They're Random, Baby!

Cold plasma still sticks...
Friendship, loyalty and gaming -- the ideology of bungie.org
John Simpson, CYBRFRK, 02/17/2003

Offensive Tetraboxing PhotoA 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 a  ten day Offensive Tetraboxing Photohoneymoon. 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 co-workers Offensive Tetraboxing Photo 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.

Offensive Tetraboxing PhotoThis 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 of information.

Offensive Tetraboxing PhotoAs 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 was needed.
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 coOffensive Tetraboxing Photommunity 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.

Offensive Tetraboxing PhotoNow, 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.

Offensive Tetraboxing PhotoFrom 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.
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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.


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