Posts Tagged ‘ Halo 3 ’

My Brother And Me

Outside games journalism itself, the press often gives video games a hard time.  While this is a sweeping statement, you only have to look to figures like Mary Whitehouse, Jack Thompson and even other vocal opponents such as Julia Boseman or Hillary Clinton for proof.

Now, most gamers I know wouldn’t try arguing games are without issues or faults – far from it.  Most would implore very particular treatment of young gamers, for example, and few would dispute the fact that, like all things, games are a hobby best suited for moderate consumption.  However, this is a long and complex discussion that has been raised before, and I am not about to wade into the quagmire today, especially without considerably more research.

The point of this article is simple: to underline my belief that there are very valid and very personal reasons why games can be a good thing.  In my case, it’s my brother.

Although similar in age (we’re just 18 months apart), my brother and I are very different people with very different interests.  Fortunately for us, being brothers and all, we have the same parents.  This means we shared the same upbringing, and have – over time – come to share many values.  Growing up, despite all the tomfoolery, squabbling and enthusiastically destructive play in which we indulged, we remained quite close.  Sure, there were some wobbly moments in the teenage years when I didn’t like my brother (or anyone else) very much, but time has mellowed us both.

However, my brother likes the UFC and MMA, boxing, cars, and Formula 1, none of which hold much interest for me.  I respect what he likes, except when I don’t, or see an opportunity to take the piss, but his interests are not my interests.  The exception is gaming.

Keith Jardine knocks Rampage Jacksons Mouthpiece flying

Keith Jardine knocks Rampage Jacksons Mouthpiece flying

We grew up playing games together – both video and “real” ones.  Everything from Roland in Time on the Amstrad CPC 464 to Goldeneye on the N64, we played it.  Perhaps nostalgia has helped cement the bond (we both remember going to look at the £1.99 Amstrad tapes under the glass counter in our local toy shop), but we still love games now.  It’s a common interest for us, and we will chat for hours about the upcoming releases, the good times on Gears of War or Skate 2, and even what idiots we encountered in the latest round of online gaming.  He knows the same people I do online, we like the same games (shooters, mainly), and he is of a similar standard.

My brother, Tommy, is good company anyway, and we’ve shared many a magical moment online.  I will never forget the time Tommy pulled up next to me in a Warthog and yelled at me to “get in the van.”  You’d never guess he was involved in the building trade at the time…  Okay, so he’s not quite as devoted to gaming as I am – he tends to wander in and out of remembering to pay his broadband bill – but that makes no difference to either of us.

"Get in the van" - Tommy

"Get in the van" - Tommy

In short, gaming has brought us closer – we always got on well, but over the last few years my brother has fast become one of my best friends.   I have faith that many other such stories exist out there – perhaps a couple who met through gaming, or a father and son playing together; maybe a family where video games have provided an outlet for other problems.

This is all a far cry from the thoroughly negative press that gaming often gets, and proves that video games can be a positive influence. As someone else once said, “virtual spaces, real relationships.”

Some come on, what do games mean to you and yours?



I am ill with a sodding cold right now so I have been spending the week playing ODST and neglecting my writing duties. It’s a fun little game, campaign is far from ground breaking but I have enjoyed the tale. Buck, Nathan Fillion’s character, is my personal favourite. He has some classic lines like “BAM! Said the Lady”, “Dropped a Brain” and the post splatter “Were going to need your insurance details”. Its nice to play as some charasmatic characters as opposed to the rather one dimensional Master Chief (still love you big guy).

I completed the campaign on Normal as I’m going to do it on legendary difficulty with my good friend and team mate Damian. We might get around to it soon if we can just tear ourselves away from the brilliant Firefight mode. If your a fan of multikills and killing sprees then this is the game for you. Every time I get a killtrocity with one grenade it makes me grin like a geek at ComiCon. My next task is working through the Vidmaster achievements and getting closer to donning the shiny Recon armour. The first achievement on my list was Vidmaster Classic, complete a level on Legendary with no shots fired and no grenades thrown. Sounds really tough but thanks to this handy video from CyberlineFilms I breezed through it in no time at all

Hope the video helps. Should be feeling better next week so check back for more thoughts on ODST.

Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack Videos

If your anything like me then you have been devouring every little bit of information about the upcoming Halo 3 Mythic maps. Things have been rather quiet since Bungie showed us the first pictures in July. But now with ODST out soon there has been an increase in updates. I came across this little video on youtube showcasing alot of footage from different websites. Ignore some of the dodgy gameplay if you can and just have a look at these exciting new maps.

