He Ain’t HEVy: Paper Half-Life

Paperholme, I call it. Because I'm a comedy genius

The internet has too many wonderful things to look at. Stop it, internet! Stop having too many wonderful things! The sad consequence of this is that we’re sometimes a little late at showing you particular wonderful things, such as this wonderful stop-motion, papercraft animation of wonderful Half-Life and wonderful Half-Life 2 by the wonderful Stepan Yurov. They’re quite wonderful. Wonderfully, you can watch them both below. How wonderful!

Here’s Half-Life 1 (which is the best of the Half-Lives no matter what you say. This isn’t just my opinion, because if it were it’d be a completely meaningless thing to say, like “I think bacon flavoured crisps are better than salt and vinegar flavoured crisps.” No, I have empirical, factual, objective, scientific proof that Half-Life is unquestinably better than Half-Life 2, which I keep in a locked, lead-lined suitcase in my attic. I would show it you so that you know I’m not just expressing my own opinion, but it’s just so astoundingly, unpredecentedly irrefutable that your brain would simply explode on the spot were I to do so.)

From way back in 2009, that one. I notice only half as many people have watched as for this, Half-Life 2 in stop-motion papercraft. Fools! Fools, the lot of you!

Alright, that’s pretty good too. And has more gags.

It’s the sound effects that make these, oddly. Those noises are so familiar, so deeply embedded in so many PC gamers’ minds – while the PC’s forever off to new, exciting, unguessable places, it’s safe to say the Half-Lives very much defined a certain era. Sniff.

Many thanks to everyone who sent this in. Please keep sending us things; things are good.


  1. JFS says:

    Peperoni flavoured crisps are best. And paprika. But you don’t have that in overthenorthseas. Oh, and everybody loves paper art!

    • Shatners Bassoon says:

      I miss Germany, I have a soft spot for Erdnussflips and I would kill for some Funny Frisch Paprika crisps right now. Hmmmm.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Monster Munch are the best crisps and death to anyone who says any different. >:c

      (Hot & spicy is also the best flavour and if you like pickled onion more you are an abomination that must be slain. Fortunately, there are no bacon Monster Munch.)

    • Rich says:

      Mc Coys you fool!

    • edwardoka says:

      FOOL. Everyone knows Roast Beef Monster Munch are the best.

    • drewski says:

      Blah blah blah, Mr. Freeman.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I like my crisps to be made of waves of grain.

    • DrunkDog says:

      Paprika Lays for the win.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      No love for bolognese?

    • Bhazor says:

      “No love for bolognese?” Correct. This is because they are rubbish.

      The best crisps are definitely Dorito’s Chilli Heatwave.

    • Nimmo says:

      Space Raiders. No more needs said.

  2. Flint says:

    The first one is the better game but the Paper HL2 is the better video.

    • Bhazor says:

      Apart from the Thriller bit. Dear god surely it’s been done so many times it can’t even be used “ironically” anymore. The eyebrow was pretty great though.

  3. xeon06 says:

    Awesome. Reminds me of this:

  4. CMaster says:

    Is it wrong that when watching the first one, I kept thinking “hey, they’ve got that bit in the wrong order”?

  5. Berzee says:

    “bacon flavored chips are better than salt and vinegar flavored chips”
    this is true
    I have never had bacon flavored chips and I know this is true

    P.S. you sly dog

    • The Colonel says:

      AHHHH Bacon and chips. Why is that a combination that hasn’t been done? Curry and chips, beans and chips, even vinegar and chips. BACON AND CHIPS! BETTER THAN CHEESY CHIPS!

  6. Ravenholme says:

    Oh lawd, Thriller zombies was epic.

  7. BooleanBob says:

    Amazing how much I remember of a 13 year old game I only played through once.

    Or not, I mean, it’s fucking Half Life.

    I agree with Flint :o

  8. Inglourious Badger says:

    Half Life IS better than Half Life 2! Thank you Alec

  9. Rond says:

    Sometimes I dream about cheese.

  10. Doesntmeananything says:

    Ah, Half-Life games are astonishingly great adventures. Their main achievement, however, is that they are great shooters in addition to that.

