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Topics - The Arkaeologist

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Well, oh my.  Started looking into this and thought I would share.  First glance: looks as if we may as well be out 100 bucks right off the bat since the limited edition (at $99.99) includes the Destiny expansion pack, which will drop 12/31 and costs $34.99 as a download (or $19.99 per "map").  So you basically get the steelbook, postcards, collectors' edition digital content (ghost casing, emblem and ship variant) and other miscellanea "for free."  (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes, but when I calm myself and swallow that price tag, I have to admit it's not a bad deal for those who will inevitably buy all additional content.)  Though the Game StopAmazon, and Best Buy descriptions are misleading, the expansion pack by itself is only available for pre-order, so I am assuming the special editions do not include immediate access to this content.

As for the pre-order bonuses, Game Stop appears to be the only retailer (sorry beta episode aside, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy) with an exclusive, a sparrow skin*, which is only exclusive (if you mind their asterisk) until 1/1/2015.  Same with the Vanguard gear, weapons, and emblem, which appear to be the pre-order bonus that comes with the game/is not retailer exclusive: it's early access.  According to one of the disclaimers, you can earn these items through play.  Conclusion: this only really matters if you're buying day one and paying full price.  Otherwise, get it wherever it's cheapest.

One other thing:  I noticed a Bungie disclaimer on stating that you need 20GB available hard drive AND broadband to play the game.  The latter actually affects me though I played the beta on dsl without issue.  Hmmm......

In the interest of thoroughness, for those of you who poop gold (it's a Lannister joke, people!) there's also the Ghost edition for $149.99, which includes the limited stuff PLUS a talking ghost replica/box and a letter of introduction.  (Spectacles on!)

Oh, and one other one other thing.  ;D  According to, "Bungie is promising exclusive PlayStation content for both expansion packs."   Marty and Joe have defected, and the Microsoft-Bungie cold war continues.

*Honestly!  A slight mod regarding the GS exclusive sparrow skin.  The exclusive is described as a paint job and an acceleration/top speed/durability upgrade.  The paint job is exclusive until 1/1/2015.  The upgrades are earnable through play so not exclusive, well, ever.  When every "bonus" requires a disclaimer, I think things have gotten a little out of hand.  [Insert retail rage here.]

Raindrops on roses Queen of Thorns' "roses"
And whiskers on kittens And warg-able kittens
Half-man! and two Jo[h]ns
And warm Night's Watch mittens

Didact, Librarian,
Little birds sing,
These are a few of my favorite things.....

Yes, two of my favorite worlds are colliding!  Hoorah!  Now perhaps CG will finally give me a half-corner of the forum for my GRRM obsession.  :-*


WARNING:  Some of the below links, in particular the video, may contain graphic violence and/or bad language and are not for the faint of heart.  View at your own risk.

So I was watching Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket over the weekend because I have Netflix and I felt like something dark and depressing and IMPORTANT.  Or something like this.  :P  Anyhow, imagine my surprise when I catch a glimpse of a billboard in the film's background that reads "HYNOS" (as seen at 8:06 in this video).  (More on this video later.  For now just forward to that.)  This rang a bell of course because of the Hinos references in ODST and also because of the "There Are Many Like It" Daily Challenge, which I recently realized was a reference to The Rifleman's Creed, which is prominently featured in FMJ.

I did a little research on Hynos and according to Rob Ager, who has written extensively on the subliminal messages present in the film (and is the creator of the above youtube video), Hynos was a real-life Vietnamese toothpaste manufacturing company.  Thus, the billboard makes sense in the context of the film.  However, Ager hypothesizes that the film's billboards contain hidden messages.  

Ager is kind of like us, or put another way, Ager is to Kubrick what we are to Halo - totally committed and more than a little insane.  You can read for yourself here, or here for the whole dissertation, but I warn you:  it's quite a slog.  The two things that leapt out at me were a) that the film is widely believed to contain hidden messages (sort of like something else we know) and b) that Ager believes one of the central themes to be that the soldiers are really fighting themselves.  Whether this is a psychic battle (as most of us might draw from watching the film or any other good war movie) or whether Kubrick is actually alleging some kind of conspiracy (as Ager hypothesizes), I really cannot say.  BUT I did find this interesting because it's another case - as with the terminals and datapads - where we have stories within stories and where this second "hidden" story seems to indicate that the enemy is not who we believe it to be.  

Anyhoo, I'm getting grandiose as usual.  Most likely, the Bungie guys are big hoo-rah! fans of FMJ and the Hinos company is a shout-out among the more obvious shout-outs, the main one being the casting of FMJ's Animal Mother, Adam Baldwin of Firefly fame, as the voice of ODST Dutch, who says things like, "Haven't you ever seen Full Metal Jacket?"

So I noticed this a while ago and never published it.

I think the Tempest multiplayer map may allude to Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Points of interest:

The map is part of Bungie's final Halo DLC - Microsoft hired Certain Affinity to do the Defiant pack - and is frequently mentioned last of the three Noble maps (as in the Noble trailer).  The Tempest is commonly regarded as Shakespeare's final solo play.

The Tempest is believed to have been written in 1610 or 1611.  The Noble map pack was released in November of 2010, exactly four hundred years later.  Not that this means anything but it's cool....

