Halo: Reach (video game)
Overview: Halo is set in the year 2552, on the planet Reach. An alien race called the covenant has invaded. Players control an elite squad of soldiers as they battle the Covenant and a third race of Zombie-like creatures known as the flood. This game is considered a prequel to the other Halo games, on which there exist Halos that are designed to wipe out all existence. In other games, you are learning more about Halos and subsequently destroying them. In other Halo games, you are the master chief, a cyborg elite soldier. In Halo Reach, you are a regular human soldier on a highly trained operative team.
There are several ways to play Halo: Reach. The first is the campaign, which is single player or local multiplayer, meaning that you have to be in the same room as the other player. The other is the online multiplayer version, which in addition to a copy of the game requires an Xbox Live subscription. In this version, you are playing against other players. The most common way to play is the Slayer game, where you are on teams and try to be the first team to reach 50 kills. Rounds must be over in 12 minutes, but sometimes can be over in a matter of minutes. There are also games called Capture the Flag, Headhunter, Generator Defense, Firefight, and Stockpile.
Critical Evaluation: This is a very popular game, especially among teens and new adults. People tend to play this game obsessively and get really good at it. That makes it a hard game to play as a beginner, which I most certainly am. I am most familiar with the Slayer game you can play within Reach, which is fast and easy to understand. The campaigns are more story based than the other methods of playing, and contain more cinematic elements involved that convey the storyline. I must confess that I was a little confused about the plot of the campaign, but it would probably make more sense if I knew more about the other versions of Halo. Since this is a more individual version of the game, it does provide you with more opportunities to practice the game on your own before attempting to square off against other players.
For me, this first person shooter type of game raises a couple of issues. I wouldn’t say that I think video games like this make people more violent, because I think that would lend credence to the idea that books with controversial elements can make you more likely to do those controversial things. However, I personally have a hard time playing something that is so rooted in the idea of killing others. In conversations with gamers, I haven’t gotten a satisfying answer yet about why these violent games are more fun than say, a game where you solve puzzles or play soccer. My initial impression is that there is a violent part of people that needs an outlet, whether it is in video games, or in a kickboxing class.
Reader’s Annotation: You are on an elite team of soldiers, trying to save the planet Reach from an invading alien force. Can you defeat them and keep the planet safe?
Information about the developers: This game is developed by Bungie. They are currently located in Bellevue, Washington. Bungie was established in 1991 and originally based in Chicago, Illinois.
In 2000, they were bought by Microsoft, but split from them in 2007. They now have a publishing deal with Activision Blizzard. Besides Halo, they have most recently released Crimson: Steam Pirates and are working on one called Destiny.
Genre: First Person Shooter Video Game
Curriculum ties, if any: None
Booktalking Ideas: This game basically sells itself. If I was talking to a teen about it, I would emphasize that it is fast paced and exciting, and talk about the plot of saving the earth from aliens and zombies.
Reading Level/Interest Age: This game is rated Mature, which means that technically, it should not be sold to minors. However, in practice, I believe that most of the people playing this game are teens and new adults. Therefore, it is important to look at to help teen librarians be aware of the kinds of materials their teens are consuming.
- First, I would want to be familiar with game. As I’ve played this game, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of a game I had not played, I would want to have access to reviews.
- Then I would put together a rationale for why this game is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
- Bibliographic Citation of the game.
- A description of who the game is best suited for.
- A summary of the game and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the creators.
- My justification for including the movie. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on players.
- Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
- ALA Library Bill of Rights
- Good and bad reviews of the game
- Alternative works a student could play
- Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
- When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
- If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.
This game meets the recreational needs of teens. It may also be a healthier outlet for a teen’s aggression in that it does not actually harm anyone else.
Why did you include this video game? : It is really popular, so I wanted to learn a little more about it. It also represents the first person shooter genre of video games.
Bungie (2013). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bungie
List of Bungie video games (2013). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bungie_video_games