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Gabe Newell photo
Gabe Newell

There's a Gabe Newell Simulator on Steam

Is this eligible for The Game Awards?
Oct 13
// Mike Cosimano
There's a Gabe Newell Simulator on Steam Early Access and it costs seven American dollars. The entirety of that sentence should be enough for you to make a purchasing decision, right? For what it's worth, I think a Gabe Newel...
Half-Life 3 confirmed? photo
Half-Life 3 confirmed?

Did Valve just leak a file for Half-Life 3 in a Dota update?

Eight years after episode two
Oct 09
// Jed Whitaker
Valve has apparently pushed a file to Dota 2 Reborn called "hl3.txt" that includes a bunch of code that can be viewed here. Most interesting are the references to virtual reality, procedural generation, and what looks li...
Half-Life x Hotline Miami photo
Half-Life x Hotline Miami

Half-Life 2 in the style of Hotline Miami is the best thing on the Internet today

We go to Miami, but not Ravenholm
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
We've all slaughtered scores of headcrabs, but we've never done it from this perspective. This fan-made game takes the Hotline Miami approach to Half-Life 2, trading Freeman's viewpoint for a chaotic overhead one. It ma...
Half Life photo
Half Life

You can now play Half-Life on your watch

Watches are getting crazy technical
Jul 27
// Laura Kate Dale
Hey Half-Life fans looking for any kind of Half-Life fix to fill the void in your life created by Half-Life never getting a proper ending, I have some cool tech news for you. If you happen to own an Android-powered smart watc...

Now that is hot photo
Now that is hot

Half-Life and Hotline Miami mashup Half-Line Miami coming soon

I got it for the low, low
Jun 21
// Jed Whitaker
A new fan made game that mashes up Half-Life and Hotline Miami is coming soon for the low, low price of free. Developer Thomas Kole has built Half-Line Miami on a custom engine from the ground up. From the looks of it t...
Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Bloodstained, Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, and more

Zen-distilled stories
May 18
// Darren Nakamura
To fans of weird deadpan comedy poetry: I'd like to extend my humblest apologies for the hiatus. I'd like to say I was celebrating the 10th episode by taking some time off, but the reality is that I have just been super busy...

