Introduction to Halo

Halo was first released for the original Xbox back in 2001. It was also some years later released for PC. First person shooter fans had already seen some games of this genre released for consoles. As you can easily figure FPS games were first designed to be played with a keyboard and a mouse. Nintendo 64 already had a game or two that can be categorized to be first person shooters. One of these games is Golden Eye 007.

So Halo brought a strong feel of FPS gaming to the Xbox. I think it worked really well and I have enjoyed this game for a long time. The game play is structured so that it is easier to play with a controller of that generation of gaming consoles. You had to move with left thumb stick while you had to aim with the right thumb stick. You could fire with the shoulder button on the right. This was, for me especially, a strong and a positive experience as I had played Half Life and Return to Castle Wolfenstein with a PC setup using keyboard and mouse.

I have to say that I didn’t play Halo until it was about 2006 or so. As I have told in some of my earlier posts on this blog I had some other things going on in 2001. So I got my original Xbox in 2006 and it was about four years ago, 2017, when I started moving towards original Xbox again as I got all my games back from my brother and bought the console again from flea market for a very low price. My Xbox broke just last year. After that I have utilized my Xbox 360’s backward compatibility and I gladly found out that Halo and Halo 2 also work with the 360.

This blog post is named “introduction” because I wanted to introduce the game because it has it’s own and original game play that is a bit different from the FPS’s of it’s time. Also I just some days ago started to play Halo 5. You can start from whatever Halo you have available. I know that there’s a package sold in online stores for Xbox and PC that contains Halo’s first¬† four games. This four game compilation is called Master Chief Collection. There’s also the next Halo game soon to be released. I think it it’s release date is in December this year.

I have completed Halo 3. I am not sure if I have completed other Halo games totally but I do have tens or even hundreds of hours of experience from this great game series. It is possible to play Halo with your friends. The original Xbox enables up to four players to play with a shared screen and from the first game it was also possible to play online. This brought the hardware and design and features of the first Xbox to their maximum. That was basically how the game was designed.

Halo is a first person shooter. You have health level. If your health level drops to zero you die. After that you start from the last save point. The health increases back to maximum level when you stop receiving hits from shooting enemies for a long enough time. So there are no health packs at all. You have many different weapons. You have a limited amount of ammo. Some weapons are from enemies that are aliens so they also have a limitation that makes your can like burn in your hands if you fire too many rounds. When this happens you have to wait a while as your player regains the ability to shoot again. You have to change weapons often. Different weapons have different abilities. Some weapons have less ammo than others and some weapons shoot faster and some are more accurate to shoot with or have a way to zoom to the target that you are trying to shoot.

This is the basics. The weapons are very uniquely designed. I think you cannot find similar weapons in any other game released before the first Halo. Maybe the first Half Life is the most close to Halo if you want to think about games that are similar to it. I was very disappointed in the Half Life’s release for PS2. In my opinion the controls were horrible. This was corrected in Half Life 2 when it was released for Xbox later.

Halo has a certain science fiction feel to it. It has been for a long time one of the most popular games. It has been exclusive for Xbox for a number of game console generations. There is no end in sight. I am a big fan of Halo games. The controls made it easy and fun to play FPS games with Xbox. It helped to bring game pads to be used more and more in gaming in general. After Halo was released for consoles many other same kind of games followed it. I could name some titles that I liked but that list would maybe be too long for here. I know many PS3 and Xbox 360 games and also games for PS4 that have taken influence from Halo. The image you see as the featured image is a screenshot I took with my Xbox Series S from Halo 5.

Short Retro Moment

So this game is actually “Space Commanders”. It was released as a DOS game back in 1983. This is actually a game that I remember playing as a very young kid. This was made possible by the fact that I was extremely interested in computers when I was a young boy. There really weren’t any real violence in this game or I was too young to understand it. It is a game where you shoot objects but thanks to poor graphical presentation the deeper meaning of this game didn’t really come clear. Nowadays it is more important as the graphics are better to make sure that the content of the game is appropriate.

