The moment I first played Halo at a friend's house all the way back in 2001, I knew that I had to own it for myself. I didn't care that I didn't have the money for it or that I already owned a GameCube and not an Xbox. I needed this game.
I eventually managed to get my hands on both a console and a copy of Halo, and let me tell you, it was more than worth it. I played the hell out of that game. Single player, multiplayer, LAN parties, it didn't matter. For a few years, I lived and breathed Halo, always wanting more. I was in love.
It definitely helped that the game had a pretty intriguing story going on. Every aspect of that ring world hinted at something more, something deeper. Like the game itself, I thirsted for more, and soon enough, tie-in novels started popping up on bookshelves. They were the perfect compliment to the game, and I devoured them, reading these books until their spines gave out and beyond. While the gameplay is what brought me in, the story is what kept me interested.
However, this was a romance born of youth, and it was not made to last. As I got older, my intense devotion to the game began to wane. I was still there for Halo 2 (sinking far more evenings into its online multiplayer than I care to count), but by the time Halo 3 rolled around, my heart wasn't in it anymore. I didn't even buy, let alone play, Halo: ODST or Halo: Reach.
But while my zeal for playing these games was not what it once was, I still loved the world Bungie had created so long ago. I missed it. Quite dearly, in fact. And the siren call Master Chief, Cortana, and company still reached my ears on occasion.
With Halo 4, I could resist it no more.
Alas, you truly can't go home again. I was excited to return to the world that I loved so dearly, but it wasn't the same. It never could have been. Admittedly, it didn't help that the game's story simply made no sense. Without mincing words, it was awful, plain and simple. On the other hand, the gameplay that initially caught my attention so many years ago remained. Especially in multiplayer.
So why Halo? Because even though the series and my passion for it aren't what they once were, like an old flame, Halo will always hold a special place in my heart.