    Videos are good, the style is cute, but these little creations do feel inconsistent in being humorous, and some transitions are too abrupt.

  11. Down Rodeo says:

    I was getting annoyed with myself because I couldn’t remember where I’d heard “it’s all in your head” from, right at the end of the video. It’s Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz, so I feel better now.

    But they were awesome wee videos :)

  12. The Hammer says:

    Half Life 3 will be better than both of them!


  13. Mut says:

    I ‘ve always preferred the first game, mostly due to all the crazy alien wildlife. I mean, where were the Houndeyes in the second game? Or the Bullsquids? Or those big monster fish things? (And no, that brief glimpse in the teleportation sequence doesn’t count.)

    • Guiscard says:

      MIA during development unfortunately. They did all the models for them, and certainly had a role planned originally, but they just got sidelined and replaced. I miss those critters. Good times.

  14. Sander Bos says:

    Oh man, the nostalgia associated with the Half-Life 1 footstep sounds is just too much for me….
    I wonder if I would have even known that it was Half-Life 1 if I heard just the sample without any context (not even such an immense fan of the game, top 15 but not top 5), but I certainly had a real reaction to that sound.

  15. Stephen Roberts says:

    Sound design is totally underrated in game design. Or rather, the impact of sound design is understated. Because you can’t actually be in the game, smelling the air, feeling the sand, the concrete and the metal, sound defines the texture of the environment. Which is weird cause you’d think textures would do that.

    Oh yeah and these videos were sexy as all get out. Especially the felt-tip pen magic. And the use of Windows Movie Maker surely deserves a mention? I think these vid’s are the only things ever made using that software. Everyone else gave up.

    • Initialised says:

      That’s why I like Max Payne (the movie) all the guns sound just right.

    • contzero says:

      I thought you liked it because it was also made in windows movie maker


    • Dozer says:

      Misread that as you liking Max Payne for being made with Windows Movie Maker…

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Stephen, I hope you’ve played Thief or System Shock… (1 or 2 of either!) But I agree, sound design is tremendously undervalued, and overlooked in gaming as a whole. Thankfully, though, Valve don’t fall foul of this.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      This is something that gets me very excited about Brink, the sound design is taking to silly and awesome new levels.

  16. Initialised says:

    Lego Half Life is better, I’d buy it for my kids if they re made it like Lego Star Wars or in kit form.

  17. kael13 says:

    Start reading Reddit/r/gaming. Reddit in general is a great place to get news of cool stuff before anywhere else. This was on there last week :)

    • Sander Bos says:

      Yeah, exactly.
      People should also visit this website called ‘you tube’. It has all these cool video’s on it, many of them are about games. In fact, they already had the first video from this post for a year and a half! That’s a whole half life ago (if you’re aged 3).

  18. McDan says:

    This is sweet-internet awesomeness at its best.

  19. FernandoDante says:

    Why do you insist on being so obnoxious when it comes to Half-Life? Just how cocky are you trying to be?

  20. Will Tomas says:

    I reckon HL1 is like Terminator 1 – it’s pure, focused, driven. HL2 is like Terminator 2 – bigger, more sprawling, flashier, and in many ways better, but just isn’t as tight.

    Plus, HL1 sounds are burnt onto my consciousness. I’d know those footsteps anywhere.

  21. Dozer says:

    Half-Life In 60 Seconds deserves a honourable mention I think – link to youtube.com

    That’s 60 seconds to cover both HL and HL2 by the way…

  22. Tori says:

    Thank you for this, those videos reminded me how great Half-Life games are.

    Oh please Episode 3, come out soon after Portal 2 ;(

  23. Pop says:

    I remember Zen being a lot longer in the original game…

    • FernandoDante says:

      Yeah, the Xen bit was pretty boring and anticlimatic. And it wasn’t a “bit” either. The journo who wrote the article says he just “ignores” Xen when defending HL1 over HL2. How can you just ignore a part of the game? If it’s there, it’s there. If it’s a sucky ending, much inferior to HL2’s ultra-awesome final segment, then so be it.