The Tempest takes place on an island, where Prospero and his daughter Miranda (yes, Miranda) have been shipwrecked.  The Tempest map landmass is nearly, if not completely, surrounded by water.  It is also the site of a downed Longsword.

Prospero instructs his servant-spirit Ariel to create the storm, or tempest, of the play's title in order to shipwreck Prospero's usurping brother Antonio on the island.  According to the Halopedia, "[t]he Forerunner structures on the map are weather control systems."  I need to confirm this independently.

Possible points of investigation:

The above-mentioned weather control systems.

The radio chatter on the radio by the Longsword.

The Longsword's various number/letter combos:  
UNSC 7-89
AF 9l 002

The words beneath the Longsword emblem/insignia.  (I'm assuming the winged sword is particular to the Longsword.)  I'm thinking AD (Air Defense?) Combat Command, which seems irrelevant to the tempest connection, but...

There also appears to be an animal print on the longsword. ???

My sad file share footage of the above is here.

Also, does the story of The Tempest relate in other ways that might help in deciphering larger Reach mysteries?  I imagine it's just a cool map name for the final map, but are there further clues in the parallels?  Prospero is a godlike figure, so intelligent he can work "magic."  His daughter is Miranda.  He is served by a spirit, Ariel, who is humanlike in personality and is often the true, if unseen, catalyst of events.  We know from the datapads the AI's are controlling/influencing events and may have drawn the Covenant to Reach intentionally similar to the way that Ariel manipulates the weather to bring Prospero's enemies to the island.  We also know that Cortana manipulates events by plotting the course that will take the Pillar of Autumn/UNSC - and the Covenant as well - to the first Halo ring. (Fall of Reach, p. 336)

Bizarro update upon further research:

Shakespeare is widely believed to have gotten the idea for The Tempest from the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture, the flagship of the Virginia Company, which encountered a storm on July 24, 1609, on its way from Plymouth to Jamestown.  This date leapt out at me because gameplay in Reach begins on July 24, 2552.  Quoting the wikipedia article (italics mine):

The Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers himself, was at the helm through the storm. When he spied land on the morning of July 25, the water in the hold had risen to nine feet, and crew and passengers had been driven past the point of exhaustion. Somers deliberately drove the ship onto the reefs of what proved to be Bermuda in order to prevent its foundering. This allowed all 150 people aboard, and one dog, to be landed safely ashore.

I was thinking Sorvad was a weird name and started playing around with it a bit.  I realized that the letters in Sorvad, when reversed, spell Davros.  I'm not a Doctor Who fan, but apparently Davros is a main villain in the popular BBC time travel series.  Of interest, he is a talented and mad scientist who engineers a (mostly) robotic race known as the Daleks and places them in Mark-III travel machines/armor.  He is reminiscent of Halsey in this regard, though his creations are villains rather than heroes.  He also resembles the Prophets with his glowing blue "eye" and in the fact that he is (due to injury) encased in a chair-like device that can (eventually) hover.  In one of his many incarnations - Doctor Who is probably more complicated than Halo in its many plot reversals - he looks like this.  Note the hexagon.

I think we could go on and on here.

I wrote this post a long time ago and apparently never posted it.  Duh!

Speaking of businesses referenced in ODST, Nomolos (as in Nomolos Refining) spelled backwards is Solomon.  Now this could be a Bungie employee's shout-out to himself.  OR, it could be a clever allusion to Solomon, Biblical King of Israel, who makes an appearance in the Paradiso section of the Divine Comedy and who also built the first Temple to house the ARK of the COVENANT.  We've all seen Raiders of the Lost Ark so we all know the Ark of the Covenant is one of archaeology's big kahuna missing artifacts.  We also all know that in ODST, the Covenant is invading Earth to gain access to the Artifact, or the Portal, which is hidden beneath New Mombasa/Voi and leads to Installation 00 or (wait for it now) the Ark.  Hmmmm.... (Forgive me if the preceding seems completely obvious, but I always thought the Ark was a reference to Noah's Ark since the Librarian was trying to index all sentient beings/save them from the Flood by sending them to the Ark.  Now I'm thinking the Ark allusion works both ways.  Toss in a bunch of Norse mythology (Jotun, Mjolnir, Sif) and Greek historical and mythological references (Spartan, Tartarus, etc.) and you have one hell of a mixed metaphor.  It better freaking hang together in some big way, Bungie, that's all I have to say.)

Further, the colors of the Nomolos logo are the same colors used in the present-day Israeli flag, which would be consistent with the use of the color red in the Sinoviet sign, Sinoviet likely being a Chinese (Sino)-Vietnamese conglomerate of some sort.  (Red is featured prominently in the Chinese and Vietnamese flags.)  The company logos are also reminiscent of the flags in their use of shapes:  Nomolos features six stars (the Israeli flag features a single hexagram, or six-pointed geometric star figure) while Sinoviet utilizes the pentagon (both the Chinese and Vietnamese flag use five-sided stars, or pentagrams, in instances of five or one, respectively).

Overanalysis indeed, but I think it's safe to say that these two ODST businesses seem to represent political/nationalistic interests.

[Night Edit] The in-house links are way broken. Sorry guys.

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