Life Lessons from Halo 4

Because I’m talking about a video game, I think I should admit that I’m not much of a gamer. I don’t own an Xbox or a Playstation, and I don’t play games on my computer. For the most part I’m a non-gamer.

That’s not to say I don’t play any videogames at all — I’m not one to back down from a Super Smash Bros. grudge match or a Grand Prix in Mario Kart.

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Just recently my roommate bought Halo 4, and it’s been hard for me to refuse his offer to play Team Slayer as well. My kill-to-death ratio is rather unimpressive, but the things I’ve learned from playing this first-person shooter are quite insightful, but mostly just embarrassing.

For one, I’ve learned that I am totally incompetent when it comes to electronics or computers. I knew I had a problem with this when I had to have an elderly lady assist me when I scanned some documents at the library. However, it really drove home with me when I couldn’t even figure out how to play Halo once I had turned on my roommate’s Xbox.

Up until this point I assumed I was proficient with the technology of my generation, but since when did game consoles have access to Netflix, web browsers and radio stations? What happened to the good ol’ days when you just put the game in the machine and it started playing? Apparently I’ve been left behind in the dirt, playing Super Nintendo.

After figuring out how to play Halo once the Xbox was turned on, I soon learned that I suck at all these fancy new video games. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but after getting knifed in the back multiple times, I kind of had to concede the fact, because I was getting schooled by kids who probably didn’t even have armpit hair yet.

One of my absolute most favorite things about Halo is the online play, where you find a plethora of pre-pubescent kids talking smack while their mothers yell at them in the background. I find great humor in their horrible attempts at potty mouthing. They always use the wrong cuss words at the wrong time and in the wrong order. Luckily, this is where my roommates and I came in to teach them a thing or two about talking like a sailor.

However, my roommates didn’t go online to play Halo with the intent of teaching little kids how to talk smack. Instead, the Xbox Connect did all the work for us.

We initially thought that the Xbox didn’t have a microphone, but apparently the Xbox Connect had one somewhere on it. We couldn’t hear all the other gamers chatting during the online death matches, but apparently they could hear us loud and clear.

The Xbox Connect mounted on our TV sits very nonchalantly in the middle of our living room. I never gave it much thought until I learned that it had been broadcasting our conversations to the online Halo community. As my roommates and I lounged in our living room together, sharing our hopes, fears, and dreams, all those gamers were listening.

We found out that we had been eavesdropped when my roommate’s gamer profile got booted from playing online because our behavior was reported to be “aggressive” and “unsportsmanlike.” Apparently 64 percent of the people that we played with had tried to avoid our user profile afterwards.

I’m not exactly sure what we might have been saying to upset so many people, but we were basically just conversing like we always do. I like to think that I’m mature because I’m about to graduate college next semester, but if the conversations I have in my house are too appalling for 64 percent of the population, well, I guess I’ll have to find some weird reality show like Jersey Shore where I can entertain the masses with my own piss-poor behavior.

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By far, the most important thing I’ve learned from Halo 4 is that I’m not going to play Halo 4 anymore.

If I decide to waste my time playing video games at all, it might as well be spent playing good ones. Instead of being monitored on Xbox Live, I’ll gladly play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on my Nintendo 64, where I’m free to spit, cuss and kick-flip my way to victory.