HFFL’s Community Member of the Month: September 2014

This article marks the very first HFFL Community Member of the Month. I asked for idea for the blog and this was mentioned a couple of times. It definitely needs to be a part of HFFL. So, I decided to enact it.

The first ever HFFL Community Member of the Month is PensHalo, also known as “Sal” Though he’s not me, it just a coincidence that his name is my name too.

I chose Pens because he’s been an invaluable member to HFFL. He games with the group quite regularly, he plays as a team member, he’s donated to the blog, not only funds, but his time as well. Pens helped in both of the LANs HFFL has had.

Along with Pens being chosen, I also sent along a bunch of Halo related questions. Take a read at what Pens has to say.

1. Hi Pens, first, congrats on being HFFL’s first ever Community Member of the Month. SO would you mind sharing your first name for us?

Hi Sal.  Oddly enough, my name is also Sal.  My full name is Salvatore but I have gone by Sal since I was a kid.

2. How did you get into Halo?

At the time Halo: CE came out I was working at CompUSA.  The game interested me but I figured it would eventually come out for the PC.  In 2003 when it did I picked it up, loaded it, and started playing.  I loved it.  When I heard that Halo 2 was going to be coming out I was excited but then saw it was for Vista only and I was not going to buy a what I consider the second worst OS Microsoft created (#1 still goes to Windows ME) to play a game.  As the other Halo games came out I kept waiting for them to come out for the PC with no luck.  Then about 6 months before Halo: Reach was to be released my gaming PC died and I didn’t want to drop another $3,000 – $4,000 on a new system.  I went out and bought a 360 and bought all of the games to date and played the campaigns through one after another.  I then started picking up the books and graphic novels and was drawn into the lore of the game.  Haven’t looked back since.

3. Which Halo game is your favorite and why?

I think that it has to be Halo 3.  The campaign was so fun to play.  And as a storyline a desperate time where you are trying to save the universe from not one but two nearly implacable foes while also saving Cortana from the Gravemind?  It spoke to me and I could identify with it.  I could play the hero that every person dreams to be at one point in their life.  It was simply awesome.  Add onto it one of the best all-time marketing campaigns for a game in my opinion (I have all of the Believe shorts and the E3 2007 reveal trailer/commercial saved on my PC), there is no way it couldn’t be my favorite.

4. What are your strong suits in Halo? And what kind of player do you consider yourself? (Team player/Lone Wolf/Sniper for examples)

Wow…If anyone has spent any time in matchmaking with me they know that I am far, far, far away from the best player in the game.  I get frustrated at times when I am playing poorly and  can’t land shots and end up being more of a detriment to my team.   On my good days I try to be a Team player, especially in objective game types where there needs to be someone holding the objective.  I think I play better when I support the better players on the team and simply try not to die too much.

HFFL: You’re definitely better than when I first met you man. Don’t knock yourself.

5. How did come to find HFFL?

It was after Forward Unto Dawn came out that I was surfing through Halowaypoint and came across a link to a Podtacular podcast discussing Episode 2.  It was really my first taste of the Halo Community and I spent time checking out HaloFanForLife.com and in reading the articles.  I was amazed at how much work was put into it that I kept coming back.

6. What made you decide you wanted to be a part of HFFL?

I think that the content on the blog was one thing, but the fact that you are a Pittsburgh guy as well.  I hadn’t been part of a group/clan since my Delta Force:  Blackhawk Down days but it was really cool to talk to someone local who loved the game and the lore behind it.  In addition, it was the hints you and your friends gave while playing to try and make me a better player that also made me want to be a part of HFFL and the Halo community.

HFFL: No worries man, I love helping people become better at the game and I’m glad you decided to become a part of HFFL.

7. What about Halo keeps you coming back to the games?

When playing matchmaking with friends I have had more fun playing Halo than any other game but it is actually the lore and the universe behind the games that really keep me coming back.  I love the depth of the Halo universe and how hard the Halo community works at putting out interesting stuff for Halo that I don’t see with many other games at all.  The games allow me to have fun and talk with some really great people that I have met because of Halo.

8. Since becoming a member of the HFFL gaming group, what has kept you coming back?

I think it is the people I have met along the way that keep me involved.  When I don’t play for a while because real life is getting in the way I miss the talks and banter before, during, and after the matches.  Even the game and non-game rants that have gone on I find really entertaining.

9. What specific game type do you like in Halo and why? (For examples, Team Slayer, CTF, Firefight)

Trying to narrow it to one if tough, but I think Firefight is my favorite.  I really enjoy the waves of enemies that you face and the wonderful POP YAYYY!!! From the Grunt Birthday party in Gruntpocalypse on Sword base.

