Gaps and comes up for air for the first time in three weeks. Blinks owlishly at the sudden bright lights.
Incidentally, if anyone ever asks you: teaching is HARD.
So, obtuse X-files reference aside, this article is indeed about Half-Life’s mysterious be-suited character. At this point–what, somewhere around 3/4ths of the way through are we, now?–and I still don’t know much about him at all. He’s…a…guy, he seems to dress well, he carries a briefcase, and he tends to appear in the oddest places.
Our first encounter with him, of course, was fairly innocent. (Although I’m proud to point out that I was suspicious of him from the start. The X-files HAS taught me well):
(Can I also indulge myself for a moment and point out that my grasp of LPing–from a purely technical perspective–has improved vastly since then. Better mike, figured out how to edit the videos and upload them in decent resolution…man. I’ll have to go back and watch that first set of videos sometime, and marvel at the evolution. In, y’know, my spare time. 😉 ).
Since this first appearance, G-Man has shown up in some very…odd…places. Always out of the way and inaccessible. Always watching. And then, like a chump, he runs off as soon as you see him. This may be an odd thing to fixate on about him, given all the rest of the oddness that abounds about him, but the thing that creeps me out the most in relation to G-Man is his walk. Well, maybe not the WAY he walks–pre-motion capture, after all–but the mere fact that he IS walking. Everyone else in the entire facility is either running, cowering, or trying to kill me. G-Man just…watches. And walks. He’s not afraid of the aliens, he’s not concerned about the marines, and he’s certainly not worried about the possibility that I might blow his head off with my shotgun. (I’ve tried, by the way. It doesn’t work. Sigh.)
I’m not going to pontificate too much about his name because–the way I understand it; feel free to correct me if I’m wrong–“G-Man” is more an officially-approved nickname than an ACTUAL name. In the real lore, insofar as I’ve allowed myself to investigate, he technically remains unnamed, at least as far as Gordon is concerned. I’ll still refer to him as G-Man, obviously, since that’s his accepted form of reference, but it IS important that this is not his official, in-game given name. Significant of course because G-man is slang for a government man (usually referring to FBI agents, specifically.) Since the fact that he’s a government agent isn’t official, I feel free to examine other possibilities.
And possibilities they are, because really, all the smart money is on him being exactly what his name implies–a US Government representative, sent to check up on the goings-on of the Black Mesa facility. He’s probably not from any official part of the government of course, and no doubt takes smoke breaks with the X-files’ Cigarette Smoking Man, but he’s probably from the government in one form or another all the same.
Unless he’s from some kind of private corporation, of course. Perhaps Black Mesa isn’t government owned at all. I assume all that based on the vast amount of resources required, and from that fact that it’s fairly convincingly based on the lore of Area 51, but who knows? Maybe the whole shebang is privately owned and operated, and G-man is a representative of the investors. Maybe, in that case, the marines are more private security force that government cover-up. Now, the big hole in this theory is of course that hiding a facility like Black Mesa would be nearly impossible. Maybe, then, its some kind of hybrid of the two? A government facility so expensive that a hand-chosen group of special investors and their money are needed to keep it going? Perhaps.
And yet. And yet two things still bother me, about this explanation for G-Man. The first thing is that I know Marc Laidlaw, and I know his work. And there is no way in HELL that some creepy, reappearing guy like G-man is just some corporate or government flunky. (‘Course, his script was no doubt subject to many revisions and such, and its impossible to tell in a case like this what was purely him, what he was asked to put in, or what he hated.)
The second thing? I told you before: it’s that walk. He walks around the facility like he owns the place. No fear of anyone, human or alien. Is that just because he’s really, really good at disappearing whenever anything notices him? Maybe. But I also submit to you that no human–no SANE human, anyhow–would be wandering around Black Mesa dressed in a nice, natty suit and carrying a briefcase. Adding that to what I know about Mr. Laidlaw, and well…interesting possibilities begin to present themselves.
If G-man is human, he isn’t a normal one. We also know he’s fairly important, and at least sane enough to carry on a conversation with one of the heads of Black Mesa. He’s connected to the scientists in some way, although he apparently doesn’t wish to help or observe them in the aftermath of the crisis. (Or maybe he does; after all, we only see G-man a few times, and who knows WHAT he’s doing when we aren’t looking at him.) Perhaps he has some kind of special protection? Something developed at Black Mesa itself, perhaps? These creatures aren’t new to the Black Mesa scientists, after all; that’s been established. Perhaps they have some kind of repellent or weapon against them that only G-man has. Perhaps it’s even small enough to fit inside a briefcase.
Of course, that wouldn’t explain why he doesn’t fear the marines, unless the marines know him (or at least know not to shoot him.) If they were on the same side though, wouldn’t G-man want to share his magic anti-alien briefcase with them? Unless he’s *playing* them. Perhaps he’s pulling a Dennis Nedry, and trying to smuggle it out of the facility for himself! (On a sidenote, do you have ANY idea how much money I would pay to watch a scene of G-man getting blinded by a bullsquid, and then devoured by headcrabs?) This, or some version of it, is actually the most likely scenario, in my mind. It would explain just about everything: why G-man’s not afraid of aliens, why he’s always skulking about (trying to find his way out and following me–er, Gordon–probably) and why he doesn’t make any efforts to help anyone.
There is ONE other possibility of course, one I only float because Marc Laidlaw is a sick and twisted man (I say that affectionately) who would pull this kind of a thing: G-man could be…something other than human. Don’t ask me what, I have no idea. And a large part of me also thinks that, if the aliens were able to disguise themselves, they would already be doing it. NONE of them seem particularly intelligent, except maybe the Vorts, but even they only have a kind of rudimentary, predatory intelligence. NOTHING like G-man, who can, as we said, hold a conversation and apparently pass for human.
Um. Unless…unless maybe the scientists KNOW he’s not human? They *have* reached that other world before, after all…maybe they found an intelligent representative there? Maybe the “accident” that started the whole mess was his doing, even…a prelude to some kind of invasion?
Oh. Oh Crap.
…Nah. Smart money is on industrial sabotage.
…Still. Laidlaw. And Laidlaw doesn’t rip off other others, and he ESPECIALLY doesn’t need to rip off Michael Crichton.
Oh bugger. Gordon? I think we might be screwed.