I’ve been playing video games most of my life. The first video game I remember playing was The Smurfs on the Atari 2600. Since I’ve been playing video games so long, I associate different games with different seasons of my life. With the release of the first Halo 4 gameplay video yesterday, I began thinking through my time with the series. Below are some seasons of my life associated with the Halo games and how God was faithful through each.
Halo – November 15, 2001
I remember when Halo first came out because it released with the first Xbox. In November of 2001 I hadn’t been rehired as an intern at my church and I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I really wanted to keep working at my church but told them I wanted to be more involved with people than just running tech. I got let go, I was unemployed and I wasn’t really sure what to do next with my life. The Xbox released in the midst of all that uncertainty and my friend, Vince, got one. It was so exciting to play a brand new system, even with the original Xbox’s giant, clunky controllers. I may have been unclear about my life’s path at that time, but it was clear to God. And while I waited to gain some clarity, God used my good friends Vince and Master Chief to keep me going.
Halo 2 – November 9, 2004
Halo 2 came out during my first quarter at Fuller Theological Seminary (I hope admitting my alma mater didn’t cause me to lose some readers). After getting let go three years earlier, my life had gained some clarity. I was heavily involved in ministry again, I was going to seminary and I even had a girlfriend. I really remember Halo 2 for all of the great times I had playing with friends and students. There was, and still is, nothing better than hooking up four Xboxes and going crazy. My girlfriend dumped me about a month after Halo 2 came out and again it was those friendships that held me up. When we look back on our most difficult seasons we can always see how God was faithful, even if we couldn’t see it at the time.
Halo 3 – September 25, 2007
Halo 3 released the day before I turned 26. By the fall of 2007 I had graduated from seminary and began working as a youth pastor. That was an incredibly exciting season as I was finally getting to what I had been called to do. We even planned a big outreach event the weekend after Halo 3 came out and, one of our big draws, was that we would have four Xbox 360s, four TVs and four copies of Halo 3 for some 16-player action. I’d also met Alycia by that point and was actively praying that God would remove my romantic feelings for her. She was a volunteer in our ministry and I didn’t want to be the creepy youth pastor who comes in and starts dating pretty leaders. Thankfully God didn’t answer that prayer and thankfully my wife likes playing Halo with me.
I’m already excited for Halo 4. Alycia and I recently began playing through Halo: Reach. It’s a fun game but there’s nothing like suiting up as Master Chief and taking down the Covenant. I hope the Flood isn’t in Halo 4; they’re like space zombies and that freaks me out. It did 11 years ago and it still does today.
What games do you associate with significant seasons of your life?