How Halo 2 Changed My Life Forever

How Halo 2 Changed My Life Forever

Written Sunday, November 09, 2014 By Dan Webb
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Way back in 2011 on the 10-year anniversary of the release of Grand Theft Auto III, I wrote about how that game made me the gamer I am today; how it got me back into gaming and how it got me to chase after every morsel of content in every game that I ever sunk my teeth in to. There is only one game that had more of an impact in my life than Grand Theft Auto III, and that game was Halo 2. A game that years later would change my life. Forever.

"November 9th, 2004, the day that Halo 2 first landed in stores."

Let’s zoom back 10-years to 2004. I was a clueless 22 year-old boy. Emphasis on boy. At that time in my life I had no idea what to do or what I was doing. I’d dropped out of university after amassing an incredible amount of debt and after the tragic death of one of my closest friends, and I genuinely found myself driving a forklift for a living, working in a warehouse. Back then I used to take it one day at a time. That was it. No plans for the future whatsoever. I’d essentially go to work, come home and play on my PlayStation, and then on weekends, binge drink till I dropped. Sometimes literally. Seriously, I was a bit of a tearaway way back when. Heck, we used to have lock-ins at the local club and do vodka shots through our eyes until the sun came up. I was young, mental and completely directionless.

Like any young person with not much money to their name, I was a one console kind of guy, and at that time, I was a massive PlayStation fanboy. Still in love with the system and with GTA III for bringing me back from the doldrums, I used to dedicate every spare minute to shooting down cowboys in Red Dead Revolver, trying to 100% Gran Turismo 2 or chasing down all of the endings in Konami's nutty curio, Shadow of Memories.

That Xbox thing? “Screw that,” I thought, “I’m a PlayStation guy.” That was until a wee game called Halo 2 came out. Admittedly, I didn’t pick the game up on launch, but for days… nay, weeks, at work I’d speak to a friend of mine, Steve, who worked in IT, about this online multiplayer shooter called Halo 2. Wait, what? You play against people online? That’s crazy talk.

I listened to his stories for a long time, until one payday I took the plunge. I bought an Xbox with Halo 2 and Fable. I adored Fable to pieces, but Halo 2 and its online multiplayer did something to me that I’d not never truly experienced with video games before in my life.

"Oh look! We're so enjoying our multiplayer shootiness! This is so much fun!"

First things first, people these days – myself included – take online multiplayer experiences for granted. With our fast broadband speeds, wireless consoles and wireless networks, everything is so bloody easy to set up and online multiplayer is but a click away. When I first started playing Halo 2, it was nothing but a ballache to set up. First things first, we needed broadband – the 56K modem we had was never going to cut it. This was a cost that I took the brunt of in my mother’s house, and at a time when I was paying back more credit cards than Paris Hilton would use on a night out with a Columbian drug lord, it wasn’t the wisest idea I’d ever had. Then there was the fact that I was upstairs and the router downstairs. Because our Wi-Fi was so patchy back then, I literally had to buy a 50ft Ethernet cable and run it from my room all the way downstairs – a cable that still exists in our offices to this day. All this to play a game. Even once I’d set it up, I had no idea what to expect and how addicted I’d eventually become, but it also came with its benefits.

I quickly fell into a pattern of: go to work, come home from work, have tea, play Halo 2, go to bed. Rinse and repeat for about 12-18 months. At a time when I was feeling hard done by and had been kicked in the teeth by life more times than I care to remember, my only solace was Halo 2.

It was a game that raised my spirits though. I actually started to get excited about things again and I actually became more focused in the rest of my life. In the time that I was playing Halo 2, I’d decided to go back to university to study law – which I did – and I’d even gotten myself a girlfriend. I was happy, genuinely happy, something I’d not been able to say for years. I’d gone from clueless and miserable, to having a purpose in life, and that was down to my experiences with Halo 2 and my downtime away from the shit brick that was my life at the time.

"How dare you be a nice, generous and caring person!?"

It wasn’t all puppy dogs tails and rainbows though. I was so addicted, and obviously mentally deranged at the time, that I actually turned down a blowjob from my girlfriend because I was, and I quote, “playing Halo.” It wasn’t just a casual question either, the train had essentially pulled into the station, if you know what I mean, but it was distracting me. No-one disturbed my Halo time. No-one! Granted, she didn’t last much longer after that. How dare she try to make me happy and pleasure me. What a bitch! Like I said, I was deluded. Deluded, but focused. Not long after that I came to my senses and realised that reaction probably wasn’t my greatest move in life, but it was too late to cry over spilt milk… I was off to Sheffield to get my law degree.

Now, this might sound stupid, but it’s true. Without all those exact events taking place above in that exact order, chances are I would never be where I am today.

If I hadn’t have fallen in love with Xbox and Halo 2, I’d never have bought an Xbox 360 at launch. If I’d have been anything other than a student, I wouldn’t have had the time or extra money – yes, I used my student loan to buy an Xbox 360… so it’s clear I didn’t learn my money management lessons first time around! – to buy an Xbox 360. If I hadn't bought a 360 at launch, I’d never have become addicted to achievements. If I hadn’t done that, literally day one, I’d never have been involved with this site today. If that hadn’t happened, I would definitely not have been involved in the gaming industry at all right now and I’d certainly not be feeling blessed every morning that I open my eyes.

They say that games can change lives. Well, for me, they did just that, and for every day that I do this I am immeasurably grateful to Halo 2. Grateful for giving me a career that I love. Grateful to the friends I have met on this wonderful journey. Grateful to all you lovely readers and members that return day in, day out, and let me continue down this path. All of this because of one game.

So, on the 10-year anniversary of the game that changed my life, here’s to you, Halo 2. And here’s to you, Xbox Achievements.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #1 by Miikesmama
Sunday, November 09, 2014 @ 05:08:30 PM
A nice, personal story (should be Rated-R for that Vodka-in-the-eyes and the blowjob bit though ;-) Too much information, as the saying goes!

No mention how law school turned out, though? ;-)

I don't have such a story about gaming, but (being 31 and starting out with a NES), the game that drew me into online gaming was Gears of War 2. The storymode was awesome to play with my girlfriend (today wife), but Horde?? Playing with others, cooperative to defeat wave after wave of Locust? Priceless! GoW 3 was a day one of course, and may be the game I have played the longest in my life. Just yesterday evening me and the misses went on a Locust killing spree again in that game :-)

Forum Posts: 14854
Comment #2 by Webb [STAFF]
Sunday, November 09, 2014 @ 07:50:52 PM
@#1 - Ha ha, yeah, that just tends to be my voice. People should assume that when they read my stuff, it's generally R-Rated =P

As for law school, turned out fine in the end. Got my degree, but didn't take it any further, I took a gamble on seeing whether I could make the sites work. Luckily they did :D

First off, congrats! Secondly, we're very similar: I'm 32, started off on the NES, ended up falling in and out of love of gaming for my young adult life for the most part. I share your love for Horde as well, many a night lost on that bad boy =)

Forum Posts: 194
Comment #3 by Corpse87
Sunday, November 09, 2014 @ 11:53:50 PM
it woke me up to annoying little kids on xbox live! traded that POS game in one week later,Halo 2 is gaylo 2!

Forum Posts: 1754
Comment #4 by mmartynn
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 04:38:50 AM
So moral of the story is to deny the agreement between oral and genitalia, play halo instead and you get a foot in the game industry? I've been doing it wrong this hole time! No more mouth wash for me :P

Forum Posts: 13
Comment #5 by kaiyo penguin
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 04:57:57 AM
nice back story webb lol
personally only really got into proper gaming through 360, assassins creed made me turn into a gamer

Forum Posts: 271
Comment #6 by Duke Of Twiggy
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 06:02:07 AM
Nice read. I was actually going to send a question through for the podcast as to how you got into the site/games journalism, so there's that!

Can't believe you turned down a bj though! If my wife (or woman back in the day) so much as looks at it I'm walking out of the game and leaving my character to die haha

I've been gaming since my Amiga 500 (late 80's, and it's similarly got me out through dark and shitty times. Although I generally hate MP. I'm more than happy to play with people I know but playing with random people never appealed to me as a teen and it definitely doesn't as a grumpy 30yr old haha

Forum Posts: 275
Comment #7 by macd
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 01:53:44 PM
I've done Tequila through my eyeball once. It wasn't until I mentioned it to my brother that he told me it's actually rather risky to do so.

I never liked Halo 2. I never was a big MP fan and I couldn't really afford Xbox Live 10 years ago since my only income was from a paper round. After the exceptionally good SP camapaign of Halo:CE, I felt they screwed Halo 2 up massively. The ending was awful. I didn't care enough about Arby or the internal politics of the Covenant. I also felt they got rid of some of the best bits of Halo: CE's battles - the wide open spaces. Like I said, I wasn't and generally am not a MP kind of guy so I don't have an opinion based on that.

While I'm taking Halo, I thought Halo 3 was really poor for the first half or so, but the second half was fantastic.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #8 by pinhas23x
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 03:20:11 PM
Cool story bro!! Only two days ago I got my Xbox 360 just to play Halo saga, gonna remember your story when I get to play Halo 2.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #9 by wza 1337
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 03:58:02 PM
The game that made me the gamer that i am now ( 32 ) is Halo !

Forum Posts: 866
Comment #10 by Hurricane Of 87
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 04:08:18 PM
lol, i cri evrytiem ^__^

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #11 by aim of kronic
Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 10:57:23 PM
at least i am not the only person to turn down services from a lady during the halo 2 days..

i told my fiance that she would break up with me if she gets me a X1 for Christmas because i would do nothing but play that. really sad i will not be playing H2 until Christmas morning, at least i will feel like a little kid again.

