Be a Hero! - Relief Effort for Haiti Quakes by Bungie

Be a Hero! 

 Bungie fans, we're asking you to step up, "Be a Hero," and help us help Haiti.

At 4:53pm on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake swept through the Republic of Haiti and shook the nation to its knees. We’ve watched in shock, horror, and sadness as men, women, and children scramble amidst the rubble looking for friends, family, and loved-ones. We struggle to make sense of it and can’t help but feel helpless as we witness their struggle for survival from afar. Sadly, the situation is only getting worse.

For some of us, this is a grim reminder of our own tragedies. We hear echoes of the ocean spilling into the streets of New Orleans. We recall broken buildings slipping away from our skylines, falling into dust. And as shattered families in Haiti begin their own relief and rescue effort, we are reminded that the divide between our nations and our peoples is not so wide, that we are not so different, and that we are not so helpless.

We can do something. We can make a difference. But we can’t do it alone. We’re calling on the Bungie community. We’re asking for your help.

Right now, in the Bungie Store, you’ll find a special edition of our Superintendent tee. Pick one up and we’ll donate 100% of our profits directly to the relief efforts through the American Red Cross

In addition to the special shirt, from now until the end of February, we will be donating all of Bungie's profits from theBungie Store directly to the American Red Cross. If you had your eye on a sweet Bungie hoodie or bag, there’s never been a better time to buy than now since that money will go right to supporting a great cause. Please note that this really only applies to Bungie apparel and accessories in our online store – if you wanted to add an HD TV or Xbox 360 game to your cart at checkout, Bungie doesn’t actually see any real proceeds from those 3rd party items.
So, you want to help but don’t have a way to get one of our shirts or make a monetary donation? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with the easiest possible way to be a hero – playing Halo!

We are rallying our fan community to show their support by playing Halo 3 or ODST online next Wednesday or Thursday while wearing a special emblem signifying your commitment to the cause. For every thousand heroes that participate, we will make a $100 donation on behalf of Bungie and our fan community to the Red Cross for Haiti relief efforts, up to a maximum of $77,000. All you have to do is don a special emblem and play a game online and know that you’ve done a small part to help those in need. 

Please mark your calendars and help spread the word! 

Here are the specifics:

1. Round up all of your friends and hop online with Halo 3 or ODST any time next from 00:01AM PST Wednesday, 1/20, through 23:59PM PST Thursday 1/21.

2. Edit your appearance settings so your character is wearing the RED HEART emblem. 

a. Press START
c. Select “EMBLEM”
d. Select “Hearts” ICON, “Circle” BACKGROUND
e. Back out to the APPEARANCES menu and select “COLORS”
f. Set “EMBLEM PRIMARY” to RED (or MAROON / BRICK / ROSE depending on which game you’re playing!)

3. Once your emblem is set, play! This can be a custom game or a matchmaking game, just make sure it’s played online, on Xbox LIVE, or we can’t track it. 

If you keep playing more games through midnight on Thursday, 


 or you may not get counted. 

We’ve got our hearts on and we’re looking for a fourth. Will you join our cause on Xbox LIVE? (for screenshot example purposes we’re on system link, your network needs to be “Xbox LIVE” though!)

But wait, there’s more! We want to see your screenshots and hear the stories about your experiences. Take screenshots from your games and tag them on with “HERO” so we can capture the moment. We’ll go through and find screens we like and send some of you the special “Be a Hero!” Superintendent t-shirts we’re offering at the Bungie Storeas a small token of our gratitude for your support.
These are but three small ways you and your friends can do your part to lend a hand to those in need. If you would simply like to make a cash donation, we urge you to visit the American Red Cross website, or any other charitable organization you’re comfortable with, and do just that. For more information about various charities, check out
In light of these recent events, there will be no update on Halo: Reach's development this week. No poorly wrought prose or corny jokes. No Blame Stosh. It just doesn't feel right. I’ll make it up to you in the future. I promise.

For now, we ask that you focus on spreading the word to all reaches of the community. In 2005, we asked for your charity in our “Fight the Flood” campaign to help fund relief efforts in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and we were floored by the overwhelming outpouring of charity and support you put on display. Let’s do it again.

Love, Bungie.    
Think this is such a wonderful thing and despite my location in the world, am going to make an effort to get that T-Shirt. Because each T-Shirt? That's one meal for one lucky soul right there. And its nice that Bungie's using the illusion of community involvement in the $77, 000 donation. Its obvious that regardless of what happens, Bungie will immediately donate at least the $77, 000.  
Bungie did it once and well, they are about to do it again. Hats off to them. 
*Initiates Slow Clap*

Zereta's Top 10 Games of 2009


So, watching the GB crew run down their Top 10 lists got me thinking of my own and well, 2009 was awesome. So many amazing games came out, so many great announcements. Hell 2010 is gonna even more fantastic because if anything, 2009's got me hyped for damn 2010. So I break it down. Here are my top 10 games I played in 2009. 

