Posted on 01-11-2007
Filed Under (Game Stories) by NightCrawler on 01-11-2007

Today we are going to talk about a PC Game that is very close to my heart.  This game has probably changed more gamer’s views on the way games are supposed to be played, than any other game that has been produced in the last 10 years.  This game was so innovated in its technology at the time of release that it made other companies stand up and take notice.  What game could that be you might ask yourself?  That game would be Half-Life.  When it was published in November 1998, I specifically purchased a computer system that would play this game at its highest settings.  Was I disappointed?  I would have to say a loud NO!  Half-Lifewas a landmark game that garnered about every award imaginable from about every magazine and internet site around.  It was given the coveted title of “Game of the Year” in most all of the gaming sites that I know of. 

hl-box.jpgWhat was my personal view of Half-Life?  I would have to say I wasted many hours and days playing that game just to see, experience, and witness every aspect of a PC game that was going to revolutionize the way gaming was going to be in the future.  I must have played through that game like 6-8 times, always doing different things, and also going in different directions.  I was never “bored” while I was playing Half-Lifeand I could not believe how a developer could place so much action and suspense into a single solitary PC game that would garner my full attention for such a long period of time.  And I have to say that same feeling, concerning this single PC game, is still happening today in its offspring.  But back to the original Half-Life, it was a game that “raised the bar” on how every First Person Shooter that entered the market would be judged.  If a PC game was not up to the standard that Half-Lifepresented, it did not last very long.  It took the single-player experience to such an elevated level that it was very hard for another developer to match its quality and immersive style of gameplay. 

opposingforce.jpgIn 1999, Half-Life: Opposing Forcemade its arrival and I was almost the first person in line at my local PC Store to get my hands on a copy of this much wanted follow-up.  This title in the series did not disappoint me, even though; a lot of the reviews on it were not as favorable as the original it still quenched my thirst for a continuance of that outstanding gameplay.  But being a devout player of this franchise I played it for many hours and enjoyed it to the maximum.  It was a different experience to play as a marine and play through many of the same levels that I just completed as Half-Life’sGordon Freeman.  It never got boring because you could go different directions, and still get to the area for which you were driven.

bsbox_sm.jpgWhen Half-Life: Blue Shieldwas announced, I was a little skeptical on this release, because I thought it was only just another vision from another aspect of the original game.  It truly was, but it too was very entertaining and enjoyable to play through.  I knew, Valve, the developer, was just trying to get as much out of this game as it could, but it did not make that much of a difference.  I wanted to play as “Barney”, the security guard; through much the same locations as I just went through with both the original and Opposing Force, and it was still a rewarding and enjoyable single-player experience.  I can honestly say that Valve, during the original Half-Life experience, did an outstanding job in providing us, the gaming community, with a very rewarding and exciting game for its time.

logo.gifWhen Half-Life 2was first announced I could not have been more excited at the news.  The mystical adventures of Gordon Freeman would be going forward.  When it was released I was again waiting at my favorite PC Store’s front door again, and purchased it on the day that it came out.  When I got home with the game in hand, I was so excited that I forgot not only lunch, but dinner as well, and was playing it till around midnight, when my wife came into the game room and asked “Hey, are you going to eat something today?”.  I have to say I forgot about everything in my life that day, even about some of the necessities in life.  I have to say, she still brings that up to me every now and then just to make me feel bad!  But I have to say that I have to this day completed the single-player campaign a total of FIVE plus times, and I think I am going back for another round soon just to see if I saw and experienced everything that I could have during this spectacular game. 

episodeone1.jpgWhen Half-Life 2: Episode Onewas released, I again was standing in line and was considered on “Cloud 9” when I walked out of my PC Store with my copy in hand.    My online friends ask me all the time why I am so much marketing this “expansion pack” and I have to say that Half-Life 2is by far a Quality Game, for which, I have to get, because “it is in my blood” to purchase this game to see where it goes.  Episode Onedid not disappoint me, however I did consider it sort of short in length (about 4-6 hours of SP gameplay) for the price that I paid for it ($19.95).  The developers, Valve, accomplished another outstanding job in furthering the story of that devout character Gordon Freeman. 

halflife2-episode2-blackbox-cover.jpgHowever with the release recently of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, I have taken a stance and I am very, very disappointed in the publishers on this release.  When Episode 2 was announced, it was stated that it would be delivered in two (2) “boxes“, the Black and the Orange “Box“.   The “Black Box” was supposed to contain only Episode 2, for people that already had the Half-Life 2 game, and the “Orange Box” would contain Episode 2, along with the new games of Portal and Team Fortress 2.  But a little after that announcement, came the news that Valve had made the decision that they would only put out the Orange Box for retail, which would contain the original HL2, Episode 1, the new Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2for the single price of $59.99.  Now I was angered at that decision, since I only wanted Episode 2, and why should I pay for additional games that I not only did not want, but would have no use for.  I already had HL2 and Ep1, and have completely no interest in the cartoonish TF2 or that stupid game of Portal.  I know you can purchase the game (Episode 2 ONLY) on Steam, the Valvegame delivery service, but I would be receiving the game by download with NO disk in hand.  I want the game on a disk, since that makes me feel that I own it.  So I have made the decision to wait until they either come down on the price, or some retailer has a gigantic sale of that Orange Box, that it would be a deal I could not refuse.  When will I think this might happen?  Probably not till late next year sometime probably.  But I can wait. 

valve.gifAt the beginning, this whole item that Valve had the idea of, in “episodic content“, saying that they could produce a “short” episodic game in a short amount of time, over making a brand new game, as a Half-Life 3, which would take about 2-4 years, is getting sort of old now.  I have came to the conclusion that they, Valve, have came to the conclusion that they could make more money from this “episodic content” theory OVER putting out a new game, as like a Half-Life 3.  It is sorry to say, but I am also aware, that PC gaming is a BIG business, and companies like Valve, are in the business ONLY to make enormous amounts of money from us consumers in the shortest amount of time.

team_fortress_2_group_photo.jpgI have to tell all of them that I have been playing this game of Half-Lifefor nine years now, and I can’t quit now!  But I have learned a new name in this “big business” and it is something called “restraint”.  I am not and will not cave in to a developer’s ploy to steal the money from me that I have worked very hard for to have in my retirement.  There are other games out there that make me happy to play both in Single-Player experience and in Online Multi-Player.

And what are my thought about a new Half-Life 3 game in the future?  Well I will probably be in-line for that too, as long as it does not try to package the “whole” Half-Life Trilogy into a giganticly priced “box”!  I said I was a Serial Gamer, not a Serial Killer! 

Next Up: My Travels Through the Battlefields…

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