Early Access Review: Black Mesa

May 10 // Nic Rowen
Black Mesa (PC)Developer: Crowbar CollectivePublisher: Crowbar CollectiveReleased: May 5, 2015MSRP: $19.99 Now that I've had a chance to replay the original (selectively edited) Half-Life through the incredible reproduction effort of Black Mesa (which had its first part released roughly three years ago), I'm not sure that choice was so wrong. In the end I think I broke even. Half-Life was a monumental game that will always be rightfully remembered as a masterpiece for its time, but its probably not as fun as you remember it (headshots on the other hand are, and forever will be, a timeless source of joy). First thing's first, the Crowbar Collective has done an astounding job of dragging Half-Life into the modern age. This is not a mere port like Half-Life Source which used all the same assets as the original with a bit of spit and polish added in the form of a higher resolution and some dynamic lighting. Black Mesa is a remake, built from the ground up to fully realize the vision of what Half-Life could be on modern machines. More than a straight remake, the Crowbar Collective has played with the nuts and bolts of the game. Black Mesa rebuilds, trims, and expands different parts of the original for a smoother experience, while still staying true to what fundamentally made Half-Life what it was. There are new puzzles to work through, new and expanded areas to explore, and the availability of ammo and supplies has been bumped and nudged by a team that has spent ages agonizing over the pacing of the game. Action scenes are frantic and aggressive, with plenty of ammo doled out to deal with the additional enemies and larger set-pieces provided by Black Mesa. But when the action slows down and Gordon is guided towards evasion and caution, supplies dip to an almost survival horror level of scarcity. The push and pull of tension and action, going from a rat in the walls to a one-man army was one of the most intriguing things about Half-Life, and Black Mesa nails it better than the original. Some areas like the On A Rail sequence that infamously overstayed its welcome in the original, benefit from editing. Sometimes more isn't always better and Black Mesa makes some smart cuts getting rid of the fluffier and more frustrating aspects of the original. All of the edits are an improvement to the game. In fact, I'd say they could have probably brandished the razor around a bit more. Maybe we were just more tolerant of rampant amounts of bullshit back in 1998. Or, I suspect our memories of Half-Life benefit from a healthy helping of nostalgia and a lofty appreciation for everything that game did for modern game design. Half-Life basically wrote the book on immersive storytelling, first person exploration and strategically minded A.I for enemies, it had to be fun, right? Kind of? There are great times to be had in Black Mesa. When the game works, you can easily tell why Half-Life is so highly regarded as a classic. But then there is a looming dark side; a great number of hours when the game stubbornly refuses to be fun. The overly long underwater sequences that have you searching about in the darkness for some nook or cranny you missed as the last of your oxygen bubbles out of your lungs. The obnoxious clunkiness of trying to just MOVE around on physics enabled debris, let alone when the game demands you try to make a specific jump or escape from a screen rattling auto-turret under those conditions. The arbitrary insta-kill traps and monsters that force you back into loading screens and more than a couple “gotcha” moments that you couldn't hope to avoid without active precognitive abilities. Even with careful editing and a mind towards evening out the pace of the original, Black Mesa still traffics in an almost unconscionable amount of backtracking and finagling. There were several sequences where the solution to the predicament I was in was so awkward and stilted that I was sure I was doing it wrong. Of particular disdain was a protracted sequence set in a waste disposal facility that merged all the “joys” of water exploration, insta-death traps, pinpoint jumping between moving conveyor belts and confusing map design into a single ultra dense black-hole of anti-fun so terribly dark and spirit crushing that I'm still not sure I fully escaped from it. Maybe I'm being tough on it, but I remember Half-Life being smarter. I remember liking its world and characters better. Maybe it's age or maybe games have just moved on, but this time around I was more exasperated than amused by the shenanigans of the Lambda research team. The game has one joke -- you wander up to some poindexter in a lab coat, he says something silly/smug/abrasive, then immediately runs headlong into bullets/fire/devouring jaws (whatever option would make what he said seem more ironic). I like to imagine Freeman giving the leftover blood smear a knowing smirk each time. Granted, it's a funny goof the first two or three times it comes up, but when you're nine hours deep into the game and Professor Egghead is still predictably blundering into the crossfire, the dismemberment gets a little rote. I think its interesting that almost all of my criticism for Black Mesa is directly related to content from the original Half-Life. Every other effort is fantastic. This game looks great, especially considering its roots as a community driven mod. The soundtrack of original compositions is fucking banging. Every edit and change they made to the game was for the better. It almost makes me wish Black Mesa wasn't a remake-with-cuts of Half-Life. I wonder if the team would have been better served making their own thing, or maybe a “inspired by the events of Half-Life” complete re-imagining of the original game. The way I see it, there are two potential audiences for Black Mesa. There are the players who missed the original in its heyday because they were too young, or didn't have a PC, or thought Freeman's goatee on the box art made him look like a barista stooge, but love Valve's other games and want to check out the legendary classic that started it all. Then, you also have the true-blue fans of the original, the generation that cut their teeth on Half-Life and remember it as a wonderful and mind expanding experience who would love to recapture the joy of those heady days. I'm in the slightly uncomfortable position of telling both of those camps that they can probably take a pass on Black Mesa, even though I truly respect the work that the Crowbar Collective team has done with it. If you want to play a great Half-Life game that has aged fairly well, Half-Life 2 and its accompanying chapters are fantastic and Valve practically gives them out every Steam sale. Those games have all the best parts of the original Half-Life, while cutting out most of the chaff that bogs it down. If you didn't play Half-Life back in the day, I can't really imagine someone enjoying it as a game. Maybe as an academic curiosity, but not as a play experience. If you absolutely loved the original, you may very well find something worthwhile in Black Mesa. It really is the singular best way to play Half-Life. That said, you could also find something you don't like. A terrible truth, an awful secret, the knowledge that one of your favorite games is actually kind of a pain in the ass to play. It might be best to leave those pleasant memories as they are. There is still more Black Mesa to come; the game is in early access and right now the story concludes on a cliffhanger right before the Xen levels, where Freeman is thrust into an alien world of annoying platform jumping and floating alien bastards. The Crowbar Collective is actively working on that final chapter and plans to include it in the full release. Considering that even the most stalwart fans of the original generally concede that “the game was perfect (except for the Xen levels)” I don't think those last levels will really swing my personal opinion on the game. I will say this though, I can't wait for whatever the Crowbar Collective does next.
Black Mesa photo
Half as good as you remember
Half-Life was like a magic trick. It was a game you could show to people who weren't gamers and they'd get into it, a gateway drug. A real game (not some glorified puzzle book like Myst) that had the cinematic flair and prese...

HL2: Ep 2 speedrun photo
HL2: Ep 2 speedrun

Nauseating Half-Life 2: Episode 2 world record speedrun

Protip: Bring a bucket
May 05
// Jed Whitaker
Watch as the SourceRuns team impressively moonwalks its way through a majority of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. This is a segmented speedrun, meaning it is recorded in several takes and put together, as well as assisted with custo...
Black Mesa Early Access photo
Black Mesa Early Access

Half-Life remake Black Mesa now on Steam Early Access

Finally, a way to pay for a mod
May 05
// Patrick Hancock
Black Mesa, the loving recreation of the original Half-Life, has just entered Steam's Early Access program with a price point of $19.99. There had been a countdown on the website leading up to today, and many speculated that ...
Magnet gun photo
Magnet gun

A cancelled Half-Life episode included a magnet gun

Apr 30
// Brett Makedonski
Everyone who yearns for more Half-Life content might take solace (or find frustration) in the fact that more has been created. However, it's also been scrapped. And, at least some of it had the intent of introducing a ne...
Half-Life 2 mod photo
Half-Life 2 mod