10. Modern Warfare 2

The first Modern Warfare was hot in a lot of ways but something a lot of people failed to realize was the many flaws in the multiplayer system. Its addictive and kept me playing regardless my many problems with it and eventual hate for it but all in all, a good game. With Modern Warfare 2, its obvious that Infinity Ward wanted to beat the craziness of the first in every way and this does not necessarily pan out to make the amazing game, anyone expected. Modern Warfare 2's story takes a turn from the semi-realistic plausibility of the first to a complete Micheal Bay movie and in an attempt to make Multiplayer even better, they ended up making it impossible to enjoy unless you invested a lot of time into it by reaching the higher levels. Its addictive though and I just can't stop playing it but its problems hit me and hit me hard. Still, I like Micheal Bay films and well, I had a good time with Modern Warfare 2. 

9. Borderlands 

Man, Borderlands is such an amazing game. It just, well... amazing. All those guns. All those quests. Everything just feels so good. I would even go on to say Borderlands feels the rightest to shoot. And each gun feels unique in some way. Hell, look at me! I can't even properly justify Borderlands. Its just good. Sure, things got repetitive and the story was horrible but it got me hooked and well... Dude, its BORDERLANDS. 

8. Grand Theft Auto IV 

I thought GTA IV was horrible. I hated it. Back in 2008, I felt disgusted by the very thought of it. They took the fun of the previous GTA games and threw it right out the windows. I couldn't play it anymore then. Coming back to it in 2009 and slowly, patiently playing through it, I still can't forgive Rockstar for such a shift in the way GTA played. Going down the path of realism isn't really the best way to go but what kept me hooked was narrative. Rockstar wrote a brilliant story and that's what kept me playing it despite frustration.  

7. Fallout 3

 Oh Fallout 3! Again, I hated this game at first. Nothing was really the game's fault though. It just was such a slow burn in the beginning. But the more I played it, the more I was hooked. The more I wanted to keep going. As I played the game, the DLC came out slowly and it was the first Non-Halo game that I ever bought ALL the DLC to. Amazing story, amazing premise and well, such an amazing mood and tone to it. Bethesda truly created an amazing world to play in, despite the bombed uo-ness of it. 

6. Halo Wars

I don't typically care for RTS games. But as a Halo fiction whore, I had to buy this, just to see the story. And well, it got me. I've played RTS games before and never liked them so the fact that the gameplay of a Console based RTS got me hooked was just mindblowing to me. It had a relatively good story, though only meaningful to Halo fans. Its a nice little RTS tribute almost to the Halo series and for me, for more than anything. 

5. Halo 3: ODST 

What can I say? Bungie is still amazing at making First Person Shooters. For anyone who has played a lot of Halo: Combat Evolved, ODST is obviously pure fan service. A nice tight focused story, with a brand new set of characters. Some people lamented that the story would have nothing to do with the original trilogy but hell, we were proven wrong. ODST's tight story makes the events of Halo 3 make a lot more sense and offers great insight into how Halo 3 even happened. A short campaign, though solid, left me wanting more. The many Bioshock-esqe Audio Logs scattered around the city actually provided a much better story than the already good ODST tale and even made me shed a tear at one point. It was that powerful to me. Firefight, the Halo take on the now popular Horde Mode style of gameplay, might just be the best iteration of that kind of stuff to date and even 2 years later, the Halo 3 Multiplayer has yet to be beat. Definitely the most solid, tight and balanced Multiplayer suite, hell, Ever. 

4. Assassin's Creed 2  

It says a lot that an hour into the game, I got so invested into the character than I changed the language to Italian, just for a much more authentic experience. Like Borderlands, I can't quite put my finger on it but AC2 just feels damn good. A brilliant story all around with an amazing ending. Much more refined than the first, though some of the repetitiveness from the first bled into this game. Still, an amazing experience from beginning to end. 

3. Dragon Age: Origins 

Disclaimer: I played this on the inferior Console version. So, with that taken into consideration, it just shows how FUCKING amazing Dragon Age is. I'm not one for High Fantasy stories. I sleep during Lord of the Rings but it was the story of Dragon Age that kept me going and the moral choices, oh god, the moral choices. The point where I had to make a choice and the choice I made caused one of my dear party members to leave my party forever... by making me kill her... At THAT point, I had to switch off the game. And think about it. What did I just do? Such powerful decisions you have to make. So powerful that I didn't even want to reboot the last save like I typically do. Gameplay is fine but damn... 

