Dressed as the character Master Chief from the Xbox 360 video game "Halo 3", gaming fan Jim Cush purchases his copy of the game during a midnight sales event in New York
Keith Bedford / Reuters  /  Reuters
Gaming fan Jim Cush, left, dressed as the character Master Chief from the Xbox 360 video game "Halo 3," purchases his copy of the game during a midnight sales event in New York on September 25, 2007.
By Games editor
msnbc.com
updated 10/1/2007 9:51:47 AM ET 2007-10-01T13:51:47

A week after “the greatest entertainment launch in history” (Microsoft’s hyperbole, not mine), how are we doing? You recovered yet? Was “Halo 3” worth all the hype?

For Microsoft, you betcha. Within 24 hours of the game’s release, the company was crowing about selling $170 million worth of software to rapturous fans. Nicely done, guys.

(MSNBC is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

Speaking of the fans, I got about 400 e-mails telling me how awesome “Halo” is — and this was before many of you even picked it up. You were swayed by the awesomeness of the previous games, and expected “Halo 3” to be just as good.

I got a lot of e-mails like saying things like “woooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh go halo!!!!!!!”  and “I love it so much im played halo 2 5 days staright.” But I got some reasoned, well-punctuated notes, too.

“I pre-ordered my copy of the Legendary Edition almost a full year ago,” wrote Boyd Barnett. “While I skipped the midnight openings because of my pre-order, I will be heading over to the store to pick mine up. Hype or not, you can't stop a great franchise.”

Becky Parker, a  46-year-old grandmother from Davison, Mich., wrote in to tell me that she couldn’t imagine a day without “Halo.”

“I defy anyone to sit down, play the 'Halo' game and not get instantly hooked,” she said in an e-mail. “You've got the best soldier in the universe… tons of firepower and gear … cool vehicles and aliens, big and small. And you get to save the universe against gorgeous backdrops.”

Great graphics and awesome gameplay weren’t what awed Maureen Scott, from Brockville, Canada. She wrote to tell me that her 17-year-old stepson had worked at a local Subway to save money to pre-order the game, buy an Xbox 360 and a brand-new LCD TV on which to play the game.

Video: 'Halo 3' unleashed “Your average 17-year-old boy could not tell at 4 p.m. on a Saturday what he plans to do for the evening, much less for the rest of the weekend,” she wrote. “That Microsoft has created a product that has a generation of ‘instant gratification’ kids working, saving, planning, and then executing, all the name of a video game, is a testament in my eyes to a superior gaming experience… and a fiendishly effective marketing approach.”

While we're on the subject, the relentless campaign for this game really irritated some readers. Brett, from New Orleans, wrote that he was sick of seeing ads for the game everywhere he went.

“It's a good video game, but it's not that good,” he said in an e-mail. “There are many games that are much better then ‘Halo’ ('Final Fantasy,' 'Devil May Cry,' for example) that [don’t] receive half of the attention because the development teams spend money on actual game development, not marketing.”

Tim Boulanger, of Pontiac, Mich. told me in an e-mail that that he was sickened by the hype —and by the way people were “addicted” to “Halo.” “No video game should ever draw this much attention from people,“ he wrote.

Several readers bemoaned the high cost of “Halo.” The standard edition of the game sells for $60 — and you need a $350 Xbox 360 to play it.

Kerry Clark, a single father from Wichita, Kan. wrote that after months of “being hammered” by ads for the game, his kids were desperate to own it.

“I would love nothing more than to give my children something that has had so much attention and been promoted so strongly, but for someone like me it is just not possible.” Clark, a warehouse manager, wrote in an e-mail.

“Halo” lovers aren’t a monogamous lot, either. Sure, some of you waited in line on a school night. Some of you even called in sick or pulled an all-nighter to find out what happens to the Master Chief and Cortana. But there are other games on your must-have list, including “Grand Theft Auto 4,” “Call of Duty 4,” “StarCraft 2” and Valve’s “Orange Box,” to name a few.

Of course, I received the ubiquitous e-mails from those who think y’all should put down the controller and start doing calisthenics. Or reading books. Or something.

“We wonder why our nation's children are overweight?” wrote Larissa from Cincinnati. “Why play sports when you can go anywhere in the world with a gaming system? America's new ‘crack.’ That's just super.”

Another reader wrote that “video games are becoming an unhealthy obsession which leads to an unproductive life,” and that he (or she) didn’t understand all the hype behind “Halo.”

As someone who was in the eye of the hype storm, I was particularly tickled to hear from readers who really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. 

“I'm not so sure about this so-called ‘media barrage’ for ‘Halo 3,’ wrote Ryan from New York. “I for one did not hear anything about ‘Halo 3’ until the day of the release, and that was only because of an overhead conversation in the elevator of my office building in Manhattan.”

Right on, Ryan. Whatever rock you live under, I'm joining you there.

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