Could a video game put the country in check?

David Soler

Girlfriends across the campus, have you bought enough Kleenex? In one week, your boyfriends are going to ditch you.

Professors, are you ready for a hit to your egos? In less than seven days your empty morning classes will be commonplace. Please be lenient.

Undergrads will have no choice but to surrender against the rival that’s hitting town Sept. 25. Scores of people will be forced into voluntary reclusion. He’s faceless. He’s green, and they call him the Master Chief.

For the uninitiated that know an iota of what I am talking about, the issue is simple. Halo 3 or a video game for second-class gamers — as all console users are compared to PCs ones — is being released next week. I still find myself bewildered, wondering how a gamepad-based First Person Shooter — FPS — appeals to so many compared to the supremacy of the mouse-controlled FPS on PCs. One of the plausible explanations is that PCs are still too expensive, and consoles are an acceptable consolation prize.

But if you take a closer look, overall console maintenance — each video game can cost $50, plus online gaming fees and accessories — can easily go beyond an acceptable $600 Dell desktop. Then, the alternate explanation is sloth. After all, everybody knows PCs’ superior graphics are the leading daddy in the video game world.

But anyway, the first Halo that appeared in 2001 already shattered selling records. Five months following the initial release, it sold one million units, propelling all console junkies to buy further Xboxes to play with it. Then in the winter of 2004, Halo 2 escaped from Bungies’ prison and wreaked havoc again: Massive lines of video game vampires in front of selling stores angered soap companies with a drop in hygiene-related products sales. But with Halo 2, $125 million was earned within its first 24 hours in the market, beating Captain Sparrow’s Dead Man’s Chest as the highest grossing release in entertainment history. I told you so, be ready for 9/25 when Halo 3 will hit the roads. This time we should expect a soar in divorce rates, a rise in unemployment and school failure and a parallel sky-rocket jump in obsessive-compulsive disorder drug prescriptions.

I could try to warn you against buying the game, pinpointing, for example, that the main character is just a refried beans copy of DOOM’s space marine reconverted into a “mutant soldier” searching for some ark in order to increase sales. Or that its graphics, even for a seventh-generation console, compared with Quake 4 will make you laugh. But I know my words are futile against a Halo 3-infected brain. No matter how we warn them, these cavern-prone Homo sapiens are already conditioned to buying it.

It’s sad, but in one week, girlfriends and professors alike — myself included — can just wait and listen to Fort Minor’s insight singing: a 100 percent reason to remember the name.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].