The Accents of Halo: Reach

My family has a lot of Engrish bouncing around. That is to say, English is not the first language of many relatives on my mother’s side. I grew up in a home with a lots of broken sentences, wrong pronounciations, and heavy accents. I felt that I was pretty good at understanding accents of people “not from around here”. Add to that the fact that I grew up in the south with its “ya’ll’s” and “I ain’t gunna’s” and I deemed myself a master of dialects.

This was until I played Halo: Reach. Bungie has put together a relatively diverse team for Noble Six (I say “relatively” in comparison to games featuring teams of 3 linebacker caucasian guys). This multinational convention of badasses feature a Russian-sounding guy, an Eastern European girl, a large Zangief-looking dude, some guy out da’ ghetto, your character, and an All-American Johnny Quarterback pulled straight off the box of Mass Effect 2 to make sure you don’t get too scared with all the minorities surrounding you.

So, basically Noble Six is comprised of the Planeteers, with your character representing Captain Planet. Or at least that’s how I play it. I suggest you also try playing as Captain Planet–throw a sticky grenade on a Covenant vehicle and scream “LOOKS LIKE YOU WON’T NEED TO DRIVE THAT BANSHEE WHEN YOU’RE ABOUT TO BECOME A GHOST HUR HUR HURRR!”. If you are playing co-op with someone in the room stare at them and scream “THE POWER IS YOURS!” any time they respawn.

What I’m embarassed about is the fact that I can’t understand what anyone on my team is saying during the game. I feel like I’m listening to Russian AM radio anytime Kat is talking. She’s barking out orders with her heavy accent and all I can do is say “that’s nice dear”. With all the assplosions and gunfire and aircraft blasting my ears I just can’t pick up what my worldly team is saying. Thank God they actually display your next objective in bold font on the center of the screen.

Maybe it’s not my fault. Is the static on the radio so realistic that only a E-9 in the Army could decipher the transmissions coming across (I’m not sure if an E-9 is a rank or a gun, it just sounds like something an army dude would say while talking about his 6 months in Korea).

I really thought I was good at this, but apparently I’m just another white guy wishing tech support wasn’t moved to India.

That’s not to say I want my team to look and sound like 5 benchwarmers from Iowa State’s basketball team. I’m grateful that my team is at least as diverse as a Multicultural Club at the community college. Granted, they don’t have a guy in an electric wheelchair (WITH MISSLES AND LASERS OMG) or a hermaphrodite with a heart of gold (I guess Jamie Lee Curtis was too busy with Activia commercials). But honestly I love Noble Six. Considering it’s a game about space marines and aliens they each seem to have unique personalities. Rolling into a new area and hearing people say “Whoa Spartans?!” is a great feeling too. They’re like a Voltron for today except they don’t link together to form a mega-Spartan. I smell spinoff!

They should inspire plenty of new Halo armor (yay!), and probably even some fan fiction (ugh). Master Chief doesn’t have to carry all the weight anymore. Good for him.

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