simple coat can never prepare you for the rush felt when stepping into freezing
weather. Your skin begins to tingle as your blood vessels constrict to keep your
body from losing precious heat. Eventually shivering sets in as your metabolic
rate climbs to generate lost heat.This is what I experienced stepping out of
Arizona and into Connecticut on Friday, January 30, 2004. The process of
traveling from a comfortable 70F into 20F weather is something that most people
would not undergo, unless for skiing or business related travel. However, I did
it in order to visit the home of HBO (halo.bungie.org) and to show my support in
friendship, loyalty and gaming.
For the community, the invitation was posted months prior to the event.
This time I chose to simply watch from the sidelines, since I was coming off of
honeymoon. The cost, time away from work and my family would have to
wait until E3-2004. As the messages went back and forth and the anticipation
increased so did my frustration regarding the whole thing. My wife began to see
this and late on Thursday night told me to call Claude and find out if there was
room for me. This eventually led to a ticket purchase, auto rental, and plane boarding ten hours later followed by a 2758 mile ride from comfort to cold.
In the days that followed my return I have been met with a mixed reaction from
as well as those in my home community. This mix has filled the
spectrum from disbelief that I wasted my money all the way to excitement
regarding this event and my flexible schedule.
Lucky for me my job situation allows me to work from anywhere in the world, as
long as I have an Internet connection -- the same is not true for most involved.
As a matter of fact, no one spent two days away from work in order to attend
this event; however, this does not make me special by any means. We had people
that flew in from Washington, California and folks that drove in from Georgia
and Pennsylvania as well as many other states.
Why someone would take four days out of their life, travel across the United States to attend something hosted by an individual (not a company) is beyond most to comprehend. I wish I had a boilerplate response as to why I did it, however I do not.
First in my decision was the friendship that I have built with Claude (Louis Wu
to the HBO residents) and the others who run this amazing community. Although I
have been corresponding with him for only three years, and have only met him
once (E3-2003), Claude and the others are friends. Almost on a daily basis we
exchange information in both public and private forums, and occasionally there
is a phone call. Letters are mailed, packages exchanged and photos taken -- as
though we were next door neighbors or relatives.
This relationship started in early 2001, when I became aware of the bungie.org
community and started consuming the data being shared. At that time, Matt Soell
was doing an often difficult job of piquing the interest of gamers with a
constant feed of halo related data. He normally left the consumption and
information creation up to those with interest. What he did not provide was
discussed, often beyond absurdity. The community breathed, it grew, it had
emotions and it had growing pains. The halo.bungie.org community was a living,
viable place for those starving for information to come and partake in a modicum
As time dragged on, Halo was released and became a staple in every gamer's diet.
Awards racked up, and the halo.bungie.org community grew by leaps and bounds.
Through several conversations with Claude, it became apparent that he needed a
programmer to help out -- so I jumped in. My first task was to create the
framework for the Tips area, this included population and monitoring of incoming
items. What followed were forum administration as well as other tasks as my help
My time was consumed and the friendships I enjoyed flourished.
The information that comes out of Bungie Studios and the relationship they have
with the community leaders at bungie.org, has helped to develop a very large and
loyal fan base. Loyalty is another contributing factor to my last minute trip.
When you use the same peanut butter, buy gas at the same station, or watch the
same television shows, you are showing loyalty to products and businesses.
My loyalty lies with bungie.org and Bungie Studios
products and those involved
in both. This feeling of devotion, and sometimes affection, does not only exist
when I am sitting in front of my Xbox - it does indeed carry over into the real
world. These people are my brothers and sisters. Those I choose to interact
with, those I choose to learn with, those I choose to game with.
Now, if you made it this far, you may be wondering just what happened in
Connecticut? If I have done a poor job of explaining myself thus far, then let
me bring up the obvious reason for my cross-country trek - gaming. Those in
attendance are some of the best in the country when playing Halo on the Xbox. We
had over forty people of varying ages and experience levels.
Am I good at Halo? Does it matter that I ended a few games last, as well as a
few games in the middle and some near the top? Does it matter that I wasn't even
in the top ten players in attendance? Absolutely not! I came to play games; I
did not come to win games.
From my arrival at Claude's house at 5 p.m. on Friday, until I left for the
airport on Monday at noon, we gamed. Yes there
were breaks for food. Yes, there
were breaks for coffee. And occasionally, we even slept a few hours, won a few
prizes, and were involved in interviews and talks ran by Film Oasis, a filming
studio. Film Oasis was there shooting a documentary related to Halo, Halo2, Bungie and their community - so we were the natural choice with this event being
the pinnacle of community-based gaming.
I could even go into the fact that we had over twelve Xbox systems setup,
sharing a network, with around the clock gaming goodness. When everyone finally
arrived we had four projector systems, two hacked Xboxes, six televisions and
tons of people. This was all wrapped in companionship, discussions, coffee,
food, and snow. The bacon I leave for our Halo2 gathering.