UConn class dives head first into “Halo” fever
Editor's note: Halo images can be found here: http://www.halo3.com/
What has ancient Greece have to do with Master Chief battling off alien invaders in “Halo?”
Roger Travis, an associate professor of modern and classical languages at the University of Connecticut, will tell you quite a bit, challenging those who say video games as a waste of time.
The final installment of the popular video game series — “Halo 3” — was to be released at midnight Monday.
Travis first heard of the game in 2004 while listening to National Public Radio.
“It sounded intriguing,” said the 38-year-old professor who had done some gaming in college, but had given it up in graduate school.
After graduating, figuring he had more time on his hands, Travis bought an X-Box, joining millions of fans.
“I was instantly blown away with how sophisticated the story telling had become,” Travis said.
Last year, he wrote a paper about the high art of video gaming after a curious colleague heard him talk about gaming as high art.
“The paper is about the reawakening of the epic tradition, and is also in part defense of video games and video gamers,” Travis said. “On the whole, video games like ‘Halo’ reinforce positive cultural ways. It’s a good thing to save civilization. It’s the same thing Aenis is doing in the Aenid.”
In fact, he sees the way in which bards once told epics such the Aenid could have been interactive experiences, much like video gaming is today.
The popularity of “Halo” can be mostly attribuetd to online play, and with “Halo 3,” gamers can get together online and play as a group against the game, a much-anticipated feature.
Carl Versteeg, a student at Eastern Connecticut State University who held a semi-pro status as a “Halo” gamer, has heard of Travis’ theories and called them “interesting.”
Undoubtedly, he would enjoy one of Travis’s classes, in which the professor plays some X-Box to illustrate his point.
“You get to be the hero and save the world,” Versteeg said of “Halo,” of which everyone is waiting to see how it will end — like any good story.
“The main appeal to a lot of people is how the Master Chief will drive off the Covenant people,” said Versteeg. “How do you save the world when there’s an alien invasion? People will want to know that, and people will want to play through that.”
Reach Sharma Howard of The Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin at 860-425-4235 or email@example.com
At a glance
What is “Halo?” A look at the story behind “Halo 3:”
The story is now in the year 2552. Humanity is at war with the Covenant, an alien civilization that follows a narrow-minded belief that they will follow a Great Journey. In the Great Journey, the Covenant fired weapons — called halos — throughout space.
A small band of soldiers destroyed one of the halos. The band was led by Master Chief, the lead character and first-player handle in the game.
A Covenant civil war broke out after a battle at a second halo. A group of the Covenant — the Elites — became allies with humanity.
Meanwhile, the halos have been found to be detonators that will eradicate all life in the galaxy. They were developed as defense mechanisms to the Flood, an all-consuming parasite.
The second halo has been activated, which makes it and the other halos ready to explode. Most of Earth’s life has been destroyed. Master Chief is the only real hope to save what humanity remains. He must keep the halos at bay, defeat the Covenant and stop the Flood. And you are Master Chief.