I started a new game of Half Life a week or so ago and have been playing my way through it. I’d totally forgotten
how long it takes to get to the damn surface that it is the most fantastic game on the planet.
10 reasons why this game is awesome:
10. It’s Black Mesa! I’d totally want to work there if it actually existed. I have a mug (available from the Valve store).
9. “Start the rotors” is a running joke with me (mostly just in my head). Anytime I do something that I know is going to cause catastrophe later, I say to myself “I just started the rotors, didn’t I?”
8. Watching Stephen King’s “The Mist” with my dad like a decade ago (old Claudia is old) I thought, “holy crap, this is a total rip-off of Half Life!” Turns out Half-Life itself is based partially on “The Mist.” Oops.
7. Gordon’s 27 years old and all the other scientists are geezermobiles. I just find that hilarious.
6. This game is my late childhood-early adolescence. I think my mom’s old friend got some sort of bootleg copy for me to play (‘cause that’s what he did with everything) and then we went out and got a legit copy ‘cause we thought it was so awesome.
5. I really like the fact that two expansion games to the original, Opposing Force and Blue Shift, allowed you to play the game from two perspectives other than Gordon’s—as a soldier (Opposing Force) and as one of the security guards (Blue Shift).
4. I know it’s not directly related to Half Life gameplay itself, but when I found the Half Life references while playing Portal, I had a little squee. Okay, a major squee. Good video of the “Competing with Black Mesa” slideshow.
3. Cheating. Is. Hilarious. Activate god mode, noclip, and impulse 101 when you’re going through the tram system during the opening credits and you can go screw with all the scientists in the scenes you pass. I like to throw snarks at the security guards then sprint in the opposite direction.
2. Speaking of snarks…
You can have your overly-fancy graphics, intelligent enemies, experience points, and dynamic environments. Just give me Gordon Freeman.
List of things that don’t mix:
Oil + water
Water + potassium
Bleach + ammonia
Wine + emotions
Scientology + common sense
Half-Life + The Brave Little Toaster
Seriously, guys…weirdest dream I’ve ever had. There were headcrabs, there were talking blankets. At some point a vacuum consumed a bullsquid.
Life and the unconscious realm are weird.
Edit: holy Jesus:
Most accurate representation of that movie EVER.
The original Half-Life is, in my opinion, entirely underrated. I’m of the purist camp that says that the original is vastly superior to Half-Life 2 or even the earlier iterations of Blue Shift, Opposing Force, and Team Fortress Classic.
I mean hell—you get to be GORDON FREEMAN. I love Gordon Freeman. And the crowbar.
Fun fact: obviously, Half-Life is named after, well, the half-life of something. But the two other early iterations of the game are also named after scientific things. Opposing Force is named after Newton’s third law of motion; Blue Shift is named after the blueshift, a decrease in wavelength, opposite of a redshift. Snazzy, eh?
And for those poor souls who have yet to see this:
Apologies for the relatively crappy blog posts. My life has been a nightmare for the past few months and I’m basically just waiting for this phase of things to be over in a month and a half or so. Things will get better, I promise.
At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Quake rules and here’s why:
10. When you’re totally out of ammo, you still get an axe
Almost as good as the crowbar in Half-Life (though nothing will ever beat that), when you’ve exhausted all ammo (Shamblers, anyone?) you’re left with a little bloody axe that you swing like a dork. It’s freaking great.
I love Scrags, and I’m not really sure why. I remember we had to make soda bottle water rockets in 5th grade, and I managed to decorate mine to look like a Scrag (obsessive much?). There’s a level that’s almost entirely Scrags; I like to go into God mode and just play with them. Yeah, I’m that cool.
8. You kill the final boss by waiting until a purple spiked ball floats through her
To my little first grade mind when I first played through Quake, this was so freaking amazing. You had to time it so that you went through a teleport gate as the little spiky goes through her body. While you’re surrounded by Shamblers. And lava. Yay.
7. Story line? Pfft.
That was the good thing about mindless FPS games back in the early nineties—they were mindless. I like shooters, especially when there’s no other point than to see how good you can be with strafing while shooting. When (actual) story lines are developed, it loses some of the genre’s charm.
6. Cheating is super fun
No clip activated in water + God mode = JESUS FLIGHT! I always used to fly up and out of the map, or into the weird little ceiling textures above some of the upper levels. It was great. I really need to play more Quake.
5. The Nailgun(s)
DUDE I LOVE THESE. I got my gamer name (Nailpit) partially due to these guns. There’s nothing more satisfying than firing a crapton of nails at stuff. Except maybe being Gordon Freeman.
These things scared me when I was little. I really, really didn’t like them. They shoot lightning bolts from their hands and make this awful guttural growl. Plus they’re one of the hardest enemies to kill.
3. Quake is perfect for speedruns
Quake Done Quick and The Rabbit Run are two very nice speedruns through all the levels of Quake, proving that with games like these, run-throughs can be done at a ridiculously fast pace. Pretending to be good at doing so is pretty fun, too.
2. Quake begot Half-Life
And we all know how awesome Half-Life is.
1. The fact that you can play it effectively with just arrow keys, a spacebar, and the control button
This is my favorite component of Quake. It has a y-axis, but you don’t really need to use it. “Aiming” is essentially accomplished by pointing your weapon in the general direction of the enemy and firing; there’s never any real need to look up or down, unless you’re paranoid about platforms or possible enemies on floors above.
