Hard to imagine worse things to eat while in VR. Do you really want sticky fingers clutching your index controllers, melon juice splashing over your expensive electronics? It’s probably for the best, then, that the one watermelon in Half-Life: Alyx is impossible to find in normal play – a sweet, tantalising snack tucked away only for those brave enough to break out the cheats.
As demonstrated by Half-Life YouTuber MarphitimusBlackimus (via Kotaku), Alyx’ sole watermelon can be found early on, near the basement from which Alyx gawks out at the various ankles of City 17. It’s impossible to view regularly, though. Only by activating cheats and enabling noclip can you view the tasty fruit, flying through the window to rummage in a stranger’s shopping bag.
But when compared to fruit of Half-Life past, Alyx’ melon disappoints. While it flaunts a higher-res texture, it doesn’t create satisfying melon gibs – simply vanishing in a puff of smoke when shot. Most criminal of all, though, is that secrecy. Scarce as they were, watermelons were apparently a recurring secret in Half-Life 2 and HL2: Deathmatch. Huh.
If you wanted to, you could probably run a melon-centric speedrun of Half-Life 2 – making sure to hit every detour in pursuit of a sweet fruity snack. Actually, looking at the game’s extended categories on speedrun.com, it doesn’t look like that’s even been attempted.
That’ll be me setting some world records after work.
I’m shocked that I didn’t know this was a thing. I’ve poured hundreds – if not thousands – of hours into Half-Life 2’s map files. Can you even call a smattering of props a trend? Is this simply a strange obsession from a HL2 fan? Most important of all, though, where are the starved, oppressed citizens of City 17 finding all this fruit – and why have they grown so popular in the time between Half-Life: Alyx and Gordon Freeman’s arrival five years later?
Sadly, there are no melons in Half-Life 2’s episodes, nor in short tech demo HL2: Lost Coast.
Of course, it’s hard to tell how deliberate a homage Alyx’ elusive melon even is. This could quite easily be a level artist mucking about, putting groceries in the grocery bag even as out-of-bounds walls, floors and items turn invisible to optimise. Odd priorities, for sure.
But if you do find yourself needing a lunch break during your VR experience – well, it’s an option.