I'll get a few things straight as we begin: this story is quite "cutesy". After you read it, you'll probably think I'm just an indulgent father, who has an overinflated perception of his kids. You might also be thinking this tale has little to do with co-op. The first two might be true, but I think this whole story involved co-op on the deepest level. My sons and I have all enjoyed both Halo 3 and Halo Wars. I'm not quite sure why my youngest, especially, loves the games so much, but I will tell you this: being able to play the game with my kids, even when they are just watching, has really added to my own enjoyment of the game. This is what co-op is all about.
It all started when we picked up Halo 3, after a long hiatus. We had some days off of school due to snow, and so we decided to play some games through to completion. My oldest son and I played through the last half of the campaign, in glorious split screen co-op. It was a good time; the game is one of the better co-op experiences available on the Xbox 360. Brandon, the eldest was the star, being far better at shooters than his old man. The little brother, Connor, ate it up too. Anytime Halo 3 came on, he dropped what he was doing and plopped down on the couch with us. He was actually quite helpful. He kept us informed as to where the bad guys were. He directed us back to revive one another. He howled in joy when we picked up dual weapons. I felt bad for the kid, and wished there was some way for him to play with us. Apparently, not being able to have a controller didn't dampen his enjoyment, though.
One Saturday afternoon, Connor and I were home alone. He brought me a note, pictured below. Now, as a loving father, and a rather conservative one at that, I am in a quandary. Obviously, the boy loves Halo. I love him, I want him to be happy, and I love the game myself. Of course I want to let him play. On the other hand, the game is rated M! He's only seven, after all. According to the ESRB, that rating is for blood, gore, mild language, and violence. It was a serious dilemma. The final compromise? We turned the volume down, and had a discussion about how while killing aliens in a video game is acceptable, we never hurt anyone in real life. Even if they are a bloodthirsty, heavily armed Covenant trooper.