A while back I completed the entire Halo video game and was content to put the roommate’s Xbox away and get on with my life. Until a day later, when I started playing his Halo 2 game. Upon completion of that, I discovered that such accomplishments were pale in the light of my having played each of them entirely on Easy mode.
Since then, I played through each entire campaign again on Normal mode and celebrated their completion and my ability to let go and get on with my life.
Except that my nightly Halo dreams have not abated while several falsely-sympathetic friends have gleefully pointed out the existence of the Halo 3 game.
“How much would it cost?” I asked my brother over Christmas turkey dinner.
“Maybe sixty bucks. Maybe less, now that it’s been out a while. Go to EB Games. They sell used copies cheap.”
“EB Games? Never heard of them. Do they have a Mississauga location?”
This morning as I drank my coffee, my nose in a good book, Steve-o came jogging down the stairs. I hadn’t seen him in a while due to all the holiday travel we’d each been neck-deep in.
“Merry Christmas!” he said.
I tried to be subtle and gracious and not tip my hand. “Oh - hi there. So um - did you get Halo 3 for Christmas! Did you!”
“Fucker!” I screamed.
He backed away from me slowly and slipped on his boots and coat. “Halo 3 is an Xbox 360 game. I only have the original Xbox. You can’t play Halo 3 on it.”
“Liar! I cried. “You’re conspiring against me, you Bastard!”
“Dude, it’s true. I swear.” He watched me wide-eyed as he reached for his keys and backed out the apartment door.
I googled Halo 3 and Xbox original. What the bastard had said was true.
My mouth had gone dry. I tried not to panic. To all problems there is a solution.
Ah hah! I’ll rent it!
I rushed to the truck and drove to Blockbuster Video. My stomach growled at me, wondering why this task was so much more important than breakfast. So I reached into the Tub o’ Christmas Loot I’d lugged home from the folks’ place but not yet hauled inside from the truck.
I pulled out a giant chocolate bar - one of those ultra pure dark kind that are so much less tasty to me than milky chocolate. This one had relief images of elephants all over it and had a hint of orange flavour. Except that I really couldn’t detect much flavour. That it froze overnight wouldn’t have helped. Temperature-change kills the flavour of chocolate. It’s true. I worked in the industry. Of course, I’m not supposed to be eating any chocolate. I’m supposed to be dieting. I need to lose about eighty pounds so that the I.S. will love me. I know. I know. That’s so pathetic you don’t know whether to laugh at me or cry.
So I gobbled down the giant orange-scented nothingness and marched into Blockbuster Video.
“Do you rent Xbox 360 units?”
The girl looked very confused. A boy came up behind her. “You mean the actual consoles?” he asked. They both looked at me with the strange look that young people give me sometimes. The look that translates into “What an interesting creature! Did he just step out of a time machine?”
“No, we don’t”
“Do you know who does rent them?”
They shook their heads.
“Or is that a thing of the past? Renting game consoles?”
“It’s a thing of the past,” said the boy. “We do sell them though.”
“For how much?” I asked, not interested of course, but for the sake of conversation.
Apparently there are different versions of the Xbox 360 console; regular, arcade, pro, whatever. He quoted various extravagant prices. I zoned out.
“Blah blah blah,” he said, “But that unit has no hard drive. Blah blah blah blah…”
“Blah blah blah Halo 3 special edition blah blah -”
“Did you say Halo 3! That’s what it’s all about! It’s all about the Halo three! That’s what I want!”
“Yeah, well this is really cool. It’s green with orange-gold trim just like the Master Chief suit blah blah blah…”
What the fuck is he talking about? Why is he talking about bloody colours? I just want to sit in front of the TV and kill everything in sight. Who cares about the godforsaken colours?
“It comes with a Master Chief helmet that you can store your Halo games in!”
I patiently overlooked that I was being mistaken for some kind of cheese-eating little video game geek and asked, “Does it come with the actual Halo 3 game?”
“No. That’s sold separately. Blah blah blah blah… basic version on sale for 19.99... Blah blah blah… sold out… blah blah blah blah… Shall I call the Erindale Station store? I think they’ll have some in stock.”
“I don’t know. I need to think about this.”
He made the call anyway. They had the special edition Halo Three Xbox console in stock as well as the game. Both were on sale. Despite my disinterest, he gave me directions to the Erindale Station Blockbuster store. “Erin Mills to Dundas. Turn left. Pass Mississauga Road… several blocks to Erindale Station..”
I thanked him and left. I had to go down Erin Mills Drive to get to my bank. Had to move some money around in order to pay the hydro bill. That done, I found myself wandering into the Wal-Mart next door for no particular reason and into their computer/hi-fi section and casually noticing that they were out of stock on the Halo 3 game and any of the Xbox console units. Which is fine of course.
Returning to the car I noticed an EB Games store in the same plaza and took a little walk there - just for the exercise of course - and noticed that they too were sold out of these products - which is all well and good of course.
Leaving the parking lot I accidentally chose an exit with no left turn available which led me down toward Dundas St where I had to make a left turn in order to get back to Mississauga Road which would eventually lead me home.
Somehow I missed that Mississauga Road intersection and found myself continuing along Dundas Street. By now the giant sawdust orange elephant bar had percolated through me and my stomach was turning inside out. I needed a bathroom and fast. I drove and drove and lo and behold I came to a street called Erindale Station and there was a Blockbuster Video store there which has a public bathroom that they will unlock for you if you ask nicely.
So I rushed in and in my confusion blurted, “I need a Halo 3 game and a Halo 3 Xbox unit please - I mean - I mean - I need your washroom please!”
She scooped up the key, led me to the washroom and unlocked it. “Shall I get those items together and hold them for you at the front counter?”
“God No!” I said. But in my panic, it came out sounding more like, “Yes please!”
I emerged from the facility feeling much much better and went to the counter to clear up the misunderstanding. There I spied a good brand of White Cheddar Popcorn Powder for sale and so I grabbed a bottle. I know that there’s a Cineplex Odeon gift certificate in the Tub o’ Christmas Loot and there’s no sense going to the movies without your crack. I mean - white cheddar powder.
I’m not really sure exactly what happened after that except I found myself surrendering my credit card to pay $250 for cheddar powder while the customer at the check-out next to me said, “Ooh. That’s what my husband wanted for Christmas!”
“What? No, the video game.”
Apparently the cheddar powder comes with free Xbox products. “Well, tell him that no adult should be playing with this game. It’s an irresponsible idiotic pursuit!”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go. I have a plethora of killing to do. Hopefully I will emerge from my bedroom in three days, twenty pounds lighter and well on my way to annihilating the alien Covenant forces and the Flood parasite. It’s called the Halo diet. Wish me luck.