Posts Tagged ‘Half-Life 2’

Happy Birthday! Valve Turned 20 Yesterday

Happy 20th birthday, Valve! Yesterday. Happy 20th yesterday. Sorry, I only just saw the Facebook notification. On August 24th, 1996, ex-Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington made a beautiful baby who was mighty eye-opening.

In the dreamy game of “What if…?” one curious hypothetical is: what if Valve never existed? There can’t be many companies who’ve had nearly as much impact. Steam (eventually) revolutionised digital distribution, changing the entire landscape of PC gaming. Half-Life was seminal; its mod scene was legendary. That’d be plenty, but Valve have made a load of other really good video games too.

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Games Run Through The Prisma Photo Filter App

You might have noticed all your friends’ avatars and profile pictures turning into comic book drawings or impressionistic paintings over the last few weeks. That’s because of Prisma, a photo editing app for iOS and Android that let’s you apply a couple of dozen filters to images you feed it. The app goes further than simply messing with the hue like Instagram does, using a process similar to Google Deep Dream to warp and twist photographs – without shoving fucked up dogs in every corner.

I spent last night feeding it game screenshots, to find out what No Man’s Sky, Half-Life 2, SimCity and more would look like if their artists abandoned realism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Are Most Videogame Characters Total Dicks?

I’ve just finished Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, a first-person parkour game about Faith Connors and a scrappy band of outlaw runners and hackers who deliver secret packages under the noses of an oppressive corporate government. By rights you should root for these underdogs. If only they weren’t all dicks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Half-Life: Blue Shift?

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Prospekt: Half-Life Opposing Force Fan Sequel Released

A fan-made, semi-official follow-up to Opposing Force, the Half-Life expansion Gearbox made, is now out. Prospekt [official site] continues telling Half-Life-y events from the perspective of marine Adrian Shephard, who’s still chasing after Gordon Freeman. This time he’s helping Gordo, though, causing trouble out of sight for the Combine during HL2’s Nova Prospekt section and onwards. It’s the work of fan Richard Seabrook, and Valve have given him the all-clear to sell it. This can only be good news for my dream of Valve endorsing my career as a writer of erotic Dog/turret fanfic.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Few Of My Favourite Monsters

We live in complex times. When I was a youngster, it was perfectly reasonable to buy a game simply because it had more monsters than the other games. Playing through shooters, RPGs and platformers alike, I’d be tempted to give up when I reached the point where no new enemy types were appearing. The very idea of a game with only one type of enemy, no matter how intelligent and believable, was poison. Give me all of your mutants, demons and aliens, I cried, give them to me now.

Here are a few of my favourites, ranging from the first-person shooters of my teenage years to the surreal horrors of my childhood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Huh! A Valve-Approved Half-Life: Opposing Force Sequel

While you wait for Half-Life 3, your skin will weather and crumble and you’ll become so aware of how much time you’ve wasted praying for a sequel to a shooting game that you’ll suffer an existential crisis and move to the Himalayas to spend your days building windfarms out of sheep skeletons. Before that happens, you might get to play Prospekt [official site], a fan-made Half-Life 2 campaign which picks up the abandoned story of Half-Life: Opposing Force protagonist Adrian Shepherd – and has been given Valve’s blessing to be sold on Steam next month.
Read the rest of this entry »