    • Flint says:

      I’d much rather play through Xen than HL2’s anticlimactically boring Citadel levels. In fact I usually do finish HL1 but tend to stop at Citadel whenever I replay through HL2. The super-gravgun is fun for about five minutes but then becomes as monotonous as the level design around it.

    • majestyk says:

      Actually I think both finales are weak. in HL1, the game just turns into a tedious jump-n-run, while in HL2 the gravgun is just overpowered while the indoor levels are but mediocre (compared to the rest of the game).
      HL3 will fix that for sure though.

  24. Pop says:

    Actually this made me want to check out Black Mesa – the HL1 remake. Is that still going? The site looks like they haven’t updated in year.

    • passingstranger says:

      You’re among the many who are wondering what’s happening with it. It was mentioned in one of the mod roundups recently, as it was expected that they’d have more news at Christmas.

      I really, really hope it comes out. I just really do.

    • Pop says:

      I hope that even if the project is dead that they might release what they’ve got so far. I rewatched the trailer and was impressed at how good it looks and worried that it gave a 2009 release date. Looks like it’s all gone a bit Duke Nukem.

  25. Pantsman says:

    They’re both great of course, but I still hold that Half-Life 2 is the better game. But then I actually liked Zen, so what do I know?

  26. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    Alec, you are so wrong. Half-life 2 is better. I did a titration to prove it.

    HL2’s gameplay is more consistent with its themes than any other game of that scale. It may be a consequence of me playing it while doing my politics a-level, but I felt that the themes of power and control were interwoven spectacularly with the expanding and contracting power of the player. I interpreted it as a game about the state, the influence it has over individuals, and legitimacy. I feel this is much bolder than HL1’s ambitions.

    Also, shooting a man is cooler than shooting an alien.

  27. Navagon says:

    The sound in Half Life 2 is still pretty much unequalled. Not many other games have paid so much attention to the sound. I did like Doom 3’s ambient sounds that they replaced the music with at the last minute. But the rest of it wasn’t so strikingly unique.

  28. axed says:

    I thought HL1 was a slap in the face of nearly all other FPS games at the time. It broke most of the rules and took a much more unorthodox (at the time) route to FPS. No cutscenes, no speaking on the players part, and I do recall the weapons being pretty badass and unique. The most captivating element of HL1 was, for me, the simple fact that all you had to do was get the hell out of Black Mesa.

    I was too young to be a constant PC gamer back then so maybe some of the things I mentioned above were already explored in other FPS games but I simply recall the game as being revolutionary (especially the A.I.).

    HL2 wasnt bad at all, the physics it introduced were mind bogglingly awesome (garys mod anyone?) But the simple fact that I could recall more events in the HL1 clip as opposed to the HL2 clip tell me that HL1 left a much bigger impact on me. Perhaps I expected HL2 to be unrealistically better than it was or maybe I just played HL1 at a more impressionable age (I believe I was 14).

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Not really. You got the hell out of Black Mesa pretty quickly, then you had to get the hell back in, and then get the hell around it, and then get the hell over to Xen.

  29. Hybrid says:

    Awesome videos!

  30. Gabbo says:

    Half-life 1 is better than Half-life2. We are in absolute agreement on this Alec.
    Both of those videos made me want to load up both games and play through them as soon as the finished (they play them almost every year anyway – in anticipation of ep/3).

    I did however wish that I was viewing the trailer to a mod. It would be interesting to play the Half-life games in such a ‘drawn in someones notebook margains’ visual style with a kind of pantomime aspect to the story.

  31. DrunkDog says:

    “Half-life 1 is better than Half-life2”. I guess, but it’s all fairly academic at this point for me. Both are in a class of their own. It’s like kicking Alba out of bed for Munn.

  32. TSA says:

    Erm. Those are cut-out animations.

    The term papercraft implies 3Dness, folds, and maybe glue.

  33. MonkeyMonster says:

    Absolutely awesome – makes me want to replay them… for the 5th time :D

  34. vodka and cookies says:

    Very good almost like a Lego Half Life, which they really should do.

  35. Fumarole says:

    Looks like the bastard child of Pencil Whipped and Half-Life in 30 Seconds

    link to youtube.com