Musings of a Christian Geek about the Word, Geek Culture, Science, Music, Movies, and anything that is deemed noteworthy.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Top 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy Characters: #2

2. John Spartan-117 (Master Chief)

Colony Wars: Vengeance might be my favorite video game of all time but the Halo series is by far my favorite video game franchise and series of all. Yeah, I know it seems very mainstream, but I continue to play Halo games in the face of such uber-popular fare as Call of Duty (No Russian mission with an evil American payoff, give me a break). Halo just continues to define console first person shooters (FPS) for me and will probably never be unseated as the king. Thus, while Halo is the king of video game franchises, the series’ protagonist, Master Chief, will remain the king of video game characters.

Ever since Star Trek and Star Wars came out in the sixties and seventies, geeks have been looking for the next blockbuster sci-fi franchises. The truth is that it’s very hard to create a property that can be so universally loved by both the mainstream and nerdy alike. Enter Halo, which I totally believe should be considered this generation’s Star Wars because the game not only made LAN and online console gaming a very popular thing to do, but it showed that a video game could be so much more than just a disc you put into a console. I don’t remember a video game before Halo having a book come out alongside the game as The Fall of Reach did. I am sure it happened before with a random game here and there; but, now, it seems par for the course. Added to the Halo canon are many books, comic books, movies, and a soon to be released TV show. 

In addition, much like Star Wars, the story of Halo placed you right in the middle of an ongoing saga and the main character of the saga is the genetic engineered soldier Master Chief. Critics have said that the character is too much of silent protagonist to be considered among the best genre characters; however, I totally disagree. Go back and play the original game again and you will hear quite a bit of dialogue spoken by Spartan-117. With each subsequent game, his personality is fleshed out even more through story elements and dialogue culminating in his best portrayal to date, Halo 4.The last game of the series really did a lot to humanize the character and let you realize his relationship to Cortana, the AI construct he’s carried in his armor for years. 

Master Chief, in my opinion, acts just like someone in his position would. He is driven by duty to the UNSC and was taught from a young age to be a perfect soldier. A guy like that is not going to be a blabbermouth and he is not going to be a one-liner machine. I don’t care what action movies in the eighties have told us. I think this has really endured me to the character because I like stories of soldiers who are driven by duty and honor. Too many stories in the liberal zeitgeist feature sagas of soldiers who question their purpose, are driven crazy with PTSD, or outright rebel against their government. Master Chief is the opposite of those characters.
Best portrayal: Halo 4 

Favorite moment(s): After the Covenant have invaded a space station over Earth and planted a bomb, Master Chief sucks the bomb and himself into space and places the bomb inside a Covenant ship and destroys it.