Did you know that Halo 1‘s multiplayer mode almost got cut? I can see why. Talk about risky! Eek. But if it was cut, I may not even have been a game designer today.

In college, I got swayed by the marketing blitz and bought an Xbox. I was a PC gamer strictly at the time (how silly). Because I lived in a dorm, the sound of Halo was like the siren’s song to a bunch of male engineering nerds. So naturally I made a lot of friends with late-night Halo matches, but it also gave me an epic amount of insight as to how non-gamers play games and how social interactivity really can change the aesthetic.

It’s really the first game where I was noticing the design as other people saw it, not as a personal experience. And it was interesting. Previously, I looked at games solely through my gamer eyes. I figured non-gamers didn’t want to invest in the experience, so why should they get to take part? Yeah, PC gamer philosophy right there. But here were non-gamers, cooperating and working with hardcore, skilled gamers and everybody was having fun. The fun wasn’t dependent on being on the correct side of the skilled/unskilled spectrum as it had been in every online shooter I’d ever played. That’s an incredible achievement when you think about it. And with that, I started looking around for more games that I could share Halo-like experiences with my dormmates. And that lead to the study of game design. This was before I ever considered a career in game design, which is a story for another time.

But even if I would have still become a game designer without Halo multiplayer, I certainly wouldn’t be so laser-focused on accessibility and keen on varied roles for different player types as I am today. So kudos to the work of Hardy LeBel and company, because as silly as it is to say, Halo was a formative experience for me.

Also:

  • This is the most awesome/surreal Kotaku post in history. I wish I had inside info as to what it was about, but I don’t. I’d love to be in the brainstorming meeting where it ended with: “Get me Flair’s agent and the number to the nearest costume store.” My games are too damn straightforward.
  • When you are ready to crash and burn, think Obama.
  • I downloaded the demo for King’s Bounty after the glowing words from Penny Arcade and Rock, Paper Shotgun swayed me. I’m hoping to pick up Dead Space today if I can get time and that trumps everything since I am a survival horror fanboy (noted). I thought Rule of Rose was quite underrated if that provides any proof.
  • Soren Johnson always has insightful things to say and always writes very clearly. Here’s a recent (excellent) article on strategy game mistakes that I think is transferrable to most genres. He wears his biases on his sleeve (the thesis seems to be: make games more like Civ 4), but the advice is generally spot on.