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Marking three years

I experienced something this past week that I've never had the privilege of experiencing before. In all my years growing up on the Atari, Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox video game systems, I have never beaten a game from start to finish.

Until July 4, 2006, that is.

I recently bought a used Xbox from my best friend. He won it in a contest and never used it because the sports games he plays are better on the Playstation. I wanted to purchase it used so that none of my money would further line the pockets of Bill Gates and Microsoft who own the Xbox brand.

Let it be noted here that since the demise of the original Nintendo system in the 1990s, I have been several years behind the curve in video games. I never got the newest system until it had already been replaced by an even newer one. It's cheaper that way.

So when Xbox 360 came out this past Christmas, I began looking for an original Xbox on which to play Halo. Halo is a futuristic game where you can fight off hordes of aliens attempting to wipe humanity from the galaxy.

Or you can try to hunt down your friends in the multi-player mode. That's where I learned to love the game. I died many times playing against my friends while attempting to learn the game they had already memorized.

Once I got my used Xbox, I started the monumental task of defeating the alien forces on the first of 10 long levels. And last week I escaped the clutches of the Covenant (scary aliens) and The Flood (scarier aliens) and flew off of Halo (an alien-made planet shaped like a ring) seconds before it exploded.

The game is four years old now. The sequel has been out for some time with a third on the way. Also, the Halo movie is scheduled for release in summer of 2008. But I'm just now getting around to defeating the first one and my first video game ever.

Why couldn't I have beaten one before? For several reasons, actually.

It wasn't for a lack of determination. When I was younger, I would play the games for a long time. After trying to defeat the last villain in Super Mario Brothers, I would realize I had been at it for five hours straight without moving. I would then promptly cut the machine off and go do something - anything - outside.

This recent victory also comes after the invention of memory cards. Now video game campaigns can be saved and picked up where left off. Brilliant invention. Years ago, if I quit Q-Bert or Pac-Man before the end, I had to start all over. And who wants to do that?

Now that I know I can beat a game and that it's not just me, I may actually try this again. Anyone up for a little Halo 2?

Web posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006

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