There was a point in my life when I said aloud, “Why would I bother getting an Xbox 360 when I am only going to play Halo 2?” I played Halo 2 every single day for almost a year. I could have done a lot of other things with my time, but Halo 2 was the only thing I cared about. I would check Bungie.net religiously for any updates. This was also about the time that I realized that Bungie is really bad about communicating with players. But Halo 2 wasn’t about what the developers but in the game. Halo 2 was all about what the players put in the game.
This was a time before the forge and map creation. But we could still create game modes. And we certainly created a lot of game modes. Zombies was my favorite game mode and it relied on trust from the other players. We would decide before the match who would start as the zombie and then determine which weapons the humans could use and which weapons the zombies could use. It was up to the players to follow those rules. Because in the beginning of the match the zombies had a shotgun and the humans had a sword. But the players had to buy in to the rules of the game in order to actually enjoy playing it. Sure every once in a while someone would break the rules, but we would simply remove them from the game and find a new friend.
The beauty of Halo 2 was the number of people that were playing it. It seemed like everyone was playing the game. I became friends with people in my high school that I was not friends with previously. I expanded my circle of acquaintances to include more people that played Halo 2. It was such a great time to be a gamer. I really only ever played the multiplayer mode. It took me about 9 months to finally beat the single player campaign and when it was over I just went straight back to the multiplayer.
Halo 2 was one of the only games that actually had a good ranking system. People played this game to achieve the maximum rank in a way that no other game has replicated to this day. I had multiple friends that reached the maximum level , namely Andy aka Kick. He was so good. I was a mere mortal among gods, I reached about level 15 or 16. Which pretty much sums up my competitive gaming career. Nevertheless I played a lot of ranked matches. I wish that Bungie.net or Halo Waypoint kept my stats from the past decade. I bet I killed so many players and probably died just as many times.
I knew that Halo 2 was something special when Microsoft tried to shut down the original Xbox servers. People did not want to stop playing Halo 2. They kept the servers going for about a week because they would not leave the lobby. Players kept playing for as long as they could or until Microsoft convinced them to leave. I should have been one of those players.
I have a lot to remember about Halo 2 and the friends that I made while playing the game. I am still looking forward to some more updates to Halo: The Master Chief Collection so I can keep playing Halo 2 online and make new friends. The online scene is so different now, it is much harder to make friends through the actual game but much easier to make friends through third party apps and group finders. Someday we may see a game that replicates the magic from Halo 2, but for me nothing will come close to the magic that Halo 2 meant to me.
Tomorrow we take a hard left turn towards the land of Viva Pinata.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks