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Addicted to the Game

By: Sloane Solomon

Halo is the bane of every girlfriend’s existence and can often be reason enough for second-degree murder. What’s worse is that now it has a sequel: Halo 2. Before it was released, it was already breaking records with over one million copies pre-ordered (the first Halo sold five million copies worldwide).So what is all the hoopla over Halo 2? To find out, I went where no girl had gone before- I infiltrated a group of high school senior boys’ “Halo Night” to find out what happens behind closed doors and split screen TVs.

As it turns out, they don’t shed their skin (they don’t even remove their baseball caps), but instead refer to themselves in really weird codenames and yell- a lot. I watched Palmetto High seniors Joey Weston, Daniel Doddo, Andy Fisher and Jordan Simkovic as they battled “the Covenant” (the bad guys) one chilly January night. It was all very homo-erotic.Weston’s game room was covered with posters of strapping men (i.e. Mel Gibson as William Wallace and Al Pacino as Scarface) and the room was lit with a single neon light. Bags of beefy snack foods and a futon really gave the place some ambience. And Doddo always plays topless.To get a better feel for what it’s like to watch seemingly normal high school kids transform into lean, mean, X-, O-, and triangle-button-pushing machines, I think it would be appropriate to refer to them by their codenames.

Doddo goes by “PimpDoddo,” he says, “for obvious reasons.” Fisher, who is known for his steely looks and lack of moniker creativity, goes by the alias of “Fisher” because he says, “I freaking hate playing Halo. I only do it because they need a fourth.” The self-described indestructible Weston is known as “J-Dub” and Simkovic likes to represent his motherland as “Israel.”The four boys split into two groups and hook up two X-Box Lives to two TVs so that one game can be played on both sets between all four boys. There are a bunch of levels to choose from (although they all look the sameƑpost-apocalyptic and drab) and they all finally settled on one level with a bunch of blocks and levels and a long fall to a player’s death.

Call me old school, but I’d much rather play the easy to control 2-D Mario than the crazy (and seemingly) 56-D Halo characters. So why has everyone hopped on the Halo bandwagon?”We play because it’s fun, it’s a good way to bond and I know I can always beat PimpDoddo [Doddo],” Simkovic said.So, in true guy fashion, Doddo promptly challenged Israel [Simkovic] to a one-on-one battle and lost, miserably. But in PimpDoddo’s defense, he looked great topless.

I asked what the story behind Halo 2 was and after I was yelled at for speaking J-Dub [Weston ] told me something about a covenant and aliens and shotguns and I think he may have mentioned New Kids on the Block, but I’m not sure.It seems really nerdy, and although I’m assured it’s not, I can’t help but wonder and ask, aren’t video games just a more advanced and more addicting version of Dungeons and Dragons?

“No, they’re not. Everyone plays Halo. My grandma could play Halo,” PimpDoddo [Doddo] said.”Yeah, and I’d beat her too,” Israel [Simkovic] said.”No, videogames are really just a good way to relax and hang out. They’re not really addictive until you play for money,” PimpDoddo [Doddo] added.Mind you, the entire time I’m conducting this groundbreaking interview, obscenities about male genitalia are flying left and right and people are being impaled with remote controls.A footstool was thrown and I took that as my cue to leave. Before doing so, I snapped a few shots of the boys and Fisher yelled at me because “now there’s a white spot covering part of my screen.”I left the room and took a long, deep breath and for the first time in eight years, I had a really strange urge to play Mario-Kart, ASAP.

0 0 228 11 March, 2005 Lifestyle, News, Tech March 11, 2005

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