Half-Life 2: A Concerned Retrospective (Part 1)

So, as you probably know if you’ve found your way to this site, my LP of Half-Life 2 is complete. Now that it’s done, I can finally, finally, FINALLY devour all of the brilliant and hilarious comic Concerned.

Rather than another long winded, rambling post about my HL2 thoughts–I’ve honestly said 99% of what I want to say about it at some point in this blog anyway–I figured I would format this ‘retrospective’ a little differently: by using various Concerned comics and commenting/analyzing/laughing about them. It seems like a fun and fitting way to end all of this, and look back at the last five years (!) through a slightly different lens.

There are a LOT of comics, obviously I’m not going to address even close to all of them, but this will no doubt take more than one article. But for now, here is part one!

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Just Who the Hell Do You Think You Are, Free Man?

So at the very end of my last Half-Life 2 episode, I stopped and strained to hear a fairly short but important Breencast. I’ve taken the liberty of looking up the full text (since I had some trouble hearing it in game) and present it to you in full now:

I’d like to take a moment to address you directly, Dr. Freeman.

Yes. I’m talking to you, the so-called One Free Man. I have a question for you. How could you have thrown it all away? It staggers the mind. A man of science, with the ability to sway reactionary and fearful minds toward the truth, choosing instead to embark on a path of ignorance and decay. Make no mistake, Dr. Freeman. This is not a scientific revolution you have sparked…this is death and finality.

You have plunged humanity into freefall. Even if you offered your surrender now, I cannot guarantee that Our Benefactors would accept it. At the moment, I fear they have begun to look upon even me with suspicion. So much for serving as humanity’s representative.

Help me win back their trust, Dr. Freeman. Surrender while you still can. Help ensure that humanity’s trust in you is not misguided.

Do what is right, Dr. Freeman. Serve mankind.

Let’s, for the sake of this sure to be long winded philosophical exercise,  take most everything in game at face value. Let’s assume that Breen is being entirely forthright here, and honestly believes what he’s saying (which may or may not actually be the case; no real way to know that yet.) Further, let’s assume that Gordon is fighting purely because he believes that what he is doing is right, and that he isn’t being manipulated by some shady, possibly omniscient, time/dimension hopping alien thing  in a suit (we know that he is. That his morals cause him to do what G-Man wants is irrelevant.)

Assuming ALL of that…is Gordon Freeman (and the resistance) doing the right thing?

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Why do I play Half-Life?

hqdefaultCarpe noctem my feathered flock! While trolling through some comments and messages, the following idea came in from Rob on Patreon:

Here’s a question, since you’re coming back to Half-Life again. You have a somewhat unique perspective on Half-Life because you played all of 1, spread over a while…and have now been partially through 2 on a blind run for quite some time. Obviously, you enjoyed 1 enough to start 2, and 2 is engaging you enough in some ways to keep you coming back to it. What engaged you about the first one, and is it the same things that are engaging you in the second?

It’s a deceptively fascinating question, at least to me. My initial knee-jerk response is, of course, I play it because that’s what I do. I started the series, I should finish it The sky is blue, dogs bark, and Hawk plays Half-Life. But, as Johnny Rico observed in Starship Troopers, “Fight because I’m an M.I.? Brother, you’re drooling like Dr. Pavlov’s dogs. Cut it out and start thinking!”

So I did. I started thinking. This article is the result of that thinking.

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The website, she lives!

And no, this is not this month’s article 😛 Though I have been given a great idea I’m probably going to run with.

This is simply to discuss the medium-immediate future, assuming that things progress the way I picture this year–and with all the support you guys have given me already, I think they will.

I’ve had some requests for playing The Talos Principle…I’m told it’s in the vein of Portal. It seems as though Portal 2 is near (ish) done, and my Portal LP is almost done as well…this may be worth looking into. That, with a potential side of Dark Souls or Dark Souls 3…probably start with 1, if I can get my PC controller working. (I’m told mouse and keyboard for Dark Souls are…bad ideas.)

I’m also looking ahead to the rest of the Half-Life “family” cataloger…things like Blue Shift, or Half-Life Source…even fan projects like Black Mesa. I have heard that Blue Shift and Opposing Force are not amazing, and I can’t say I’m super excited by the idea of playing them based on the reviews and what I’ve seen of them. Black Mesa, on the other hand…that intrigues me. Course it isn’t done yet, but it probably will be by the time I get there eh?

What do you guys think? Are BS and OF worth it? Or should we jump right into something like Black Mesa? (Along with Talos Principle and maybe Dark Soulsish things).

 

Advert possibility

Sooo, this is new. With impeccable and ironic timing, I just received an email from the folks over at Fullscreen Inc, asking me to partner with them. I am strongly considering this possibility, as it would allow me to both monetize my videos (usually not possible for a Let’s Player like me), and grow my audience. This would mean a couple of things, as i understand it right now, from your perspective: 

Potential negativesAdvertising, obviously. I’m still exploring exactly what kinds of ads we’re talking about and what, if any, control I will have over the form they take. I doubt anyone would complain about ads that show up next to the video, for example (I never even notice those myself), but I personally find ads before videos rather annoying. Not enough not to watch the video, of course, but I do skip them, and always roll my eyes when they come up. I’m sure you feel no different. 

Potential positivesThe elimination of Hawk Time. We all know my penchant for inconsistency. This isn’t because I don’t want to provide you content, obviously, but because life gets in the way. And since this is nothing more than a hobby to me right now, it takes a back seat to most things (I’m sure you understand.)

If this became an actual, or even potential, source of regular revenue, however, that would change dramatically. It would become something of a second job for me. I imagine I would upload a minimum of a video a week, if not more. Two a week, both from a different game (for example, one HL2 video and one Portal or Portal 2 video) is probably what I would shoot for. This blog wouldn’t be neglected either; and if I make enough this way, I might even look into buying my own domain and trying to monetize the blog (also as un-obnoxiously as possible–NONE of those irritating as hell animated ads on my watch, I swear.)

Thoughts? Opinions? Things I haven’t/should consider? Comment away!

 

 

‘Ey! ‘He says ‘he’s no’ dead yet!

Hi. Remember me? That person whose videos you used to be entertained by, before she lost her job, had a dead computer, and all sorts of other fun personal issues you don’t care about?

Well here’s the deal, guys: I have a new job now that I love, that allows me evenings and weekends again, and allowed me to get myself a new computer! And so, here I stand: asking if, once again, you would come back, be my fans, watch my videos, and read my blog posts. Whatada say? Forgive me for disappearing on you? 

I can say that, even though I didn’t produce much, if any content over the last few months, re-watching those videos, and reading your comments, have been integral to getting me through a very, very difficult time in my life. So thank you for helping me weathered the storm. We’re back in port now, the skies are blue, the birds are singing, and it’s time to go kick some Combine ASS!

 

I do have one issue that maybe you can help me with. Since this is a new machine, I don’t have all my old saves from the old computer. There may be a way I can get them back, but it won’t be easy. What would be ideal is getting them back from the Steam synch Cloud–they don’t seem to have synched automatically. Anyone have experience in fixing that issue? If not I think it will be okay, it just may not be until next week I get to play and record if that’s the case. I’ll satiate you with at least one blog post if I can’t get my save game via Cloud. You have my word on that. 😀