2. Forza Motorsport 3

I make it a point to try every Racing/Driving game when they come out because I always felt that this genre is something I should like and always, I am disappointed. Nothing to date has made me like the Racing genre... Until Forza 3. The driving in Forza 3 just feels good. And well, I really have nothing more to say about it right now. Forza 3 is just a damn good game. Go buy it. Done. 

1. Batman: Arkham Asylum 

Yup. Of course. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the best game I played in 2009. It came as a shock for me when I started playing it. How does a game based on a comic book franchise be not only good, but FUCKING Phenomenal when almost every other game is a load of crap? Arkham Asylum is a reward for Batman fans and probably also made non-believers fans of Batman as well. An amazing combat system. An amazing stealth system. An amazing blend of the 2. An amazing story. An amazing feel. Just all around amazing. And the Scarecrow parts? Boo. Fucking. Ya. 
The announcement of a sequel coming so soon is slightly off-putting, since its now obvious that the suits have reached this franchise but hell, Batman: AA has built some a good core, it can only get better. Hell, talking about this now makes me want to play this again.  

Final Thoughts

So yea, that's my list. Thoughts? Comments. I'll have another list up with the other awards.

Amazing look at the development of a game.

Now before anyone says it, yes, Its semi-Halo related. Yes, its been posted onto the General discussion board. No, I am not stupid.  Read the entire post.
I was searching up some stuff and came across a series of videos detailing the making of Halo 2, from the beginning right till the end. Bungie, many times, have said it was the most heart-breaking game they have ever made because of a lot of bad decisions along the way and they couldn't do what they had always wanted to do with it.  
I am not trying to promote Bungie, Halo 2 or Halo as a whole and I am well aware that a lot of people on Giant Bomb have a fairly negative view on the Halo series, but I feel for any gamer out there, and particularly those interested in the field of Game Development, this 6 Part series of videos show how much effort it takes to make video game in general and its worth the Hour or so to watch.  
After watching these videos, it made me think back at a lot of the games I've played and a lot of things flowed through my head. It made me appreciate even the shittiest games, the games which don't do too well but you know a lot of effort was put in. It made me look back at Bungie's games, some of the earlier COD games and made me realized that these guys may make great games but they suffer hell for it. 
So, if you're a fan of halo, Bungie or even if you hate them to death, I highly recommend watching the following videos in order. And come back in and discuss them and how you feel about what a developer goes through to make and ship a game, regardless of quality. And perhaps, at the end of it all, we will come out of it with greater appreciation of game development. 
The Making of Halo 2 - Part 1 
The Making of Halo 2 - Part 2
The Making of Halo 2 - Part 3 
The Making of Halo 2 - Part 4 
The Making of Halo 2 - Part 5 
The Making of Halo 2 - Part 6 
Remember, when you discuss this stuff, Keep it civil :)


Geoff Keighley thinks Halo: Reach is phenomenal.

Yea... I'm serious. The Spike TV VGA Awards is on 12/12 and as always, its more about the exclusive previews for next year's games than the actual awards. Geoff recently went on to Major's Minute, the podcast of Major Nelson (Xbox Live Bro for those who don't know) and said the following about Halo: Reach: 

 "At the VGAs, you'll actually go down onto the Planet Reach and see this game for the first time. It's all going to be in-game stuff, this is not CG, this is not live action. [...] You'll get the first glimpse at the world Reach, which I think is going to be phenomenal and I think is going to be the biggest game next year by far. Folks loved ODST and it was great, but you know, when people see the huge leap forward Bungie is taking with Reach, I don't know if you've seen it yet, but everyone I've talked to that seen it, has been on the team, is incredibly excited about this game. [...] It's going to be an epic piece, the guys at Bungie have done a phenomenal job, we are really proud to be partnered with them for this."    

He's pretty psyched :D And now, I am too. That ass! I was trying to keep my expectations in check!  
What do you people think? 
Link to the Podcast where this unfolds

Halo isn't getting milked!

Now, in light of ODST's announcement and its imminent release, people have been throwing this idea out a lot. And I must be dumb or something, because I just can't see it! How the hell is Halo being milked right now? Its been what? 8 years since Halo's entry into our lives and we've had 5 games. And I don't know, someone please enlighten me but what exactly is the definition of being milked?  
Because, if its just games of the same franchise being pumped out in short durations of time then everyone seems to be missing out the obvious culprits of Sonic, Mario and Call of Duty, the latter already having more games despite the franchise's later entry into the series.  
Is it just that Halo is big and hence people want to find problems with it? Its not as if these games have been bad. In fact, all the games thus far have been released to majority positivity and critical acclaim. 
It just makes me angry when I hear 'Halo is getting milked' when there are much more game franchises that actually are being milked.