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According to popular media and the most obnoxious of our society, video games don't teach kids nothin'. They're murder simulators, giving children and young adults advanced combat training right in the comfort of their own homes. They go in fresh and innocent, ready to do their part for the world and come out hate filled and ready to kill anything that looks at them funny. I'd argue that's just what living in a society filled with people who jump to uninformed opinions does to a person, but I digress.
Video games have amazing potential as vessels for storytelling. While this vehicle is constantly evolving through innovative ideas and the steady march of technology , I've already experienced a plethora of narratives that I will remember forever; characters that hold a special place in my heart. (And none of them have made me want to embark on a murderous rampage, either.)
One such character is Carter, designation A-259. Carter is a SPARTAN-III and leader of Noble Team.
In this day and age, morally ambiguous characters are given the spotlight. People by and large don't believe that morality is completely black and white, and prefer to see someone struggling with the murky grey that is often the compromise. Evil has also pushed itself to the surface; many video games now feature a "good versus evil" paradigm, where only around ten years ago your only choice was to play the heroic defender of justice. These days, you do what you feel like.
I'm over that.
Carter is a hero in every sense of the word. He is strong, decisive, intelligent and puts the mission and his team above himself. There is not a shred of hatred or subjectivity to cloud his mind. He knows what has to be done, he knows what the right thing is to do, and he does it. None of this pissing around in the middle ground because he's too scared to make the call.
Instead of bullying his subordinates around, he listens to them. His acceptance of Kat's idea to detonate a slipspace drive inside the Covenant supercarrier shows an interest and respect of those who follows him, rather than ordering them to fulfill his whims. The completion of their mission relied on teamwork and an authoritative but flexible leader, and Carter stepped up.
Throughout the game, Carter demonstrates his utter selflessness. In so many games (and the real world, to an extent) where we are told that we are the head honcho and everyone bows before our awesomeness, Carter himself bows to his team. Where we decide that our minion will die for us, Carter forgets his own life and throws himself in front of a bullet meant for his squad member. In the end, when he realises there is nothing more he can do for the mission, he pays the ultimate price for his remaining teammates so that they can have a shot at finishing it.
Ever since he made his last call, "You're on your own, Noble. Carter out," I've come to admire Carter. If there's something I can throw in the faces of the "games are evil" crowd, it's this. His steadfast determination and his unfaltering loyalty to his team and the mission taught me something about being a leader. A leader should be the lowest of those they lead, helping them to greatness and assisting them in any way that they can. They count themselves for nothing. A true leader gives their all for everyone else. A true leader is Carter.