Valve Compo Winners

Congratulations to Ben Hazell


and Nathaniel Gottlieb-Graham (who we promise won for his photo as well as his name)


for their winning entries to the Valve compo, where we asked you to send us your photos of City 17.

There were many excellent entries, but these two stood out. Guys, we’ll be in touch soon to find out your real-world addresses, and then the signed books will be on their way.


  1. The unexplained whooping of Gladys McCartney says:

    Do we get to see the ‘many excellent entries’?

  2. John Walker says:

    I may put up some other favourites.

  3. Cigol says:

    Are you sure the first one isn’t a screenshot? :)

  4. Ben "victory" Hazell says:

    Well that’s super-triffik.
    Thanks guys. (But are the pics the wrong way round?)

  5. John Walker says:

    Ben, you raise an excellent point. Fixed.

  6. Jonathan Burroughs says:

    Free desktop wallpapers!

  7. Thiefsie says:

    congrats from a jealous bugger!

  8. Tim says:

    Wow, nice photos guys! Well deserved.

  9. Cargo Cult says:

    Where on earth was the first picture taken, and were you supposed to be there?

  10. Ryan Williams says:

    There’s an abandoned, derelict hospital here that was closed down about a decade ago and has essentially remained untouched since. I bet it’d be excellent to get some snaps of, although it’s guarded as presumably various potentially dangerous apparatus (made even more so by 10 years of neglect) lies inside.

    It’s kind of weird because it was a pretty well kitted out place, and I went there a few times as a child. Imagining that having just been left to the mercy of nature for 10 years is pretty interesting and I wish I had the balls to break in.

    I like buildings that’ve just been frozen in time. I’d love to go to Chernobyl. ;D

  11. parm says:

    CargoCult: You just want it for its textures, you do.

  12. Kast says:

    “Oh my god” was my first reaction to those pics.

    I can just imagine them at night, light starkly by a few flickering construction lamps. The staggering shadow of a poison zombie shambles past the far end and you reconsider whether you really want to carry on or not.

    It’s perfect Half-Life/STALKER territory.

  13. Monkfish says:

    Congrats to the winners – excellent pics.

    In fact, I couldn’t resist doing a quick mock-up of the HL2 HUD and crowbar on Ben’s pic:

    link to

    There you go, Valve. That’s what to aim for in Half-Life 3.

  14. Kast says:

    Hehehe. That is in fact, not unbelievable. :P Considering the contrast between H-L and H-L2 level of graphics.

  15. Ben Hazell says:

    My pic was taken at an abandoned Waterworks in the Peak District just outside Sheffield; in the village of Low Bradfield. It’s an awesome place, but starting to get over-wrecked now as people come in and trash the pumping equipment and tear down the blueprint posters. Those valves and dials in the picture have now been ripped out.
    I was there recently at night, and I think I was more worried about Bloodsuckers than the police/hoodies.
    There’s a great big hall off to the left which is perfect for a little ballroom dancing…

  16. Willem says:

    Ben, you’ll need this:

    An old gramophone with some old waltzes and such
    Some old clothing
    A partner that can dance

    Next time you see some twats breaking up the building, sneak inside and go to the big hall. Put on the gramophone and start dancing.
    When the hoodlums approach you, just stop dancing and reach out your hand towards them, while staring right through them.

    Disclaimer: It’s not my fault if they kick your arse.

  17. Nathaniel says:

    Wow, I’m floored! The picture was taken in an old village in Portugal full of similar abandoned buildings. I actually remarked that the whole place seemed very Half-Life 2’ish while I was there.