Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm getting to hate Halo 2 and Xbox Live

I'm getting to hate Halo 2 and Xbox Live.

Last night started out well. Me and 1.5 acting friends got together and fired up the projector and watched new high-rez and high-def game trailers for WarDevil (from Digi-Guys Studio), Project Offset (Offset; Somebody fund this game!), Huxley (Webzen; freakin' awesome looking MMOFPS with style and meat), Painkiller (People Can Fly, DreamCatcher Interactive), Ninety-Nine Nights (2015), Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix), Dead Rising (Capcom), Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit (Quantic Dream, Atari), Gears of War (Epic Games, Microsoft Game Studios), and King Kong (Ubisoft Entertainment).

Then the three of us played co-op through a level of X-Men Legends.

We watched an episode of Thundercats, freakin' finally released on DVD (and, though I hassle my friend for running out to buy it instantly, I did get goosebumps while watching the opening episode).

Then came what should have been the crowning event for the evening. Mutliplayer Halo 2 on Xbox Live.

Since I had guests, the only options for play are "Rumble Pit" and "Team Training" -- unranked play for people without dedicated Xbox Live accounts -- so we started with some team work, with me hosting the game.

When we started out, and after my perfunctory, "Whassup, fellas?", Dude #1 asks, "Hey, Hitachi" (which is my Live Gamer Tag handle) "What size TV are you guys playing on?"

(Stupid question, because someone asking that probably wants to brag.)

Me: (Answering honestly) 107 inches.

Dude #1: **Expletive** liar!

Me: No, seriously. It's a projector,
and the screen's 107" diagonal.

We get to playing, and then someone else chimes in with a question for Dude #1:

Dude #2: Why do you ask? What size are you playing on?

Dude #1 (Sheepishly) 52-inch plasma.

Me: (Sincerely) Man, that's awesome! Those things are so nice -- great picture, and that's a really huge plasma!

Then they ejected me from the game (which booted all of us). Just like that. For screen-size envy.

And things just went downhill from there.

We'd play games, and people would drop off because they were losing (it's Rumble Pit and Team Training your twits! That means the games don't affect your ranking!).

We'd play games, and as part of the random set up, one of my friends would be paired with me, and the other ended up on the other team. He wasn't doing well, so they'd boot him (which booted all of us).

We'd play Rumble Pit, where it's a free-for-all, and even though my two friends and I would treat that honestly and beat on each other and other players, other yahoos with one or two guests were teaming up on people to get better scores (yes, that's called cheating).

But, the worst part is the brainless chatter. The profanity. The inanity.

There are these moments at the start of each game where the players are hanging out as the game sets up, and those of us with headset can chat. I use the time to try to meet people, find out where they're playing from, etc.

But more often than not, my intros of "Whassup, fellas?" and "How's everyone doing tonight?" were answered with no response, mockery, "That's a stupid handle", and even "F*** you." Seriously.

One such interaction:

I****edYourMom: I****edYourMom.

Dude #3: Huh?

I****edYourMom: I****edYourMom.

Dude #3: What?

I****edYourMom: I****edYourMom. Then I pooped in her mouth.

So I ended the game before it started. I probably did that for 4 or 5 games, because of crass, foul-mouthed louses.

And that's on top of the fact that after downloading the required Xbox Live patch and free maps, I get constant "you failed to load the map" errors.

Let's be perfectly clear: I didn't freakin' fail to do anything -- the Xbox did. Halo 2 did. Xbox Live did. I didn't. And no amount of deleting everything else on my Xbox to reinstall (which makes me oh-so-happy) fixes the problem.

So after my friends left (after finally a couple of fun competitive matches in a row), I watched a couple of the high-def, Xbox 360 trailers again to cleanse my palette.

Trailers for the offline games.

I'm hoping Xbox 360 and the relaunch of Xbox Live, creating the "Casual Gamers Zone", fixes a lot of this gargage. It's not fun right now.

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