Gather ‘round the ‘Tied the Leader’ mailbag, ye gamer. This week, we are entreated into a look inside the mind of a gamer named Demagogue. Actually, that’s TTL Demagogue to you. The poor bastard took the plunge this week and donned his gamertag area-code, thus opening himself up to further scorn and ridicule from rabble-rousers in the pre-game lobby.
“Dem” [to me] is a content manager for our clansite. He enables the telling of the story of the Gunslingers – and the brave gamers who challenge them. Throughts have been rolling around in Dem’s head this week – thoughts about the secret lives we lead away from the controller.
Take it away, Dem…
There are others – an underground brotherhood of Spartans. They are rarely seen outside of the corridors of Lockout or the sandy beaches of Zanzibar. It’s rare to see one that’s not suited up in his Mjolnir armor or carrying a battle rife in his hands with a secondary strapped to his back.
Recently, I fell in behind a couple of students as I was walking across campus to my office. What caught my attention and pricked my interest were two words: “battle rifle.” A little discreet eavesdropping revealed that, sure enough, these two were off-duty Spartans who had simply left their gear back in the barracks. In their off time, they were discussing some of the finer points of war. They soon peeled off toward one of the academic buildings, but for that brief moment, though they themselves didn’t know it, we were brothers-at-arms.
Of course, there are still the uninitiated. A gentleman came to my house last night to tune my piano, and while he worked, I set about bringing my new Xbox 360 online. Somewhere during the process, he asked me what games I’d bought. Not immediately understanding, I simply gave him a blank look; so he repeated the question, this time gesturing toward the 360. Still a little confused, I replied that I hadn’t bought any games. His response to that revealed the depth of my obsession – “What are going to do with it, then – just look at it?”
How do you explain the camaraderie of a Halo clan? How do you explain that the enjoyment of a 360 comes primarily from the imminent Halo 3 Beta and the release of Halo 3 in the fall? How do you explain a community of gamers that are linked based on this console? I tried, but his blank look in response demonstrated the uniqueness of those of us whole call ourselves Spartans, who suit up on a regular basis to play at war, who do so, yes, for love of the game, but more importantly, who do so for community with like-minded gamers in search of a Good Game.
Dem! You fool! You broke the first TWO rules of Fight Club. Of course you cannot explain these things. No one can be told what the matrix is. You must experience it for yourself. This gamerblogger has tried on a few occasions to communicate the specter of the clan system for Halo 2 and the endless roleplay if affords us as an added layer of the gaming experience.
My father tried to recant the story in mixed company once, saying: “Hey Deej, tell your brother-in-law about that thing you do when you shoot people in those Internet chat rooms…” Imagine my back peddling, as I tried to deconstruct my newfound perception as a Internet-bound serial-killing predator.
You do pass Spartans on the path. It’s hard not to clap them on the back and ask them for their gamertag. “Me too!” “I play Halo.” “You in a Clan?”
You pass a dude on your block who is wearing a Bungie hoodie. You know his girlfriend doesn’t want gamers coming out of the woodwork on the one occasion in which she was able to wrest him away from the console.
You watch a kid in the lobby of your haircut place shooting fish in a tank with an imagined plasma pistol, his chubby little hand trembling as the mimicked hum reaches a crescendo. You can imagine the glow of green plasma at the tip of his finger, as well as the shock from his parents if you were to engage him in conversation.
You stop at a red light behind the wheel of a rented car in a strange town, and someone pulls up next to blaring some Marty O’Donnell. You can’t run him off the road and collect a splatter medal off his ass. That is frowned upon.