Halo System Link Still Holds Over 20 Years Later

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moments after starting Halo: Combat Evolved With some friends, stepping onto the legendary Blood Gulch map and dying almost instantly from a few well-placed pistol shots, I was reminded of exactly why cables are good.

When my friends brought two original Xbox consoles for a weekend at the beach, I was expecting there to be some issues getting them to work for our planned six-player matches. The game and the consoles are over 20 years old, probably even predating the dusty flat-screen TVs we used to play games on. But to my surprise, just a few minutes after setting up the consoles and connecting them for System Link Play, we hooked up some controllers, did a aura hallway, and they started talking trash to each other throughout the house.

The simplicity of jumping Combat Evolved it was a great counterpoint to how many hoops there can be in modern multiplayer games. Drink Fortnite. My wife and I play almost every day, but we play online on two different systems; I’m on the PS5 while she’s on the Switch. To play together, we both have to start the game; wait for it to load and download the necessary updates; Party Start; start pairing; and wait a little longer for the match to actually start. Y after we can run around Fortnite island. The whole process doesn’t take long, but I do spend a lot of time tapping my foot impatiently.

aura over the system link was much faster. One group would make a lobby that the other would join, then the lobby maker would decide the map and game rules, the game would count down, and then the match would start. aura it even lets you mash buttons to speed up the countdown, which is something I now want in all local multiplayer games.

With online games, I understand that starting a match takes longer by design. The infrastructure that allows you to play with anyone around the world is inherently going to take more time to make sure everyone is in sync than two Xboxes tied together. But it was very nice to be able to get on a aura party almost as soon as I sat down to play: LAN parties are good!

It wasn’t just the network that benefited from a wired connection; wired Xbox controllers were also unexpectedly cool. Later in the weekend, we wanted to play some six-player games from super Smash Bros Ultimate, but I had to spend a few frustrating minutes connecting the controllers to my console. We had more than enough for everyone, although a couple of people got stuck using a single Joy-Con because there is a limit to the number of controllers that can be connected to the Switch. And I thank my lucky stars that all wireless controllers had charged batteries. If they didn’t, I would have just dropped the controls on the ground in frustration and switched to a different game.

With auraon the other hand, we just plugged three wired controllers into each Xbox console and then everyone was able to play.

LAN parties won’t be the only way I play multiplayer games in the future, and things weren’t perfect. We had to use a paper clip to pry open the tray on an Xbox that was having trouble reading the disc. A couple of controllers showed their age; I had to support my controller on my legs in the correct way so a frayed cable won’t disconnect my controller. and completing Fortnite challenges is an almost daily ritual with my wife; I’ll gladly take care of the extra wait time to continue playing with her.

But as tech companies continue to make gaming hardware and devices that are increasingly wireless, it was nice to have an “just works” experience with a game and consoles that are more than two decades old. And it helps that I had some good ones aura friends to play, too.

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