26 September 2007

Master Chief 2511AD-2552AD

The world - or at least that, almost exclusively male, part of it that prefers to spend its time jiggling its joystick in front of vast LCD TVs - is today mourning Master Chief Petty Officer SPARTAN 117, who is believed to have passed away(1) several million times in the last few hours, as a result of an assortment of inept, thumb-mashing fumbles on the part of players across the globe, following the worldwide release of Microsoft's Xbox 360 videogame "Halo 3".

Official records indicate that the man who would one day be known, somewhat tautologically, as "Master Chief" was born in 2511AD and spent his childhood years on Eridanus 2. The same records indicate that it was from here in 2517 that he was abducted and replaced by a "Flash clone"(2) by the United Nations Space Command - in a move so devious it can only have been planned by a descendant of Dick Cheney - and that from then on he was trained as a SPARTAN-II supersoldier, ready to fight and defeat any alien force that might threaten the Earth.

Unofficial records, on the other hand, suggest that Master Chief was born on Earth in the offices of Bungie software in the early noughties, from where he (along with the whole of Bungie) was abducted by Microsoft and trained to help Bill Gates's mega-corporation flog Xboxes and Xbox 360s to every 16-34-year-old male on the planet and defeat the forces of Sony and Nintendo that might threaten Microsoft's bank balance.

Whichever version of events is true, what cannot be doubted is that Master Chief proved himself again and again to be one of the most heroic warriors this planet has ever seen, happy to go up against the forces of the Covenant and the Flood despite their superior weaponry, greater numbers and the fact that many of the players operating him couldn't take out a barn door with an A-bomb, let alone blow a Covenant Brute away while dual-wielding an M6G Personal Defence Weapon System and Type-25 "Plasma Pistol" Directed Energy Weapon.

Time after time Master Chief ventured out to do battle with the Covenant and with online pretenders to his crown, aided only by a few - frequently rather dim - allies and the artificial intelligence Cortana(3), and time after time he was blown to bits by laser cannons, sniper-rifle head shots, the clunking fist of a Brute(4) or by comically attaching a plasma grenade to himself - all thanks to the inadequacy of the pale-skinned, junk-food-eating types controlling his actions. Like many a soldier before him, super or otherwise, he was a lion whose actions were directed by donkeys.

It is understood that, at last tired of being blasted into a virtual pulp while some dumbass failed to press the pause button while going to greet the pizza delivery guy, Master Chief was driven to despair and was last seen praying for the so-called "red ring of death" to appear on his Xbox 360, consigning both it and him to oblivion(5).

Master Chief will be buried at St Mario's Church of the Video Game Icon. Sonic the Hedgehog will preside over what is expected to be a brief, if lively ceremony - interrupted by a Boss Stage involving Dr Robotnik. The congregation will include Lara Croft, Crash Bandicoot, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Ulala, Link, Samus Aran, Gordon Freeman, Commander Jameson, Tommy Vercetti, Pacman, Solid Snake, some Space Invaders and Parappa the Rapper who will sing Master Chief's favourite Beatles song "Halo, Goodbye".

(1) doubtless alongside at least one, as yet undiscovered, videogame obsessive whose idea of fun was to play the game for three solid weeks with only the aid of several boxes of ProPlus, a lifetime's supply of RedBull and a series of bottles to pee into.
(2) which the UNSC claimed to be more effective than an Ajax clone but not quite as good as a Jeyes Fluid clone.
(3) which, for some reason, took the form of a holographic female with a come-hither voice and oversized virtual breasts. NB Cortana is not to be confused with the model Jordan who, while she certainly has oversized virtual breasts, has a %$*!-off voice and is rarely described as an intelligence, artificial or otherwise.
(4) not thought to be Gordon Brown.
(5) or perhaps even World of Warcraft.