[I’ve been saving up rants about the Orange Box for a while now. Pretty much all of them feature the word “Paradigm”, so be warned: sit down, pour a drink, prepare your rotten vegetables to throw. This one’s probably the most essential one, so it’s going first, just to make sure I remember to do it.]
The Orange Box: Christ, it’s bloody funny, isn’t it?
Now, we, as PC Gamers, were kind of expecting bits of it to be funny. Team Fortress’ character shorts had prepared us a little for the tone of the game, and the graphic style was obviously a radical break from the Marines (Space, or otherwise) FPS monopoly. But when Portal was discussed, we tended to dwell upon it taking Narbacular Drop‘s reality warping puzzle-play and bringing it to the people – that is, we were interested due to its mechanics rather than anything else. And as for Episode 2… Half-life’s Half-life. If it’s funny, it’s in a random character moment as a break from the normal Orwell-does-a-disaster-movie tension. We were expecting them to be GOOD. But we weren’t expecting Team Fortress 2 to be as rampantly hilarious, Portal to be so funny that it’s driven us all a little bit mad and even relative-straight man Episode 2 to play up its wit to an unprecedented level.
While we’ve a few months to go, it’s increasingly looking like the Orange Box will be the definitive PC “thing” of 2007. Absolutely the heart of the mainstream zeitgeist in the way that Doom or World of Warcraft or Starcraft or the original Half-life were in their respective years. And it’s funny. The heart of PC Gaming is funny.
This hasn’t been true since 1991.
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