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Life Lessons 101: Why You Don’t Try To Play Halo For 24 Hours Straight

Posted by Joe DeLia on April 16, 2010

On Thursday, April 15th, Halo 2’s final online matches were played over Xbox Live. It was as if the voices of millions of teabaggers cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, as Swords Only on Ivory Tower would never again be possible on an Xbox server. The game was a monumental success, one that helped drive console gamers online like no other before, and had a profound effect on the many shooters that followed in its footsteps.

For me, Halo’s impact isn’t found in the games that it inspired, but in the many life lessons that resulted from it being played. The following is the tale that surrounds one such life lesson.

In the Fall of 2004, I spent almost every waking hour killing Spartans with plasma weapons. My friend, Steve Loffredo, and I decided that playing each and every night wasn’t enough, and that something monumental should be attempted to commemorate the game’s success: we cleverly called it Halo 24.

Essentially, we decided that we would set up two TVs and two Xboxes in my bedroom and play Halo 2 on Xbox Live for twenty-four straight hours, taking breaks only for major meals that couldn’t be covered by chips and pretzels. As absurd as this sounds, we both looked at it as a worthy challenge, one that would not only test our love for Bungie’s series, but also our gaming stamina over two dozen hours of Xbox Live duress. We also decided that campaign and co-op play wouldn’t count, as this was to be an online only exercise.

Steve before

Joe before

As you can see from our chipper mugs above, the first few hours went swimmingly; rockets were flung, Battle Rifle bullets were sprayed, Ghosts were hijacked, and good times were had by all. As the little hand on the clock continued its circular journey, we jumped in and out of playlists, explored each of the game’s massive maps, tried every game type that was available, and even managed to make a few new friends. As the 19th hour approached, we felt confident in our victory. After all, It was now 4:30am, and we were but a few short matches away from becoming the true champions that we believed each other to be. As we went to grab breakfast in a local diner, all was well for Steve and Joe. At this point, you probably know that this won’t end well.

As we arrived back at my house at 5:30am and powered on the Xboxes, we noticed something strange: an error message stating that we couldn’t connect to Xbox Live. Steve had begun to crash, and was quickly falling asleep on the couch as I frantically tried to solve the problem. As I yelled at a technician from my local cable company, I could see the sharp daggers of defeat approaching each of our backs, and began to hear the immortal words of Switch ring through my mind, “not like this…not like this.”

Steve afterJoe after

Yes friends, our Halo 2 experiment ended at that very moment. My internet service was restored within a few hours, but the crushing pain left behind by our failure lasted far longer than that. The reason that I decided to share this anecdote is two-fold: first, the memories of the events that surround the on-screen action often eclipse what happens in the actual game, and second, never attempt to do what we did. Halo 2, I will miss you.

Oh, and for those wondering, the answer is yes: we did play Halo 2 the following night, and pretty much every night thereafter. Ahh, the joys of youth.

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One Response to “Life Lessons 101: Why You Don’t Try To Play Halo For 24 Hours Straight”

  1. Jen said

    Aww, pretty amazing even if the cable company did let you down.

    Is that your game collection behind you in the second picture?? That is some collection! I’m impressed and oh so very envious.

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