by Luv Mehta
(Author's Note: I've written about three of these games a few months ago in my last article, but I never got around to giving my thoughts on the rest. This will have some repeated paragraphs from the last article, but if you haven't read those, you can safely go ahead and read the rest of this one)
Back in 2004, my family used to go to this club in Kolkata called Dalhousie Institute, and there was a little place inside named Diagon, a small space with a library and a cyber cafe. Being a young voracious reader and gamer (back when the word "g*mer" didn't immediately put an image of shrieking unwashed manchildren in your head immediately), I used to frequent that place a lot, and on one of the PCs, I discovered and played this little-known blockbuster game called Halo: Combat Evolved.
The Halo series has been around for over twenty years now, with a massive franchise spanning multiple games and books, having a direct influence in the explosion of mainstream popularity in the once-major internet phenomenon of machinima, and generally being a massive influence on the FPS genre through its mechanics. Did I know all that would happen in 2003? Not at all. But I could feel that I was playing something new, exciting and important, and the future of video games felt infinite.
Now I'm a jaded cynic living in 2021, which means it's the perfect time to actually play the rest of the games on the PC - now that they're out, anyway.
A little bit of history, first - the Halo series is an Xbox franchise, with the first Halo being credited as the reason the first Xbox started selling so much, and the second heralding the Xbox consoles as the best way to play multiplayer games. Because of this, for a very long time, only the first two games were available for the PC, with the rest being Xbox console exclusives - the first one had a PC port released two years after its original release, the second one got a PC port three years after its own release, and PC owners never got a chance to play the rest. It was only at the end of 2019 that people were able to play the other games, when The Master Chief Collection started to be ported over, one game at a time (with remastered versions of the first two Halos), until the end of 2020. It doesn't have all the games, though - Halo 5: Guardians, the latest entry in the franchise so far, doesn't seem to have any plans for porting, and it's most likely that PC players will never get to play it at all.
Either way, at least I had the rest to play through, and the experience was pretty interesting, sometimes surprising, something frustrating, but I'm ultimately glad to have played through the whole thing.
by Luv Mehta
In 1995, Neon Genesis Evangelion, a Japanese animated show based on an original script and running for 26 episodes, represented a seismic shift in the form and format of storytelling not just in anime, but in multiple forms of media all over the world, to the extent that even modern US animated shows have multiple references to its imagery.
In 2021, the final Evangelion movie, Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time, was released theatrically as the final piece of Evangelion storytelling. While it's possible that the studio might make spinoffs of varying quality and scope in the future, this is the final end of Evangelion (funnily enough) as a story told by a singular vision.
In 2010, I watched Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time and felt five emotions all at once upon finishing it - disappointment, wonder, catharsis, anger and confusion - and all those intensified upon watching its followup theatrical movie, The End Of Evangelion. Since then, Eva has had a tight grip on my psyche and tastes, being the one piece of media I've always called my eternal obsession.
Over twenty-two years later, I've watched the final Eva movie and I have a lot of thoughts, and I'm struggling to put all of them into words. But let's try anyway.
(Heavy spoilers for all of Evangelion follow here)