This is actually a clone of well known classic called “Space invaders”. I tried Space Commanders after so many years. It’s design is very interesting. I could be interested to see its source code. I don’t know if it is possible. Maybe I use my favorite search engine to find more information. I didn’t see, at least yet, who has designed this game.

I see already some structures in this game. I mean I understand some concepts and some designed features. I almost see the code in front of my eyes but not so clearly. The game works like this. You have a space ship that you can move to up, down, left and right. You can also shoot a bullet. Your mission is to shoot these, we can call them invaders, that are moving towards you. The game ends when invaders reach the bottom of the screen. Invaders move in, is that, six rows or in some kind of a formation. I don’t describe the movement so accurately.

There is a high score chart. It holds only the best score and the score gets deleted if you exit the game. After you have shot all the invaders you get back to where the game started and you face the next group of enemies. They  are a bit faster this time. At the top of the screen there is a randomly appearing space ship that moves from left to right. If you shoot it you will get a bonus score. When you get 10000 points you get one ship more for you to use. So you have limited lives or fighting ships to use.

This was a nice short moment for me to play my dear, now so retro, game. I remember playing the EGA version while this game was in CGA. I mean actually that this game is black and white while EGA version had some colors. It definitely brought some memories to my mind. And if you wonder what kind of a computer I played this with back then I can tell you that it had a 286 processor. I can’t remember accurately any more details about the computer.

How Did I Get Started With Call Of Duty

I first got into playing Call Of Duty games back in 2006 when I first bought then already a bit old gaming console – the original Xbox. So it was fourteen years ago. I started to look for games, mainly used ones, that were of good quality. I ended up buying maybe three games that I thought were interesting and CoD was one of them.

So there have been many games released inside this game series. I might not have played all of them but I can tell you that some good ones are the first Black Ops and also Modern Warfare Three. I liked the first CoD but I don’t think it’s the best. We had already seen games like Halo on Xbox. It wasn’t anymore so special to have a first person shooter on a console. I am talking about the situtation that we had in the end of 90s when players were thinking that you couldn’t really play FPS’s on gaming consoles and they would have to be played solely on PCs. So the first CoD wasn’t the first FPS on a console.

I have really enjoyed playing CoD series’s games. After getting into the first two of these games on Xbox I went on to buy some CoDs for my PS3. I even have played some CoD games on my PC. I think the newest game in this series is Ghosts for PS4. I recently grabbed CoD Black Ops 1 for PS3. I really enjoyed it. I also bought WWII for PS4 but haven’t yet played it.

I just liked very much how you move inside the game and how you can aim and move. This playing style combines realism and play ability and I think that was finally the thing that got me hooked. Action inside the game is supported with many different options of weapons and historical facts that are at least somewhat correct.

Still this series of games isn’t perfect. I was disappointed in one game of this series that I bought for PS4. It was Advanced Warfare. I just couldn’t enjoy it. The weapons that were used brought to my mind some clips I had then just watched that described how soldiers shot civilians in the Middle East. So I really couldn’t enjoy the game. I’ve heard some bad criticism on Infinite Warfare also and I do have witnessed as it was sold for 10 euros in many gaming stores.

So I hope this post gave you something. Whether it was a new point of view, a nice recommendation or review of a game you was thinking to buy or any other type of reason that you liked this article. It’s nice if you liked it. Keep playing them games!

How Halo changed gaming?

First game of Halo series was released in 2001 for Microsofts Xbox console and also on PC. Gamers all over the world had already seen some amazing first person shooters that were made for PC. It was thougt back then that you just couldn’t make such realsitic and accurate shooting game for console since it didn’t even have a mouse on it. Halo changed this situation totally. It was the first really, I mean really, good first person shooter game and the first one that could be played with gamepads that had only thumb sticks.

After the release of Halo there were many to follow its path. Suddenly you just could do it. You could play FPS game with your gaming console instead of your regular PC setup where you had to have keyboard and mouse. We had already witnessed many games that were more than playable on consoles. The first PlayStation had many genres of games. It had racing games, like Gran Turismo, it had fighting games, like Tekken series. Metal Gear Solid was very good on PS1. Who didn’t like to play Tony Hawks Pro Skater? I remember everyone liked it. The point here is that we really had these games that were played on PC and some games that we only played on consoles.

