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.

Continue reading

Let’s Play Skyrim: Part 2 – The Big City

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack! At least, I’m back to a place where I can at least have a few moments to type. So enjoy the continuation of my exploration of Skyrim with my feisty Bosmer ranger avatar, Piter.

It’s still a little while before I really got into the screenshot taking thing, so forgive the lack of some of the important bits. Hopefully my l33t English-major description skillz will help make up for it. 

When we last left Piter, she had almost been eaten by a dragon, and was asked to choose sides in a civil war she could care less about. Rather than follow the Stormcloak (or seek out the Imperials), she skips off of the path entirely and heads out into the woods for several (in-game) days. After getting my fill of hunting and exploring various settlements we come across (and being loaded down with pelts and furs in my inventory), it is time to find a road again, and continue South. I find birthsign stones as I do, and–obviously–pick the Thief. Piter is no pickpocket, mind you, but she does rely on ranged weapons and stealth. The Warrior is not her way, and neither, for certain, is the Mage.

Continue reading

A Red Letter Day

So there’s this Steam group. And they’ve designated today A Red Letter Day. They call for everyone interested in info on Half-Life 3 to spend part of today playing Half-Life 2 as a “call for communication.”

Now, I doubt this will have much effect–Valve is known for taking their sweet time, and will release info when they release it. Still, I thought this would be fun, and I really would love to have Half-Life 3 waiting there for me once Episode 2 is complete.

I’ll be participating, but I don’t think I’ll have the actual video up until Monday or Tuesday. (I was hoping to have it up today, but you know how these things go. Best laid plans and all that.)

Anyway, join in and spread the word if you’ve a mind to.

Let’s Play Skyrim: Part 1 – Heads Are Overrated Things

You’ll have to forgive the lack of screenshots in the first few entries here; I still haven’t gotten used to hitting the capture button at important moments–I usually get too wrapped up in the game. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gone along though, so you’ll get more pictures as this progresses

Ah, the Skyrim theme. It’s not Morrowind, but damn it’s beautiful. The male choir is gorgeous, and sets the Viking-like tone very well indeed. And so does the scenery as the game opens–trees, mountains, snow…in fact I feel quite at home. I spent four years at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and loved it, -60F temperatures and all. I immediately feel that familiar chill as the opening scene fades in.

Of course, as is Elder Scrolls tradition, my character is a prisoner. I hadn’t specifically known this ahead of time, but it’s hardly a surprise. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of this convention–it rather limits the hypothetical background you can give your character–but it is an easy way to get you into (and out of) a tutorial and character creation quickly. As an Elder Scrolls veteran, I already know what race I want to play–a Wood Elf. They’ve always been my favorite. And although I usually play a male (purely because the female versions of armor–especially the light armor I favor–is insultingly skimpy) I think I will try a female this time. The screenshots I’ve seen have shown at least some suits of reasonable armor for female Dovakhiin, so that will be nice.

My fellow prisoners–none, sadly as endearing as my good friend Jiub (whatever happened to him, anyhow? I hope he got released as well)–talk for a bit, and don’t tell me much of anything I don’t already know from Skyrim‘s marketing department. There’s a civil war, and it seems that a small band of Nord freedom fighters and/or terrorists are attempting to force Skyrim to cede from the Empire. As much as I know the writers probably want me to sympathize with the rebels, nothing Ulfric Stormcloak says here convinces me OR my character that he’s playing with a full deck. Maybe this is residual Imperial sympathy from the last two games, but much of his ‘inspirational speech’ sounds like militant Texans demanding their own country. (And yes I AM allowed to make fun of Texas–I was born there.) While I understand his position, I–the player–have far too much love for the Empire after the events of Morrowind and Oblivion to immediately get on the rebel bandwagon.

Continue reading

What would you do?

So this was going to be the first Skyrim LP post, but then I got the following message from RipOffProductionsLLC:

Cut Beta Quote about the 7 hour war:

“There was an illusion of safety, for a time. And then the Citadels appeared. It happened in a split second, all over the world. A chunk would disappear from the center of a city, to be replaced an instant later by one of these… headquarters for the Combine. Invasion Central.”
-Eli Maxwell (later renamed Eli Vance, after General Vance[whose role in he plot was taken by Barny] was cut)

This also talks about the Citadel’s arrival on Earth, whether or not it’s still cannon is unknown but it makes sense.

Another peace of cut content said that the UN asked Breen to negotiate the surrender of earth, but that is on vary shaky ground.

But now let me ask you something, wouldn’t you do the same? To save the humanity from extinction at the hands(or whatever) of an alien empire? ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’

Well. For all my blustering about hating Breen and wanting to shove my (sadly non-existent in this game) M-4 up his rear end, I was NOT expecting to be confronted with the moral quandary he faced. I mean, Breen wasn’t a bad guy, or he wasn’t at Black Mesa. He’s not a bad or evil man, although I think he’s thoroughly misguided by this point. Whether he’s taking advantage of the situation or simply being misled by the Combine, I don’t know.

Continue reading