experience with Halo was at a sleepover. My friend had invited a couple of friends and I to his house for your typical night of playing video games. Someone he knew brought his Xbox, which none of us had. He put in Halo: Combat Evolved and we heard the iconic music playing in the menu. He brought us into the multiplayer, which obviously none of us were good at, but we had a load of fun fighting over the rocket launcher or driving the iconic Warthog around trying to run people over. It was pretty fun, but it got better. He asked if we wanted to do the story co-op. He had played through a portion of the game, so we didn’t get to see the beginning. We started in the swamps, the introduction of the Flood. The horror-esque level was enough to really intrigue me to the atmosphere, as well as the introduction, to Halo’s terrifying enemy. After that night, Halo disappeared from my life for a while. Maybe a year or two later, my uncle had bought me Halo 2 for Christmas. While my mother was not happy about me having a M-rated game, my excitement was really high. I didn’t understand the story so I eventually got the original game. This was when the story found it’s way into my heart.

The story of Halo is what interests me the most. Not only the first game, but also the entire universe. Halo started this saga that I just needed to learn about. I owned Halo and Halo 2, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to know where Master Chief came from, why the Covenant is bent on destroying humanity, and what the events were that got them to the original Halo ring. Then I learned about the books. As someone who was made fun of for reading slower than most of my class, I never had an interest in books until I found the first three books, Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: The Flood,  and Halo: First Strike. Covering the beginnings of this universe, it elaborated on the events of the first game, and told of Master Chief’s epic tale of how he got back to Earth to warn about the Covenant. Halo was the game that really brought my attention to the level of detail stories in video games could have. We had pretty amazing stories in video games before, but this was the first for me to transcend the medium and go into books. The franchise has very much grown since then, and even if more recent games haven’t caught me as much as the original games did, I still enjoy learning about the lore and backstory of this massive universe. This is why Halo is one my favorite games of all time.

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