Halo & Bungie
In early 2001, I entered the fan community surrounding the video game Halo, which would eventually be released for the Xbox after a long and tumultuous development cycle. I remained a part of the Bungie community in various guises and to various degrees for a number of years, though my actual connection to the game (and the later sequel) faded to casual interest.
Eventually Bungie, or rather a group of contracted studios, ported the original Halo to the PC and Macintosh. I picked up the Mac version and checked it out, finding it largely lackluster—on one hand essentially no different from the already-passé Xbox game, and on the other hand technically flakey and poorly ported. However, there was one essential difference: in this version, the Banshee, one of the user-controllable aircraft, was usable in online multiplayer.
I found myself fascinated with the Banshee, loving how it felt and how it behaved in the air. I had never much cared for it either way in the Xbox game, but then, you only could use it several times in the single-player campaign and not at all in multiplayer. Being able to really sink my teeth into it, and use it against others in online play, was a novel experience, and soon I found myself flying it constantly—indeed, I had essentially no interest in the game itself anymore, just in using the Banshee. Eventually I was playing for hours every day, on the same handful of maps (those with enough space and set up appropriately for flying), and getting pretty good at it.
At some point I was one of the better pilots online—not a patch on decent players outside of the Banshee, I could lose a pistol duel or grenade pitch-off like anyone else, but with my ride I could work magic. I loved it to death. Outside of this, I have never really been gifted at much; maybe competent at many things, but never the best in a competitive realm, at least nothing that interested me. It was a new experience.
I ended up writing some tutorial pieces that I posted to several community sites, discussing use of the Banshee. In part they were for me, as putting my tactics and methods into words helped me formulate and understand them better. In part it was just nice to share what I’d learned.
Much of this and some other miscellanea is included here.
Banshee Handling Articles
- Banshee Handling I
- Banshee Handling II: Crash and Flow
- Banshee Handling III: Applying Reality
- Banshee Handling IV: Video
- Banshee Handling V: Evasion
- Banshee Handling Supplement: Winning
Other Banshee Video Clips
- Random gameplay (plus: walkthrough)
- More random gameplay
- Yet more random gameplay
- Banshee “dancing” (plus: explanation)
- More Banshee “dancing”
- “Flyaway” bail and rocket, as invented by goatrope (another clip of same)
- Sustained inversion, as invented by goatrope (at long last, a successful technique to invert the Banshee for an indefinite period of time)