So? What do you think?

If you recognized the first map thats because its a remake of the ever popular Halo 2 map Midship. Should be a great little map to play FFA and Slayer. The map thats got me very excited is Longshore. The early screenshots showed some promise for a good big team map and this video proves me right.

I follow quite a few Bungie staff members on Twitter and one of their artists, enfu posted this..

I worked closely with Steve Cotton, Matt Bennier, & Lars Bakken on Longshore. It’s a bigger map than you think.

Hopefully all this news will have got your somwhere near as excited as me.

Halo Mythic Maps Review

My names Steven and…well, Im addicted to Halo3. I feel better now, admitting it is the first step, right? I’ve been playing Halo3 since the day it came out and safe to say I was a complete n00b. My Halo2 LAN days had not prepared me well for the harsh world that is Matchmaking. After 523 days, 5 accounts, lots of lag and 42 ranks later I consider myself good enough to handle most situations. Introductions out of the way, lets get down to the good stuff.

I’ve been awaiting these maps for what seems like years now. I sat waiting for the Bungie Updates with hopes of screenshots and information. Friday morning came and I was laying in bed waiting for the sweet thud of a package. When it came I ripped open the packaging and threw Halo wars aside, I’ll get to that next week. I could not get straight into the action as I had to download the maps and that aint no easy feat with my connection. 45 minutes later I was ready to venture off into the unknown.

Ill start with Assembly, its a small 4 vs 4 map that has been compared to Midship from Halo 2 and Wizard from Halo:CE. This map is a marmite map, one game I love it then the next I hate it, or maybe thats just Halo in general?
The map is symetrical apart from a tower on one side that holds the rocket launcher spawn. I find it hard to utilise this as the map is small and open, I end up getting killed before I can adjust and get a shot off. You get 4 rockets to use but I feel that 2 would be more balanced for the map.


There is a round room located in the centre of the map and on the second floor you will find the active camo hidden in the grav jump. You can drop through a hole into a room where the Gravity Hammer spawns. The gravity hammer is a great weapon on this map as your always bumping elbows with the other team. Just dont swing it as you pick it up or you will spray yourself across the exploding walls. At the moment this is my least favourite of the maps but Im not saying its bad, its just not as amazing as the rest.

Orbital is quickly becoming one of my favourite Halo3 maps. Its one of the hardest to describe, its a bit like Rats Nest..or something…just look at it.


There’s two power weapons on this map, rockets and sniper. The sniper is in the lower section and is quite risky to try and grab off the spawn. Its a great map for sniping as theres long corridors looking into the spawns, Ive already had some great kills with it on this map. The rockets spawn on the walkway that looks down onto the lower U. Great spawn for them as you can pick up some great kills if your opponents are below pushing for snipes, just make sure you dont miss because you only get 2 shots.

Be careful if you want to jump down into the action as theres a big drop over the parapet, it looks an easy jump but its taken my life FAR too many times already. Objective games are great on this map, quite hard but it makes for some close drawn out games. Theres a little passageway at each base that you can use to creep into their spawn. When and if you get the flag there’s mongoose’s (Mongeese?) that are great fun to drive down these narrow corridors and you can get some funny splatters on the stairs as well. There are Ghosts on the map in Forge so perhaps they will feature when the map is in a 5 vs 5 playlist?

Now for Bungies most impressive map, the multi tasking machine that is Sandbox. In its bare matchmaking form its a very basic map but a very good one at that. Great for BR starts and vehicular carnage, I should go pro with my crazy Chopper skills. But Forge is where this map comes into its own. Like foundry you can change everything that you can see but unlike foundry you have no walls to restrict you.
But don’t think you can wander anywhere you want as Bungie have upgraded the Gaurdians to have giant laser towers that will destroy you within seconds of leaving the map.


The possibilities are endless! There are three layers you can edit in Forge; the underground cavern, the sandbox and the sky layer. Im very excited about the last one, think of the Gaurdian-esque wonders that will be coming our way in the near future. Full of hazardous jumps and crazy shortcuts. I would not be surprised if Bungie made a Sandbox playlist containing the cream of the communities work. Bungie have already included 2 different variations, the new griffball arena and an AMAZING (sorry for caps but they had to be used) SWAT map called Tundra.

These are some of the best maps Bungie have released. Definitely worth downloading and even buying the surprisingly good Halo Wars LE for. If you hate the maps then at least you will have a kick ass UNSC coaster!

Now stop reading and go play some God damned Halo!

Written By Steven Wright.