There might be some debate on how you feed your reactions to the system you are playing on. There has to be a streering wheel for a driving game. You have to have joystick for Street Fighter. You can only play FPS with a mouse and a keyboard on professional level eSports. But I think some games are best, and there’s lots of them, played with a good gamepad. I haven’t even tried to compete seriously but it makes sense that you have to have a controller that is capable to sense your reactions effectively. This varies as games are very different. You could play Colin McRae Rally 1 or 2.0 and Gran Turismo with a gamepad. You still wouldn’t seriously try to compete with this method of control. But the point here, once again, is that Halo brought some difference to this matter. FPS games were now able to be played with a gamepad. And theres still exists games that are at their best when played with a gamepad.

I personally just love games that are designed mainly to be played with a gamepad. That has something, propably, to do with that I played lots of Mega Drive and PlayStation as I was growing up. That was the beginning. I was used to play these kinds of games. I didn’t play so much PC back then. Nowadays you can even play real time strategy games with a gamepad. That was once thought to be impossible. Would you play for example Populous, a strategy game released in the end of 1980s, with your Mega Drive or with your PC if you had to choose? I would go for the PC version and I think so would many other gamers. But now you can consider any game to be played with a gamepad. And that’s where we are going. Gamepads have evolved and they will keep evolving. Take a look at Mega Drives gamepad. Then take a look at PS4 gamepad. Now you can see the difference. So, this is how Halo brought this whole FPS genre, and maybe some other genres also, to consoles.

How Doom changed gaming?

Back in 1993 I was a young kid and I heard some of my class mates talk about this new game that was said to be totally awesome. They kept talking about it. Our crappy PC that our family had wasn’t able to run it. So I played it with my friends computer. And it definitely was something we players hadn’t seen before.

Creators of this game, mainly John Romero and John Carmack, brought to us a game that had never-before-seen graphics and which was also very violent. I remember a long conversation that I had as a kid about does Doom have some kind of a plot in it. You basically walk around and shoot monsters. But there is some kind of a story included though. You are a soldier that is ordered to go to work at Phobos, a moon of Mars, but someone has accidentally opened a teleport to hell. Everyone else is dead. You are figthing monsters from hell all by yourself.

Back in the day graphics were blurry. Just compare the original game to newer Doom released in 2016 and you clearly see the difference. Violence does exist but now graphics tell you more accurately what happens if you for example cut a zombies head off with a chain saw. Some people claimed already in 1993 that games were too violent. This kind of discussion is of course necessary but I think you can not blame solely games for real life violence. My opinion in this issue is that a healthy person can draw a line to what happens in game and how you act in real life. Of course everyone has an opinion but lets not, again, go there.

So how exactly Doom impacted gaming? Well, it certainly brought a 3D experience to larger audience. Makers of Doom had already released Wolfenstein 3D some years earlier. There was this new genre starting to rise its head. It was the birth of a genre called First Person Shooters. And I think Doom is the father of all FPS games that came later. If Doom wouldn’t have been released there wouldn’t be games like Quake, Half-Life, Unreal, Soldier Of Fortune and so on. Doom started it all. This might also be the reason why gaming industry started to grow towards games that included textures and 3D models. Doom was definitely a real pioneer in this formation of gaming that was yet to come even more popular.

Doom started its journey to minds of gamers as a PC game. There was one particularly smart way to release a game that was used by Romero and Carmack. It was called shareware. It worked like this – You could copy the first episode free and if you, or when you, liked the first part, you could purchase the whole game. This was first time that this kind of releasing of a game was used. And it was genious. Doom was also ported to many gaming consoles including Sony PlayStation and Super Nintendo. One of the best versions of Doom could be the one released on Nintendo 64.

Doom made a comeback in 2016 as the game was released to modern gaming systems. There have been numerous Doom games and listing them all would be pointless. You must not forget Doom Eternal that was released just weeks ago. It’s the latest Doom game right now. I think nobody seriously has doubts about how great game this really is. If you still think this game didn’t have impact on the whole gaming industry I will answer that it sure did shape me and some people I know as players of computer and video games.

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