Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Gearbox’s Barney-starring add-on is the black sheep of the Half-Life family, although at the time I never encountered any reason why that should be the case. My teenage tastes were perhaps less discerning then, but more importantly any return to Black Mesa was irresistible. I wanted new monsters and new guns, everything that a young’un wants from a follow-up to their favourite shooter, and I also had a vain hope that maybe I’d get to shoot that creepy suit-guy in the face and rescue Gordon.
I barely understood, at that point, that this was not made by the same people as was Half-Life itself.
I did understand that it was short and there wasn’t anything that could be said to be new, so I felt a little let-down come the conclusion, but mostly I’d just been glad to shoot some more Headcrabs.
Though, truth be told, the main reason I wanted Blue Shift was because it included a higher-res texture pack that tarted up the original Half-Life too. I had recently acquired a new graphics card, and what I most wanted to do with it was replay Half-Life looking as shiny as possible. Naturally, I only managed a couple of hours of upgraded Half-Life before my grasshopper mind jumped to something else.
I’ve still got a copy of the Blue Shift disc somewhere, which I can’t bring myself to throw out due to a conviction that that upgrade pack is my gateway to the ultimate version of Half-Life. Even though we’ve had Half-Life: Source and Black Mesa long since.