A Gnome Is For Life

There’s an obscure achievement in Episode Two, where you’re asked to send a gnome into space. Which involves picking up that gnome at the very beginning of the game, and bringing it with you to the very end. If that sounds hard, it’s not nearly as fiddly and challenging as you might imagine. And one Excellent Hero has made a photographic documentary of the journey.

PC Gamer’s Tom Francis posts the adventure on his blog, explaining the tricks and tactics taken along the way, as well taking some absolutely hilarious photographs. Well worth a read.


  1. Nuyan says:

    Wait, Lamarr dies too!?!?

    Awesome report though.

  2. Alec Meer says:

    I suspect it wasn’t the original Lamarr anyway, given she escapes in HL2. Kleiner just cruelly debeaks another headcrab whenever he needs a new pet, I’ll bet.

  3. MisterBritish says:


    link to flickr.com

    is one of the finest screenshots ever taken

  4. Watcher95 says:

    Weighted Companion Cube > Gnome

  5. Monkfish says:

    Lamarr doesn’t die.

    In Episode 3, Lamarr will pilot the capsule of the rocket back to Earth, returning with the gnome who she has now fallen in love with. It’s then revealed that the gnome was the evil instigator of the Combine invasion, and had been the military strategist behind the seven hour war. As part of Episode 3’s spectacular finale you get to confront and fight the gnome. The gnome challenges Gordon to a staring competition that will showcase Valve’s newly developed “Gnome Physics” technology, which simulates motionless gnomes with uncanny precision.

  6. Jonathan Burroughs says:

    the gnome is a lie

  7. Janek says:

    I think that fits actually, Monkfish. After all, does anyone really know what the G in G-Man stands for? HMM?

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    “Grumpy.” Or maybe “Government”? It’s a long shot.

  9. Janek says:

    Grumpy would be me.

  10. John Walker says:

    He’s not called G-Man, don’t forget. That was just a nickname for him, the G likely does stand for something plain like Government, but it has no bearing upon who he really is.

  11. Jonathan Burroughs says:

    It does. He is a gnome, or at the very least a gnome enthusiast.

  12. Andrew says:

    That is absolutely brilliant. Tom Francis, you insane sumbitch.

    I was thinking of doing this, but the idea of the hunter-chopper chase put me off it entirely.

  13. CrashT says:

    Magnusson \ Kleiner talk about the payload being slightly over weight and I never knew Lammarr was onboard but it all make sense now. I doubt it happens but do they change how much the payload is off by if you’ve put the Gnome in the capsule? Petty but the kinda thing I’d love them even more for.

  14. Chris says:

    I had a similar idea that I started yesterday, where I’d take pictures of the gnome as if he were Gordon Freeman, traveling through the game from start to finish. You can see my first 30 or so screenshots here (note: spoilers if you haven’t played the game yet):

    link to hlcomic.com

  15. Dude says:

    Is this a reference to the French movie Amelie and the travelling garden gnome featured in it? Looks like it to me.

  16. John Walker says:

    It seems much more like the commercials of US travel agents Travelocity, and their sponsorship in The Amazing Race.

  17. Dude says:

    Ok which is obviously unknow here in Europe. The gnome looks exactly like the one in the movie.
    Crazy challenge… I will have to try this one.

  18. Seth Burgess says:

    Someone please make a Never Mind The Buzzcocks joke…

  19. Aimless says:

    Well that’s slightly eerie, I’d planned to do something similar myself albeit with more of a narrative bent and less swearing. Still, I’ll rescue this one shot from the scrapheap as it’s my (spoilerific) favourite:

    link to img80.imageshack.us

    Don’t try to separate a Dog from his toy.

  20. Chris says:

    My gnome went after the grub-squishing achievement himself.

    link to hlcomic.com

  21. Kast says:

    Would it have killed someone at Valve to code a Gnome-holder onto the car? Grrr, argh.

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    And done. Goodbye you detestable gnome, I just wish I was there to watch you being pummelled to smithereens so I could properly enjoy your timely demise.

    For anyone interested in carting the gnome around the whole game the achievement seems to register after you’ve closed the hatch and left the silo; you don’t actually have to launch him.

    “Would it have killed someone at Valve to code a Gnome-holder onto the car? Grrr, argh.”

    Indeed, or a car boot which worked.

  23. Pentadact says:

    Chris: that is incredibly awesome. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve linked my favourite three of your shots from my post now. You have to finish, this would be legendary.

    Almost as much as I miss Concerned, I miss your Extras blog – To The Death and stuff. What are you doing these days?

    CrashT – Alas, there’s no new weight discrepancy. But from my extensive experience chucking him around, he seems to be very, very light. If they rounded to the nearest half-pound, he might not make a difference.

  24. Andrew says:

    I agree with Pentadact – the lack of new To The Death thingies is almost criminal. They were so very great.

  25. Chris says:

    Hey, thanks guys. Most of my time these is mired in work and school, but I am trying to find time to come up with a new project or two. And I do plan to complete my Gnome-Life 2 Episode 2 project!

  26. Rock, Paper, Shotgun: PC Gaming’s Beadiest Eyes » Blog Archive » More Ways To Conceal The Emptiness of Existence says:

    […] Can any one think of an achievement that could be added to an older Valve game to rival the now-legendary gnome portage trial? […]

  27. po says:

    Launching the gnome into space reminded me of Terry Prattchett’s truckers trilogy (aka the bromeliad trilogy).

    I’m surprised there aren’t any more gnomes about, seeing as their head-wear looks pretty headcrab proof.

  28. Chemix says:

    I severely pissed at Valve, because I got the gnome all the way to the rocket, put him in and shut the door, but no achievement unlocked… I’m guessing it’s because I was in commentary mode at the time, but given it never stops gameplay and doesn’t help you at all in getting the gnome to white forest, why turn off that specific achievement as well?

    Okay, so I’m really only mildly pissed, but I was really pissed 3 weeks ago when I went through the trouble of actually doing it.

    Valve, would it kill you to add some better collision work on the car so thinks stick in it/on it, or are atleast bound by some of the physical barriers. If not that, then some way to fix the gnome to the car would be nice.

  29. sbs says:


    edit: oh i found it <3
    link to flickr.com

  30. Rules of Achievement : Ghost Razor says:

    […] preference.¬† When an achievement exists that highlights an unexpected area of gameplay – e.g.¬†getting the gnome into space – I find that really interesting and […]