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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Halo 2: Redmond blockbuster?!

Halo 2 is huge news in the tech media this week, and all the hype may add to kid pressure on parents to buy it. The $49.99 video game is the sequel to "the most successful title ever released for Microsoft's Xbox," CNET reports, and big kids around the country stayed up all night just to wait in line for hours to buy this shooter game. Parents, note the "M" rating. According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (, games rated "M" for "Mature" "have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain mature sexual themes, more intense violence and/or strong language." The game's release rivals Hollywood's blockbuster movie releases. CNN said today that Halo 2 could make $75 million in its first 24 hours of availability in stores (1.5 million copies were pre-ordered). That compared to "The Incredibles," which grossed $70.7 million over the weekend.

"How big is 'Halo 2'?" CNN asks. "When the clock struck midnight, some 7,000 toy, video game and electronics stores around the country opened their doors and welcomed thousands of eager players. In New York's Times Square, the Toys R Us flagship store hosted a massive launch party, complete with celebrity guests," while 1,500 customers wrapped themselves around the block waiting for the store to open this morning. Microsoft's not resting on these laurels, though - there are "only" 18 million of its Xbox consoles in US homes, compared to 75 million Sony PlayStation 2s (and the mere 16 million GameCubes), USATODAY reported.

So what's the draw? "Stunning, colorful, cinematic visuals," "a story arc," "evocative, monk-like music," and "fast, violent action," according to the Washington Post, which tells of dads getting together with their consoles as in the old poker days and playing Halo over cigars, peanuts, and beer, with the Virginia Tech-North Carolina football game going in the background. "The main character is Master Chief, clad in armor and a visored helmet, a human super-soldier whose goal is to discover the secrets of Halo and save it from the Covenant, the enemy aliens," the Post explains. Halo 2 brings the battle to Earth, where Master Chief is all that stands between the aliens and mass destruction, the Post adds. Wow, isn't that what the election was about? (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)


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