HFFL: Yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one who enjoys Firefight. I hope it comes back in Halo 5 Guardians.

10. I know you’re a huge fan of the lore of Halo. Please expound on that and let us know why that’s important to you.

First off, I know that the biggest draw of Halo is the gameplay.  However, the one thing that I have always been a fan of, no matter what the medium, is a great story and a hero I can identify with.  From books to movies to games if the story and hero grabs me and draws me in, it will always be special to me.  The story of Halo is, in my mind, one of the best sci-fi stories out there and Master Chief is a hero I put right up there with Luke Skywalker or King Arthur.  And all of the detail and scope of the lore behind the Halo universe has grabbed me in a way on few things have.  It is full and rich and one that is so detailed that you find something new every time you read through a novel or comic.  The detail behind the weapons, vehicles, and the characters is something I simply cannot get enough of.  Little things like how Catherine Halsey is exceedingly particular about her coffee and that she is actually a bit of a slob, how Jacob Keyes drinks 70 year old Scotch, how it seems that cigar of choice for Avery Johnson and Franklin Mendez is a Sweet William, how Thomas Lasky actually sympathized with the insurrectionists before the Covenant made itself known, and how Sarah Palmer, despite having been a Marine and ODST, has embraced the idea of Spartan’s being the tip of the spear, sometimes to the detriment of her character.  All of these lore facts help make each of these characters more real and help support the story.

Then there is the hero:  Master Chief Petty Officer John-117.  His journey is one that fits into the archetypal hero journey.

–      His unusual birth in that his genetic code was one of the extremely small group of individuals who had the potential to be a Spartan-II.
–      His being taken from his family at a young age for training.

–      That he went through a traumatic event (augmentation) to help become the hero
–      His ‘Special weapon/ability’ (Can you guess? Luck.)
–      He has help from a non-normal/supernatural source (Cortana)
–      His proving himself (Halo CE, 2, 3, 4, etc)
–      A journey into darkness (loss of Cortana/Halo 5)

This is the same journey that heroes like Luke Skywalker, King Arthur, Batman, and others that I have a special place for have taken.  It is something that I identify with and calls to me.

Its importance to me is that without it, Halo would not be the franchise I love.  It would be a really good and fun game to play but it would not hold on to me in the periods of time between the next game release like it does.  I would not spend as much time re-reading novels or the comics, spending time on sites like www.halopedia.org reading up on the story, listening to the Halo podcasts that I do (and that list seems to keep growing), and I simply would not have the feelings of regret when I fall behind on my checking on the Halo forums I am a member of.  As I said, the story of Halo is one of the best ones out there, and I am proud to be a fan of that story and this franchise.

11. Are you excited for the Halo Master Chief Collection? Along with that, there is a limited and ‘Mjlonir’ edition coming out, though those are reported to be UK exclusives only. Would you like to have those available to everyone?  And which edition would you get? (Standard, Limited, or Mjolnir)

There is no doubt I am excited for the Master Chief Collection!  I can’t wait to get it and fire up the campaigns in order.  It will be like visiting old friends that moved into a new house.  As for the Limited and ‘Mjolnir’ edition, I think that both should be (and I bet in the end will be) available to all.  I may end up getting the digital download, but with what comes with the ‘Mjolnir’ edition there is no doubt in my mind that that is the edition I will get.  That statue is simply awesome and would look great next to my McFarlane Halo 4 statue.

12. The Halo 5 Beta will be included with the HMCC. What are you hoping will be in that? Any other thoughts on the Halo 5 Beta?

I think the one thing that I want to see is simply fun and balanced game play.  In the end if the gameplay is balanced it will be a winner.  I don’t think I would mind seeing a few new things (Spartan Abilities would be about it) as new twists are what keep games fresh.  In the end I am trying to keep as open a mind as possible about the beta.  As it will be out so far ahead of the game, I have to think that what we see in the Beta may not accurately reflect what is in the final version.

13. As well, Halo Nightfall, the live-actions series produced by Ridley Scott will also come with the HMCC disc. Are you excited for that and why?

I really am excited for Halo Nightfall.  I had some skepticism when Forward Unto Dawn came out, mainly because I didn’t know how it would fit in but 343 did such and amazing job that I am expecting the same level from Nightfall.  I have always enjoyed Ridley Scott and the movies he produced so I am excited for that.  I also can’t wait to find  out more about the new characters being introduced (Locke) and how it ties into the overall Halo storyline.

