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Half-Life 1 Anthology

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

The road not traveled is uninteresting to me when the road we are> travelling is winding, densely populated and has no speed limit. (The road I’m talking about is videogames.) That didn’t stop me being intrigued to find out more about Prospero via the latest episode of Valve Time Database. Prospero was one of two game’s Valve were working on when the company was founded in 1996, and Valve Time Database is a series of short YouTube videos detailing elements of Valve’s universe of games.

Episode 3 contains previously unreleased screenshots of the never released game, along with quotes from Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw. I think> the information is new, but either way it’s entertaining and embedded below.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Totally legit.

Total Converts is a new weekly column about mods, maps, models, and anything player-created which you can use to amend or append your games.>

Modding used to suck.

Back in 1999, I became hooked on Half-Life. Hooked in the way only 14-year-olds can, with a pure, uncritical love. The problem I had – familiar to many today – was that Half-Life was finite and I had no idea if more would ever be made.

So in between rounds of laggy, 56k deathmatch with a friend, I turned to mods, custom maps, and anything else I could find which would allow me to wring more from my investment in Black Mesa. I hung out in IRC rooms, read map review sites and slowly downloaded files from Fileplanet. It felt like I was crawling through obscure corners of the internet, at a time when the internet seemed to inhabit a strange corner of the real world.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into a gift ship while on holiday in an English seaside town and found the CD pictured above. A collection of Half-Life add-ons for sale in the most ordinary place.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

These guys don't stand a chance.

Like any form of competition, speedrunning generates arguments over authenticity. Does a speedrun count if it relies on a bunny-hopping mod, in-game glitches and different runners tackling different parts of the game in short segments? I’m not sure I care either way. No matter the methods, Half-Life 1 being completed in 20 minutes and 41 seconds is an accomplishment of endurance, skill and effort. More importantly it’s a beautifully entertaining video, full of ingenuity and grace and physical comedy. The new record time is embedded below. You must watch it.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

Xen is totally rubbish you were all right YOU WERE ALL RIGHTReaders. I crawled to the end. You warned me. After part one of the diary, you really did warn me.

At the beginning, I thought Half-Life was the best game I’d ever played. There were so many finely crafted moments; so many things I learned. I avoided reading the slightest thing on it. I wanted it unsullied. As time went on in Half-Life, I gradually realised that each level is a discrete little chocolate box of incidents, scripted events, little puzzles and touches. There is so much attention to detail in the way that everything is centred on the player’s experience, how to psyche you out, how to spook you, how to mess with you. And then, as each new level drags on, you begin to wonder what it is you’re aiming for. By the time you reach Xen, you’re done. By the time you get to gonad beast, you’re completely, oh so really, done. But wasn’t it something? But wasn’t it really something>? (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Spare some change? I'm just a poor, hardworking headcrab who's been let down by The System.

Halfy birthday, Hap-Life! Well, I guess it’s technically the day after your birthday now, but an upgraded version of Source-powered Half-Life tribute Black Mesa still counts as a gift, I think. You might remember that the free labor of time, love, and more time was greenlit a while back, but now it’s finally taking the Lab Facility Train Ride of Ultimate Auspiciousness over to Steam. Better still, Gabe and the knights of the Valve table have given it their blessing, allowing the Black Mesa team to earn some especially pretty pennies for their hard work. The Steam version will include new features too, but not Xen. That’s apparently still “a ways off,” sadly.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Half-Life celebrates its 15th birthday today. Valve’s genre-exploding, literal game-changer first appeared on the 19th November 1998, taking the well-loved first-person shooter and crafting something extraordinary. It was considered a turning point. A new bar for games to beat. And one that was safely broken by, er, Half-Life 2 six years later. Below are some of RPS’s favourite memories of the old, old game.>

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

I’m not sure how I missed this back in August, but it’s splendid enough to warrant a belated post on a Saturday. The two men of Corridor Digital have been creating extraordinary movie shorts for years (one of my all-time favourites being The Glitch), primarily based on videogames, featuring extraordinary special effects that rival those of big budget Hollywood studios. Certainly their profile is a lot larger in recent times, and their work is now very often paid for by the publishers of the games they’re recreating. (This live action video of Rayman Legends (no, really) being one of the most bizarre.) However, they still create projects for their own entertainment, and their origin story for the Gravity Gun is absolutely stellar.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

what a terrible person

In the depths of late night despair you might sometimes lie awake thinking about how you are a life-long PC gamer and have never played through the original 1998 PC darling Half-Life. The thought lingers on you like some grotesque bug with the ability to whisper: ‘You are an impostor. You are fake. You are phoney.’ Well even if you don’t have terrible self-esteem, I do. I’m like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Except the kiss is Half-Life. And Gordon Freeman is that guy from Alias that ends up kissing Drew Barrymore awkwardly on a baseball pitch.

Or whatever.

Here’s my first time with Half-Life, documented in badly made videos recorded whilst I was travelling Europe.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

“Added breakable functionality to all door types.”>

Well, first-person shooters, it only took you 21 years, but you’ve finally cracked it. Our ultimate foe has at last been defeated.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Maybe there’s more to Half Life 1 mod Cry of Fear than screaming, gibbering faces and jump scares – the trailers have shooting, conversations and chainsaws – but my nerves, frayed rather than reinforced by years of vacationing in Silent Hill, failed to survive the opening scenes when I played last night. There’s something about the look and feel of the dated engine that unnerves me far more than something draped in bells and whistles ever would, although I’ve just conjured the image of a jester at a rave and that’s as petrifying as it is ridiculous. The Half Life engine has taken on the quality of a museum or funhouse packed with animatronics, and it’s perhaps that aspect that is most troubling. Well, that and the jump scares. Here’s how I got on.>

(more…)

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