Tuesday, November 09, 2004

What's next? Grand Theft Auto: Falluja?

In some newspapers, the big news isn't the real-life video game we call Falluja, but the release of a, er, real video game you may have heard of called "Halo 2."

Take the National Post. (Please! Heh, heh...) I urge you to pick up a copy of the Toronto edition and look at it above the fold.

Imagine you are a slipper- and dressing-gown-clad me shivering as you pick the Post up off the ground outside my door this morning. There's a picture of a green-armoured soldier (an actor dressed up as Master Chief, the blandly-named lead character from "Halo 2") with the surtitle "Latest blockbuster not a movie." This photo appears right next to the lead article headlined "U.S. Fury Unleashed on Falluja." Of course, in your half-awake state, you might not realise the photo and the "blockbuster" surtitle is related to "Halo 2" and not the Falluja assault until you pick up the paper and see what is beneath the fold.

An inappropriate bit of layout, don't you think? Or, perhaps, a very appropriate bit of layout... (Paging Dr. Chomsky!)

I don't think that the positioning of the picture and the articles was intended to make an ironic statement on modern warfare (or that Microsoft timed the release of "Halo 2" to coincide with the Falluja assault), but the juxtaposition is priceless. And sad. And worthy of study by a Communications student!

Halo, too!

While on the subject of "Halo 2," I must post the first two paragraphs of the Reuters' story on the video game's release:
It takes a special kind of person to stay up all night and stand in a line nearly 250 people long just to buy a video game -- but for rabid fans of the first "Halo" on the Xbox video game console, it was well worth the wait to buy the new "Halo 2".

"It's just addicting," said Brady O'Connell, 22, a college student who joined hundreds of others late Monday night -- and early Tuesday morning -- at the L.A. pedestrian mall Universal CityWalk for the West Coast launch of the new "Halo."
Sigh. "Special," indeed...

Look, college student Brady O'Connell -- if that is your real name -- it's "addictive." The video game is "addictive."

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Or to laugh-cry. Or to craugh.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you learn English from video games. Picture the troops in Falluja, at this very moment, shouting through loudspeakers at Iraqi insurgents: "All your base are belong to us!"

Here is a poem I will write in a few short decades: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Halo, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the mall parking lot at dawn looking for an angry fix..." I will be ripping off Ginsberg. And, because I didn't attribute properly, I will be fired from my job as Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
Post-script

Bonus irony! When you look up "addicting" on dictionary.com, they offer this example of the proper use of the verb "addict": "2. To occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively: The child was addicted to video games."

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