Hi. I'm Player One. This is my friend, Player Two. He can't say anything because he doesn't have a mic, but I assure you: He's sitting right next to me on the couch. Player Two doesn't own an Xbox, so he comes over to use mine sometimes. I'm generous like that, because -- and let me whisper here -- He's kind of poor.
I'm a gamer. You can tell I'm a gamer because I have a fat stack of games over there, and the hardware to play them with. Ownership is access. Access is practice. And man do I practice.
Check out my Gamerscore. Yep, I earned all of those points. Except for the co-op achievements, which Player Two helped out with. When I say "help", I mean that he usually gets lost and falls to his death in a bottomless pit somewhere while I complete objectives. But he's getting better. Under my supervision, Player Two is almost ready to graduate to normal difficulty. I'm so proud -- It's like he's my very own newbie-baby.
Sadly, I'm not sure you can call Player Two a gamer, though. Are you a gamer if you don't buy any games? I haven't read any reviews lately that gush about "a stunning experience for the dude who drops by after school." Exciting multiplayer action is an important bullet-point on the back of the box, but we all know who those reviews are for: me, Player One, the guy who may-or-may-not break out the credit card at Future Shop next week.
Oh, now Player Two's all mad, says he knows way more about video games than I ever will. He reads Kotaku every day, like a big nerd. Well why aren't you any good then, huh Player Two? What's your Gamerscore?
Enough chit-chat. It's Halo time. Player Two, you'll be using the bottom screen as usual. No, your controller isn't broken. That one is just a little ... wonky. From the time I got robbed in Peggle. Accidentally threw it against the floor there. You can see the divots in the hardwood. It still works fine, but you need to make sure to always aim a bit to the left.
It's not like you ever get the sniper rifle anyway. You don't even know where it is.
Okay, let's go. No, we're not going to play co-op. I've played through the campaign like a billion times already. And we can't play local multiplayer because I'm a pro and you're a creampuff. No contest. We have to play on the internet.
Sign in as my guest. Press the A button. No, the other A button. What are you doing? Okay, there you are: Player One(1).
Just don't embarrass me this time. Don't shoot any teammates. Every time you do something stupid, people will remember my name. You know, you're lucky you don't have your own identity and reputation to maintain. It can be stressful. Sometimes haters give negative feedback, and it can be pretty devastating to see those five stars turn into four-and-three-quarters stars.
Let me set up your online profile here. You'll be a Master Chief in shocking pink armor, with a little heart for your insignia. Yes, I know pink is rarely useful as camouflage, but that's kind of the point. You're supposed to be a distraction. That's what guests are for.
It's your job to stumble around and draw enemy fire while I work on boosting my stats. 2.1 kill-to-death ratio, baby! If they're killing you, they're not killing me. Guests don't even have stats, so it's not like you care, right? You're a blank slate every game, just waiting to be inscribed with new mistakes. Think of yourself as a palimpsest of failure and Halo will be a lot more fun.
Okay, we're connected. Look, these players have guests as well! It's like we're all shepherds, bringing our sheep to hang out together. Except the shepherds on the other team are also wolves and you happen to have flamboyantly pink wool.
We've played this map before. You might not remember because you only ever get to see it split-screen, but it's a good one. I play it full-screen all the time when you're not here and the architecture is f*cking glorious. The sniper rifle is underneath the obsidian homage to Gloucester Cathedral's famous depressed arch, in case you were wondering. Yeah, that castle thing, you Philistine. Squint harder.
Here we go! What are you ... ? Oh, that's right. You need inverted controls. You want to fly Master Chief around like he's an airplane. That's ridiculous, but whatever. I don't know why it doesn't save your control preferences. I guess the developers at Bungie didn't figure you'd be coming over to play more than once.
Triple kill! Stupid guests didn't even see it coming. Where are you going, Player Two? We're playing Oddball. You have to chase the guy with the ... You know what, it's so obvious, you'll figure it out. Just watch my screen for pointers when you die. Oh look, you're dead.
Don't use that weapon. Nobody uses that weapon. It's nerfed and underpowered. You look like an idiot. Don't bother going for the sniper rifle, because I got it while you were waiting to respawn.
Christ, how did you do that? You just killed three of our own team with a sticky grenade. No, I'm not going to say sorry for you. There are no apologies on the internet.
"Hey Rofflecopter or whatever your name is, my guest says that if you get in the way of his grenade again he's going to come to your house and blow up your dog instead." Hah!
Did he just shoot you in the back? What a bastard. The crouching thing he's doing, that's called "teabagging." It means he's your internet boyfriend now. He must like your pink armor.
Game's almost over and we're taking these guys apart. I have nineteen kills! I can't help but notice that you're doing very poorly on the scoreboard though. You're the worst out of all the guests. You're getting out-guested. That's like coming last in the Special Olympics.
Hey wait! Where are you going? Don't slam the controller; that's my controller! Are you going home, Player Two? I still need somebody to play my girlie-girl sidekick in Resident Evil 5!
... Player Two?
Fine, I'll just go it alone. That split-screen nonsense was messing up my aim anyway. It's a real handicap. How do people expect to get better, playing like that? Barbaric.