14. Do you like the direction Halo is going overall?

In general yes I do.  I enjoy the novels and comics and how it seems that each are focusing on different storylines in the Halo universe that have ties back to the main story with Master Chief.  However, I do have some reservations.  With Halo 4 it seemed that to fully understand it you needed to have read the Forerunner Trilogy.  I am hoping that with Halo 5 this is not the case any anything that is addressed in the novels or comics gets addressed from in game terminals sufficient to get the point across.  I am also hoping that some of the retconning that was done with Halo 4 (the change in the Mjolnir armor and the design of the Forward Unto Dawn, the changing of Palmer’s bio to go from a Lieutenant to an Lance Corporal as specified in the comics, etc) stops.  However, I see most of this as a direct result of the changes in the lore/story that Halo: Reach put into play by Bungie and that 343 is trying to tie off although some I think is also trying to make up for story holes they put into Halo 4.

15. What specifically in Halo 5 Guardians (the full game) are you looking forward to? Please eloborate.

There are a number of things.  I am looking forward to seeing how they tie Agent Locke into the game.  Will it be like Halo 2 where you played as both Locke and Master Chief?  What will the story line be with each?  What role does the Arbiter play in the game (although we may get some answers in the Master Chief Collection for this)?  Is Cortana’s presence going to be in game at all?  Is that Forerunner construct from the E3 trailer last year Mendicant Bias?  Will the Flood return?  If not, who/what is the opponent?  These, of course, are story items and not direct gameplay items.  For the gameplay I want to see how they have adjusted to the criticism they received after Halo 4 and see if the extra time they took to get the game out addresses those issues.

16. Being an ‘older’ gamer, what is your take on the younger gamer these days? Any advice for them?

The only advice I would give is that no matter how good or bad you may be at a game, never look down on or trash other players.  I have been told a number of times when in matchmaking that people tell me to take out my Halo 4 disc and break is because my K/D is horrid.  If you enjoy playing the game, then play it.  Once done tell everyone good game and back out of the lobby if you don’t want to play with that group again.  Treat people as you wish to be treated.  Just because you are not face to face with someone doesn’t give you the right to be an ass.

HFFL: Good advice.

17. You were at the after party for last year’s HFFL LANstravaganza. What are you looking forward to in this year’s LAN?

Well considering I was late getting this back, the LANstravaganza has come and gone.  I will say it was a blast.  It was great putting faces to the names I game with and hanging out with everyone.  While I played horridly, I was laughing and enjoying myself that it didn’t matter.  You put on a great LAN and can’t wait for next year!

18. Well we’re coming to the end of the interview here. So any shout-outs or any other Halo stuff you’d like to mention?

The only thing I have is that I really have not been involved in any type of gaming community for a very long time (it was when I was playing Delta Force BlackHawk Down) and even then it was nothing like I have experienced with Halo.  There are so many groups and personalities that help make the entire Halo community great.  I know that there is some infighting that appears at times and that there were cracks after Halo 4 came out that appeared, but it is my sincerest hope that with the Master Chief Collection and Halo 5 that we can put the arguments that have divided us aside and be able to work together to keep this the best community in gaming.  There may still be some rough times out there as things have changed greatly since Halo was first released in 2001 in the gaming world, but I still have money on Halo being around for an extremely long time.

19. Before we end the interview, I want to personally thank you for your contributions to HFFL. Without your support, there would have been things that HFFL wouldn’t have been able to do. So I want to sincerely thank you.

You are very welcome Sal.  I am glad to be able to help.

20. Thanks for being a part of HFFL, as a subscriber, forum member, and gaming group member.

Thanks again. 

Congrats on being the FIRST HFFL Community Member of the Month!
More than that though, thanks for being a friend. That means more to me than you know.

-Sal (HFFL)

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About Sal

I’ve got tons of experience with Halo gaming and collecting. I feel I have something to offer to the greater Halo fan community. Posts along the way will be about tips and tricks in the games as well as collecting and many more Halo related things. I’ll also repost interesting articles from the official site, Halowaypoint.com, or from fellow Halo fan sites. As I continue this blog, I hope to help gamers who want advice on the games, as well as any collectors with regards to where to find collectibles as well as deals, coupons and so on. You can also follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/HaloFanForLife or Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/halofanforlife11. Welcome to my blog and I hope you’ll come back again and again. -Sal

1 thought on “HFFL’s Community Member of the Month: September 2014

  1. Yay Pens. Looking forward to each spotlight every month. Great addition Sal.

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