An Ode To Halo 3 (And The Entire Xbox 360 Era) – @JamesSantore

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Something has been on my mind more than normal this week. No, it’s not the global pandemic that continues to ravage our country. No, it’s not the Presidential Election which is somehow still going on. And no, it’s not the fact that the Sixers are going to have to partake in the NBA Draft next week that will more than likely result in extreme disappointment and frustration. What has truly been on my mind is…….

I’ll never get to experience a Friday night with the boys playing Halo 3 ever again.

Man, those were the days. Get home from school, go pick up my standing order at the local pizza shop, and absolutely CRUSH a pizza to myself (more on that another time). As soon as the grease was washed off of my hands and my mind was right, it was time – time to turn on that beautiful, white rectangle that was beloved by many a teenager in the late-2010’s: the Xbox 360.

Credit me for being a man and admitting this, but I was a Wii guy at first. I loved my Wii and I do think there was a time in my life where I focused more on Wii Baseball than real baseball. But, when the boys started getting 360’s and playing with each other online and I was still sweating my ass off trying to play Wii Call of Duty like I was actually in a real battle, I decided I needed to join them. Traded the Wii in, bought an Xbox 360, and the rest is history.

I hadn’t heard of Halo until I played at one of my good childhood friends’ house one day after a grueling day of football practice. (Shout out to my man Tim Sheridan for getting married recently – congrats brotha!) But as soon as I started playing, I was hooked. Master Chief? Freaking sick name and one of the coolest characters of all time. Team SWAT? Played that game mode until my fingers bled. Every. Single. Friday. Night.

I had honestly never known any real curse words until I graced the virtual battlegrounds of Halo 3. The next thing I knew, myself and 45-year-old British dudes were giving each other crap for spamming the Energy Sword or abusing a Warthog. As weird as it sounds Halo 3 made me more personable and accelerated my growth into being an actual, functioning human being. It was my first foray into the online gaming world and communicating virtually. Some of the best times of my life were when my buddies would come over, we would all crush pizza (not just me), and play until 4 AM with random groups of people we had met online.

Halo 3, and the Xbox 360 in general, opened up an entirely new world for me. As an EXTREME introvert in my middle school/early high school days, not only did Halo give me the chance to connect with people all over the world but build better connections to my friends through this shared interest. The days of me spending Friday nights with the boys wrecking noobs in The Pit are (probably?) over, but since the Xbox Series X (and PS5) released this week, good memories from my ultra-gamer days came back.

Yeah, I’m a “nerd.” Sue me. Video games are freaking awesome and if you think you’re too cool for them stop reading this blog, go look in the mirror, and figure it the hell out. Go Birds.

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