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Starting the Fight: My first foray into the world of Halo

I have never played a Halo game before.

Since the release of Halo Combat Evolved, I've had very little interest in the series. Something about it always seemed.. dry, dull, repetitive.

That said, something about the cover of Halo 4 really resonated with me.

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I don't know what it is exactly. Technically I've been seeing shots of the Master Chief for a good decade now, and really this shot isn't that different.

But I dug it, really. Having recently finished setting up a proper den in my basement with the XBOX 360 set up, I'm hoping to spend more time playing games down there while using an exercise bike (the laziest way possible of getting in shape, I think). And now I want to dive into the world of Halo. I figure killing aliens shouldn't be too taxing while pedalling away.

Like Vinny, I tend to really immerse myself in the worlds of the games I'm playing. Somewhat like method acting, except without the cosplay. Er, let me back this up a bit. So even though Halo 4 is the start of a new trilogy, I've decided to start instead at the very beginning: Halo Combat Evolved. Well, not the original XBOX game. I've decided instead to start with last year's Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary. The 343 industries "update" to the original game. I've heard the game is a bit of a mixed bag by today's standards, with some questionable design decisions that might show its age, but honestly I'm quite excited to finally play this title.

I've also picked up Halo: The Fall of Reach. A novel prequel to the original game, which I'm told deviates a bit from the actual prequel game Halo Reach, but is still worth a read. Over the next month or so I hope get through both Fall of Reach and Combat Evolved Anniversary.

I'll be posting my thoughts about the game, and book, in subsequent posts, as I haven't started either yet.

I haven't figured out the exact order in which I'll progress with the games and books, but for the most part I plan on simply consuming this stuff in the order in which they were released, allowing for some exceptions (such as the "Anniversary" edition of Halo 1).

I'm a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of novels in the Halo universe, so for my wallet's sake, I'll probably omit some titles. I'll figure this out as I progress, though no point being worried about it for the time being.

I'm also a little worried about diving into Halo 2. Visually it'll be the lowest point, since it's the only non-HD game in the list (I don't have a PC so playing the XBOX version on my 360 is the only option), and also because I've heard it just isn't a fantastic game. My plan is to play Halo 1 and 2 on "easy" difficulty, out of fear of being completely alienated by the dated edges. Halo 3 onwards I plan on playing on their default difficulty.

I've also noticed that all the Halo titles have split screen co-op, which seems like an awesome addition. My girlfriend and I are currently playing Borderlands 2 on the PS3, but maybe once that's done I could convince her to play some Halo with me. We'll see...

I think I'll leave it at that for now. Looking forward to diving into this series. I won't actually start playing Halo 1 until I get the exercise bike set up, but plan on starting the book asap.