They're Random, Baby!

Why we do this, in 500 words or less.

Our inbox gets filled with a lot of stuff. Not counting the spam that gets tossed out, we've received well over 10,000 emails from fans, detractors, and your average internet psycho. Many of them tell us we're doing a decent job. (Many tell us we're idiots, too, so we try to keep a level head about these things.) We received one recently, though, that was so nicely written, and resonated so deeply with our own (okay, my own - I can't speak for the rest of the HBO staff) feelings about this site and this community, that I felt it only right that we should share it. This is posted with the author's permission.

Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 20:32:58 -0500
From: "Ed Stern" <estern@ecology.coa.edu>
To: <halo@bungie.org>
Subject:  Congrats.
Mime-Version: 1.0
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean

 To halo.bungie.org creators,

    I'm impressed to find a site such as yours.  Most gaming sites I
stumble to are full of pop-ups, tacky pages, and childish content.
Yours on the other hand is subtle and professional -- a site I am
happy to visit.

Now, a ramble...  
    As I navigate my post-teen years, I enjoy the respite of
reaching back to what was fun when I was younger.  This reminiscing
is particularly necessary as I work through my undergrad thesis; I
reflect on what I have matured from and what I may grow into through
the work and play I surround myself with.  Video games are key to
that nostalgia, though the flashy nature of most content surrounding
video games has grown offensive.  For some time I wondered if hours
spent with friends playing video games was a thing of my past, since
games I see today are either too childish or much, much too violent.
 (Think Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.  This is the sort of game which
numbs children to violence.)
    Back to the issue of content surrounding video games.  Like I
said, most content surrounding video games is flashy, gaudy, and
annoying.  That as much as anything pushed me away from video games
as I went through High school and college.  All ads seem geared
toward the 10-14 year old crowd (a significant market, for sure.) 
As I grew further and further away from that target audience, the
lure to video games retreated to the back of my mind.  I eventually
felt that video games were for children and video gaming was a waste
of time.
    Early in September, one of my housemates (out of college for
three years now and building an excellent career) set up his xbox
and began playing Halo.  I stopped by his door and chuckled to
myself as I watched him zip around "Silent Cartographer" with a
friend in co-op mode.  Strangely, I was still there an hour later --
eyes glued to the screen and feeling the same mini triumphs and
defeats as my gaming friends were.
    So there I was, I wanted to play whether I felt 10 years old
again or not!  I beat the game within a week (on easy, it's been a
while since I've held a controller.)  I looked at what I was doing-I
didn't feel immature or like I was somehow regressing to a hot-dog
and lunchable kid again.  We were using Halo to give ourselves
something to discuss other than women and politics (both dead-end
    My curiosity grew, and I wanted to see what other people thought
about Halo.  Initial searches through the web turned up the regular
pages filled with little content and pointless discussion forums.  I
was disappointed, though I expected it.  Then I found
halo.bungie.org.  In a clean, concise manner you present stories,
tips, news, and other opinions on Halo without the hogwash I expect.
 And here I am, I don't feel foolish for playing Halo, I don't think
I'll be inspired to shoot up my hometown, and I still can complete
my thesis; only now I have a means of temporary escape when the
thesis grows too wearisome.
    You're a real trooper if you read this far.
    Great site, and keep up the good work!

...and that concludes my ramble.

         Ed Stern