Forum Posts: 116
Comment #12 by AliasDJA
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 @ 05:02:46 PM
Just moved in to my first house with the Mrs.

She bought me Driver, and the Season Pass for AC3

Silly, silly Woman

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #13 by caboose69ing
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 @ 08:42:52 AM
am I the only person that can fuck and play at the same time? Have you ever blown someone's head of in battlefield while blowing your load at the same time....PRICELESS!

Forum Posts: 1808
Comment #14 by newbsicle
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 @ 03:24:01 PM
You turned down sex for a video game? :p

My addiction got out of hand with the original Far Cry on PC. I played it competitively and was consistently one of the top players in the world. Needless to say during this time I basically sat in a chair most of the time playing the game.

It annoys me to this day when I think about how much time I wasted playing video games. It was never really just the escape I told myself it was, but was actually my entire life. Now I realize that time could have been used reading/studying, developing relationships, or working out.

Oh well, no point in crying over spilled milk.

Forum Posts: 1808
Comment #15 by newbsicle
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 @ 03:26:52 PM
*spilt milk

Forum Posts: 2165
Comment #16 by mjc0961
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 @ 10:05:27 PM
Really? If it was just a BJ, you can play and let her do her business at the same time ;)

@13: I hope you had your mic muted XD

Forum Posts: 645
Comment #17 by ConfederateSuga
Thursday, November 13, 2014 @ 07:37:42 PM
I wasn't getting blow jobs and such back when Halo 2 was out, but it sure got me through some strange times in my adolescent years and remains to this day one of the pinnacles in gaming for me. I feel like there are 2 games from that generation that resonate with people; Halo 2 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I can't explain why those games were the best at what they did or why they mean so much, even to this day, to those of us who played them. It's just a common bond that we originals share and I don't think any explanation is needed. We have the feeling and we just...know. Great article, Dan!

Forum Posts: 385
Comment #18 by Emivader
Friday, November 14, 2014 @ 04:37:25 AM
#17: Just my 2 favorite games of the original xbox :')

Forum Posts: 645
Comment #19 by ConfederateSuga
Friday, November 14, 2014 @ 06:01:57 AM
#18 You get it! You know!

Yeah, I hate exclusivity because it limits gamers on different platforms, but something about those Xbox exclusives man...I don't think it'll ever be topped for me.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #21 by Waxy5
Monday, November 17, 2014 @ 11:32:25 AM
Halo 2 did the same thing to me, it made me a gamer, I don't think I would of ever gotten into gaming. October 2004 I played Halo 2 online and fell in love. I took over my brothers xbox and I never stopped. I would sleep, go to school, and play. I played probably near 70 hours a week for 2-3 years. Favorite game of all time. It's weird too because no matter how bored you got there was always something to do. Whether it was exploring the levels, super bouncing, messing around with friends, and more. I miss those days. That's why I wish matchmaking would get fixed completely on MCC.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #22 by Naruto Tabby
Thursday, November 20, 2014 @ 07:39:52 PM
Haha I'm 26 an i had to pay my own Internet bill an i had the cable from downstairs to upstairs to play halo 2 an even system links at a mates house felt so much more special then it does these days don't get me wrong gaming today is fantastic but do love a nostalgic trip as you halo 2 fable are the games that made me a gamer

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #23 by Naruto Tabby
Thursday, November 20, 2014 @ 09:01:21 PM
Scrap that I had wrote a full step by step guide for metal gear soild that was the time I became a gamer

Forum Posts: 2627
Comment #25 by ImaginaryRuins
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 @ 03:08:07 PM
I'm in my late 20s and started playing Xbox360 games since I got my first job, as a celebration. Even though now I got to think about my future, I still enjoy the time when I needed not worry so much about life and money, going to work during day time, and returning home to play games at night.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #26 by Possibility
Friday, November 28, 2014 @ 11:20:25 AM
Wow, this was insightful haha. This brings back memories of sleeping over my cousins' house every weekend just to play offline Halo 2. We were super competitive, and used to have family tournaments lol. Oh, where have the days gone.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #27 by Espiritu
Thursday, December 11, 2014 @ 07:00:21 PM
This is one of the best games ever. The remake looks beautiful. A part of my youth I'll never forget.

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #28 by IIIWEIGHTYIII
Friday, December 12, 2014 @ 09:49:39 PM
Great read. Not sure about the refusal of a blow job but... we all know how intense it is online and how addicted we all are hahaha!

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #29 by TheCougers
Saturday, December 20, 2014 @ 12:05:02 AM
Halo 2 is definitely among my favorite games of all time.

Forum Posts: 116
Comment #30 by AliasDJA
Monday, December 22, 2014 @ 04:38:26 PM

We can all blow up a doll

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #31 by TheRastaChrist
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 @ 11:57:32 PM
Halo 2, the first 1st-person shooter that i played, nowadays i mostly play only first person shooters. Gotta love that nostalgia.

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US November 11, 2014

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