Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I received Half-Life 2 for Christmas, so I went to the local video-game reseller (Fun Unlimited) and picked up the Half-Life Platinum Edition (with all the first-generation games) for $10. I've been enjoying it quite a bit. For those who haven't heard of the games (you should!), Half-Life is the story of MIT theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman. When a science experiment at a remote research facility goes dreadfully wrong, weird alien things start popping out of nowhere and the government comes in to stage a cover-up. Freeman takes a trusty crowbar to hand and starts breaking his way out. Video game drama ensues.

This was a momentous game at the time for many reasons. Call of Duty and similar games with scripted sequences owe a huge debt to Half-Life's raising the dramatic stakes on the industry. But its biggest contribution was to create a culture that allowed ordinary users to access the game engine and create new games using the same tools the Half-Life developers had. It spawned games great in their own rights, like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat. The sequel is poised to do the same.

I really felt like I should finish the old ones before I played Half-Life 2. Like wanting to watch A New Hope before The Empire Strikes Back.

I admire something about perfection in sport and elsewhere, so I was rooting for the Colts to go undefeated in the NFL and I'm rooting for USC tonight in the Rose Bowl. Only a few more days, then I can settle into a routine of computer use and work again. And blogging, I guess.

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