My Xbox

Reality Held in Suspense


What's one way a game really gets your attention? Aside from the obvious (eye-popping graphics, great gameplay, tons of eye candy, cool sounds, rocking tunes, fun factor, etc.), there's something else, and it's the result of dozens of details and seemingly unrelated features: the suspension of disbelief.

Anyone creating a story works hard to develop something so good that disbelief is suspended for the time you're within the world of that story. That suspension provides the audience with a sense of "reality" within the fictional world of the game/movie/book. Countless little details all work together to help create that world into something both interesting and believable.

Halo® creates a reality within a fiction, and it's compelling. The story, the physics, the weapons, and A.I. all retain enough of a sense of realism to really draw you into the world that game developer Bungie creates.

This extends to gameplay: for example, Master Chief can carry only two weapons at a time. This simple limitation is believable (I can't remember the last time I saw a soldier of mere human lineage carrying multiple assault rifles, rocket launchers, and pistols. Those things are heavy!); it also forces you to think about what weapons you're going to carry. I was shocked the first time one of the Marines lost his cool and started unloading his assault rifle into an already defeated enemy while screaming at the top of his lungs. I couldn't really blame the guy. The A.I. has personality, and makes sense. Some creatures get frightened and run away, while others seem to think you are a mere nuisance and keep on charging, bent on flattening you like an insect.

Any game that makes you think about how you're going to proceed, and more importantly, to survive, is doing a good job of drawing you into its world.

Yes, Halo has amazing graphics, great sound and music, good gameplay and story, but most importantly it has a feeling of being there. You become the Master Chief. Even though you know better, you duck and cover when a plasma grenade goes whistling by your head.


Article by Carlson

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