D0411 T1957 Y2007Secret Society

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.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Spartans 6

  1. #LINK D0417 T0012
    Dweezle wrote...

    Good stuff Deej and Dem.

    I too have tried to explain my internet obsessions with people before. Just this past summer during some down time at a cottage in Ireland, I explained what a LAN party was to my grandparents and told them about the ‘clan’ I was in, just realizing that that word holds a different meaning to people outside the Haloverse.

    Actually I was just talking to Jobyn from the Panic Attacks the other day about how funny it would be if he made a quick reference to Halo and one of his student picked up on it, talked to him after class, and they ended up being in his clan. I picked up on a comic book reference my biology professor made and mentioned it to him after class one time. His response? “Have you seen the Ultimate Avengers movie that came out yet? You haven’t? Well I will burn you a copy when I get home and bring it in for you.” You can imagine my face when my lecture teacher [of a class of about 40 or 50 students] told me he would burn me a copy of a comic book movie for me to watch. It makes the world seem smaller.

  2. #LINK D0417 T0013
    Utopia wrote...

    So this is a blog…eh?

    Nice entry, here. No matter who is behind the gold visor, we come together to deal lead to those who should try to steal our virtual flag; attempt to arm and detonate munitions in our fictional base; kill us before we can kill them. When we walk the streets, we typically keep our Spartan avatar hidden, but when just a glimmer of a connection with a stranger happens, we turn into old war buddies. Recalling the blood soaked sand of Zanzibar in a valiant beach-head flag defense. Or a brilliant out smarting of a superior enemy, leading to clutch bomb-arm. When a video game can connect strangers both in its own virtual world, and the real world, that, sir, is simply remarkable. Bungie and the employees there are the gears behind the new-found acceptance of video games to the general public, and for that, they should be dipped in bronze and placed in a prominent location for all to view upon in awe and wonderment.

  3. #LINK D0417 T0451
    TTL Demag0gue wrote...

    I tried to explain – but I didn’t try hard. My own wife doesn’t understand this obsession, so I realize that few who aren’t already part of this brotherhood will even be able to sympathize.

  4. #LINK D0417 T0919
    th3 Midnighter wrote...

    Nice write up Deej. Ive met ppl through websites, at tourneys, and at LAN parties who have become the closest of friends simply because we all share that unified love for halo. Only another Halo fanatic could understand our passion for the game.

  5. #LINK D0417 T0933
    Stuicide wrote...

    I’ve tried to explain it before to loved ones, but they just don’t get it. Until it’s sudden death in a CTF game and you’ve got no shields while you’re holding the flag and someone jumps in the way of the assailant to sacrifice his life for you… You just won’t get it.

    When I run into Spartans on the street, or I am identified without my armor on, I only respond by saying I casually play a bit. You never want to get cocky in case that guy happens to be a 35 in Team Slayer.

  6. #LINK D0417 T1318
    Mister Velcro wrote...

    Great topic.

    I would agree that one of the the most rewarding aspects of Halo 2 are the friendships (real-life and online) one develops over years of playing the game together. Meeting people at LANs (especially clan mates) always rocks.

    Of course, blurring the two worlds can get awkward, too. There was the time my overbearing boss learned that I played Halo, and insisted I play an online game against his two mouthy step sons to “see who who was better.” I played the match, but learned to keep my Halo references in real-life to a minimum.

commenting closed for this article

Kerri SharpColette Bennett