Literary Case Study: Halo

There are many things that I don’t like about Microsoft, but gameplay for Halo is a sort of bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s an exceptionally fun game to play, but the opposite half of the case is that the plot is incomprehensible.

Note that the plot is there, though. It’s just that for some odd reason, be it writing talent or (more synically) an attempt to get people to buy the books and other memorabilia, the events in the plot are very difficult to pinpoint.

I can’t exactly fault them for this, my greatest weakness as a writing is having trouble expressing important points, after all. However, that just means that there is plenty of room to learn what NOT to do.

The rule for avoiding unclear plots is more of a guide-line again; dedicate at least a paragraph to explaining each concept and plot-point to your reader. This sounds simple, but it easier said than done if vagueness is one of your writing vices, but it at least gets you to start thinking in the right direction for making yourself be understood. Conciously trying to explain every facet of what’s going on helps keep you from assuming that everyone else knows what you know. However, know that 50% of the work is going to be done in the editing phase.

When editing, always keep the five ‘w’s plus ‘how’ in mind. Why is the sword talking? Where is the pedestal again? Is this a flash-back, or happening right now? etc. Be sure to replace every generic word with a specific one wherever possible. Bring in proof readers, too, and ask them to put a high emphasis on the clarity. Practise these, and you’ll be on the way to crystal clear scenes and plots.

Be Glad I’m not Evil

One day, I was walking through Walmart when I came across a peculiar advertisement. It was for gum, so naturally, the model was holding a stick (yes, of gum) in her hand. However, I couldn’t help but notice that she was also carrying a yoga mat in the other arm.

That led me to wonder what message the advertisers were trying to convey. That’s when a devilish voice bubble from the bowels of my heart.

And I said, “No, I shall never do such wicked a thing!”

The voice bubbled back, “Don’t be so idealistic, join me on the dark side. People aren’t to swallow the gum anyways.”

“Begone!” I cried to the foul side of my heart while making the sign of the cross. The personal demon then bellowed loudly before finally desintegrating into the form of a sulphorous burp. For reasons I have yet to understand, I was kindly asked to leave the store. I chose not to fight and left. After all, I’d just done by good deed for the day and saved everyone from an evil me.

Xbox Battle

Like many a person who got their first Xbox over the season, two of my family members got some controllers so they could join in with me in Halo multiplayer games. Before I go any further, understand that my dad is a sysadmin, so the trio of me, my brother, and father wasn’t an entire drove of lobotomized cavemen.

The first step we took was to turn on the controllers and add them as guests, natural right? Nope, we entered co-op play with only one controller working. Turns out that joining the game involves a very particular and coordinated button mashing that ends with the “A” button. We do this, but only two people are in. So we back out, try again and wind up having two people in, but a different two. The third try yielded similar results, but instead with me, the owner of the account kicked out.

Later, my brother looked up online how to do multiplayer, which could only be done with two people, despite the ability to add multiple guests. In order to get any more people on involved a ritual of selling one’s soul to the devil and paying a 40% tax to the government. None of us wanted to pay a nickel to Uncle Sam, so we settled for two people playing.