I guess I like it ‘cause you don’t need a mouse to play it, just a bit of finger dexterity on the keyboard. That appealed very strongly to my first grade mind, and now that the majority of games I play are on the Xbox 360 or are PC games that require the use of y-axis looking, I really appreciate the simplicity of “up, down, right, left, spacebar jump, control key shoot” gameplay.
Today’s song: Caramelldansen by Caramell
So I spent the better part of this afternoon searching the MIT class listings, and nowhere could I find a class in which one is taught how to wield a crowbar. I guess Gordon took that as a correspondence class at Harvard or something.
CWBR 101: Research Facility Disaster Training
CWBR 101 Lab: Headcrab Defense Theory
Prerequisites: a PhD in Theoretical Physics
Also, how the hell do you get a PhD in Theoretical Physics by age 27? EXPLAIN THAT, GORDON!
I always used to hate how all the other scientists treated him like crap until the resonance cascade. I guess they’re pissed that they’re all geezers and he’s 27. I bet he had some rivalries going down, too.
Old Scientist Ted: Oh man, I’m totally going for that Anomalous Materials Lab assistant position.
Old Scientist Gary: Go for it, dude!
Old Scientist Ted: I can push that non-standard specimen SO PRECISELY…I’ve been practicing!
Old Scientist Gary: You’re totally going to get that position!
Gordon: Hey Ted, Gary. There’s this thing going down at the Anomalous Materials Lab and I guess they want me to assist with some non-standard specimen or something. Pretty cool, huh?
Old Scientist Ted: …I will destroy you, Gordon Freeman.
Also, this description of him from his Wiki page is freaking fantastic:
“Gordon is a native of Seattle who exhibited an early interest in theoretical physics, especially quantum mechanics and the theory of general relativity. His childhood heroes were Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Richard Feynman. After observing a series of teleportation experiments conducted by the Institute for Experimental Physics in Innsbruck, Austria, the transmission of matter became Gordon’s obsession. Gordon has no known dependents. He graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. degree in Theoretical Physics. His doctoral thesis on the teleportation of matter through extremely dense elements was titled Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array.”
I’m half-tempted to edit with this addition: “At an early age, Gordon exhibited several violent tendencies, with one instance involving a crowbar and his father’s pet crab standing out above all others. Had his father not overlooked this incident, passing it off as mere childhood buffoonery, Freeman may not have retained the crowbar-wielding, crab-like-creature-killing skills that helped save the universe from Xen following the resonance cascade at Black Mesa.”
Also: holy crap, Half-Life is twelve years old now.
Today’s song: Creepy (Mightyfools Remix) by Boltan (this song gets insanely eargasmic at approximately 2 minutes in, it’s great)
OH GOD IT’S ANOTHER LIST WHO WOULD HAVE EVER GUESSED
Hi people. Today I shall provide you with (gasp!) a list of my favorite games of all time. I’ve been gaming a lot lately, due to the fact that school has yet to begin up here.
I grew up on this game, so it has become part of my soul. This is one of those retro early ‘90s FPSs with no story and horrible (read: awesome) graphics. I was so damn good at this game when I was a kid.
Rock Band/Rock Band II
This game is for crazy people like Sean and myself who take it way too seriously. This game is for all college students who, despite having way too much to study for, are able to somehow play in a fake band for 4 hours straight every Monday-Saturday. In other words, this game is awesome.
The most recent addition to this list, Fallout 3 is half FPS, half RPG, and it is for those reasons that I love it. It’s also got a lot of humor (threesome offers from soda enthusiasts and love letters from people who want to blow up your city, anyone?) and there are a lot of different ways to “make” your character. Awesome.
Oh, and Button.
OH GOD RETRO! Another of those early ‘90s/late ‘80s games, Cosmic Osmo is a Mac (Macintosh, back then, I guess, eh?) game that’s entirely in black and white, which allowed for the world to be HUGE, especially for back in those days. Totally a kid’s game, totally awesome. It’s really hard to find now; apparently eBay copies are selling for like $300. It also can’t be played on Macs nowadays, which blows.
The Sims 1 and 2
The Sims is great. I always made my Sims as replicates of people I knew in real life, then I married people that I thought would go well together, and sometimes I would kill my enemies. Then I got a metric ton of mods and my Sims became orange, giant babies, 500-pound fat guys, skeletons, floating torsos, and were able to have ridiculous amounts of children (FOUR HUNDRED BABIES!). Fun times.
Gordon Freeman is like the Chuck Norris of video games. Alternate univerise alien creatures show up, Gordon’s all, “not in MY research facility, bitches!” Then he whips out his crowbar and weilds it in a way only an MIT graduate could. I wonder how bad his PTSD was after this incident? Like, every time someone mentioned the word “rotors,” did he start spazzing and chucking crowbars at fellow scientists?
That would be a great alternate sequel. “Half-Life 2: Mental Breakdown.”
So have you ever seen a game made entirely out of clay? Well then you’ve obviously never played this. It’s sort of a puzzle game, in which you play Klayman, a clay dude (durh) who has to somehow get the true king Hoborg’s crown back from the evil Klogg. The music is rad, and the little touches this game has make it awesome.
Gears of War
Because “I ON DA COLE TRAIN!” is the best thing to shout in any situation. And because I like shooters.