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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Last…I am the last…

…person on Earth to probably play Valve’s brilliant Half-Life, bit it’s finally, after two years, complete. BEHOLD:

And so my two-year Odyssey with Gordon Freeman comes to an end. Nihilanth is dead, Earth (and those asshole scientists) are safe, and Gordon…well…Gordon got rather screwed, didn’t he? I was expecting him to teleport back home to a hero’s welcome, but no. Instead he got kidnapped by a creepy, not-so-human guy in a suit. Not as anticlimactic as the death that awaited him if he refused, of course, but still…ouch. I did, by the way, reload a save so I could see what happens if you refuse G-Man’s offer. Just like I thought, he was not to be trifled with, and you are killed pretty much without ceremony, and no chance of victory. Like I said: ouch.

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G-Man? More like CSM, amirite?

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.

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Strange goings-on in the comments section…

Once again just flying in under the deadline thanks to my new smart phone, and its WordPress app…

So my last post was fairly innocuous; simply a short piece on a nice piece of software I use to help catalog my comic book collection.

Things took a turn for the surreal, however, when a fine…someone/thing by the name of “Combine Overwatch Dispatch” began posting rather odd things in the comments section. It began like this:

Comment by Combine Overwatch Dispach on January 24, 2011 3:16 am

[Anti-Citizin One] not detected//
Resuming [Secter] sweep//

Wtf? First of all, whoever this Combine Overwatch Dispatch person/thing is (hereinafter referred to as “COD” for brevity’s sake) is, they do not know how to spell. 😉 Obviously, therefore, it must be someone fairly high up in the government. (heh heh.)

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Half-Life enemies, continued

So I hadn’t exactly planned to make an entry like this, but the response to my Halloween post on my favorite Half-Life enemies was such that I decided to go ahead and answer the requests I got to cover some of the other major enemies in the game. So, here you are. (Oh, and someone also asked me about a possible ‘ecology of Half-Life’ post I had discussed making. That’s still in the works, but won’t be posted until after I’ve finished the game. I want to see everything else the game has to offer–as well as any other species or locations that might come up–before I finalize it.)

Vortigaunts

These guys are cool. Probably the most intelligent of the alien species I’ve encountered so far, they’re the only creatures that seem to act with any sort of tactics or forethought. Bullsquid and headcrabs are dangerous to be sure, but they simply attack blindly, and out of what appears to be instinct–like an animal. Maybe it’s only because they’re bipedal and sound like they’re “talking” more than any other creature, but the Vorts do seem to have a little more to them than meets the eye. Of course that opens up a whole new can of worms though then; I understand why the “animal” aliens would attack when suddenly teleported to a strange place with no warning–no doubt they feel threatened, or maybe they’re just aggressive by nature and attack on sight. if the Vorts are more intelligent though, that means they either think we’re a threat, or have had prior contact with us and know that they don’t like humans. There would be no other reason for them *all* to simply attack on sight the way they do. Then again, I suppose the military IS gunning them all down, and the Vorts probably make no distinction between me (that is, Gordon) and the bad guys; one man with a gun probably looks the same as any other, and all are threats to be eliminated. Maybe that, more than anything else, proves how intelligent they are. I know if I was in the Vort’s shoes, I’d be electrocuting every human in my path too.

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Half-Life, Halloween and Long Time No See!

Why hello there ladies and gents. Bet you thought I was dead, didn’t you? Well, I’m not, I’ve just been completely wrapped up in my Half-Life LP in the spare moments of time I’m able to snatch. But! My computer is on the fritz, and with it all my games and recording capability. The prognosis is I won’t get it back for at least a few weeks, so that leaves me time to review comics, and write here again. I’m taking this as an opportunity to stop neglecting my poor blog too, so stay tuned.

When I first sat down to write this, it was going to be a bit of a Half-Life retrospective. My YouTube fans tell me I’ve reached what is widely accepted as the halfway mark, so this seemed like a good time to look back at what we’ve seen, experienced and learned so far. However, this being Halloween, I’ve decided to do something a little different. The full HL retrospective will come later next week. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of my favorite Half-Life monsters instead!

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Let’s Play Half-Life, parts 25-29

Time for another installment of Half-Life commentary-on-the-commentary!

This was an interesting episode. Strange that they’d have another boss so soon after the Tentacle…but given how easily he’s defeated (in a few episodes from now) I guess he’s more of a mini-boss. I love the design of this creature, too. He’s like some sort of futuristic, alien cyclops. Awesome.

I really like how they actually make headcrabs dangerous here; I don’t think its simply a lack of skill that allowed them to damage me so much. They are very well placed, and their AI is good enough to be a threat even though they’re pretty weak as enemies go.

Isn’t it funny that, as good as Valve is at creating a near-perfect gaming experience, they didn’t anticipate a player like me that would want to *walk* through all of this big, empty space rather than run? I mean it makes sense; walking is pretty illogical in an FPS, but I can’t help myself. The way these creatures materialize (and the way marines ambush you!) I’d much rather be safe than sorry. Ironic it lead to me getting unnecessarily killed a couple times.

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