Half-Life 2: Update looks like a real good reason to revisit City 17

But not Ravenholm... never Ravenholm
Mar 26
// Jordan Devore
For three years, Filip Victor has been working on Half-Life 2: Update, a community-made standalone version of Half-Life 2 that seeks to "fix up, polish, and visually enhance [the game] without ever changing the 2004 original'...
Gordon Freeman photo
Gordon Freeman

The 'is Gordon Freeman a character' debate continues with HBO's Looking

A mailman from the future
Feb 23
// Chris Carter
Last night's episode of Looking, airing now on HBO in its second season, tackled the issue of Gordon Freeman's enduring Half-Life legacy. Is he a character, or merely a construct? Preparing for a Halloween party, series ...
Half-Life 3 photo
Half-Life 3

Fan film shows Gordon Freeman battling boredom

The wait for Half-Life 3 is taking a toll on everyone
Feb 07
// Laura Kate Dale
The wait for some kind of news on Half-Life 3 has been tough for everyone. A story cut off midway through being told, a set of balanced gameplay mechanics going to waste, and a developer who loves to announce things that are...
Black Mesa: Source photo
Black Mesa: Source

Black Mesa-affiliated website broadcasts intriguing emergency message

Could this mean the full Steam release is at hand?
Jan 05
// Rob Morrow
Something's up over at (Black Mesa Research Facility), the website connected to the still-unfinished Half-Life remake Black Mesa: Source. On January 1, the site began looping an intriguing emergency bro...
Half-Life 2 photo
Half-Life 2

Smell the ashes while listening to City 17

It's like hearing Dr. Breen's own playlist
Oct 25
// Alasdair Duncan
I've been a fan of the various You Are Listening To... streams for a few years now. Initially, you could listen to the police banter of various North American cities while a stream of ambient and instrumental music played at ...
Half-Life 2 photo
Half-Life 2

How to reload your revolver in Half-Life 2 VR

I'm just glad it's a speedloader
Aug 23
// Brittany Vincent
Prepare for the future. As this Half-Life 2 video demonstrates, reload times in gaming may soon be based on skill instead of animation speed. In the video, reloading the revolver requires swinging the cylinder open, utilizin...

Super Source Bros. Melee

What if?
May 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
What if Valve made their own Super Smash Bros. game, but with characters from Dota 2, Half-Life, Portal, Counter-Strike, and Left 4 Dead? What if?!
Nvidia Shield photo
Nvidia Shield

Portal on Nvidia Shield next week, Half-Life 2 coming too

Okay then
May 08
// Brett Makedonski
Hey, have you played Portal before? It's supposed to be pretty neat. I won't spoil anything for you, but there's a lady that's really funny and she talks about a cake. On the off-chance that you have played it, do you wa...
Speedrun photo

This 20:41 speedrun of Half-Life is a joy to watch

It looks like someone is fast-forwarding the game
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
Segmented or not, this record-breaking 20:41 speedrun of Half-Life is seriously impressive. But as mind-blowing and enjoyable as it is to watch without context, the more you read up on the run, the crazier it all seems. Take...
Valve photo

Valve could've been successful just doing Half-Life

'In retrospect, [Steam] was a great idea, right?'
Jan 03
// Jordan Devore
In an interview with The Washington Post, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell described the company's inner workings which have been the topic of discussion time and time again. Did you know, for instance, vacation time isn't tracke...
Challenge Scot! photo
A new week, a new challenge
This week's challenge takes place in Half Life 2: Lost Coast, in which I must beat the entire level using nothing but the famous crowbar. Freeman is pretty proficient in crowbar combat, but there are some enemies that even the mighty crowbar cannot defeat... If you've got any ideas for future challenges you'd like me to have a go at, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Half-Life photo

Black Mesa to be sold on Steam alongside free version

Developers now have full access to the Source engine
Nov 19
// Jordan Devore
Having already been long cleared for release on Steam through Greenlight, the team behind Black Mesa has now announced that Valve is allowing this Half-Life remake to be sold on the platform. That'll be happening soon in addi...
Valve's new games photo
Valve's new games

Valve database lists Left 4 Dead 3, Half-Life 3 teams

A breakdown of who's working on what
Oct 02
// Jordan Devore
Yesterday's discovery of Valve's trademark of Half-Life 3 in Europe didn't do much for me. This latest story, however, is an entirely different matter. The company's JIRA database for project management was publicly accessibl...
Half-Life 3 photo
Half-Life 3

Valve files trademark for Half-Life 3 in Europe

It's always something
Oct 01
// Jordan Devore
[Update: The trademark in question was removed from the OHIM website and is believed to have been a hoax, reports Valve Time. So goes the Half-Life 3 hysteria. For what it's worth, the game is seemingly in development, if Val...
You wish it was real
Will Half-Life 3 ever come out? I'm at that point where I've lost all anticipation. Still, exceptional fan made trailers like this give me a small glimmer of hope.

Office Chat photo
Another casual discussion from the Dtoid news room
In this latest installment of Office Chat, I'm joined by Jim Sterling and Jordan Devore to commiserate over Valve's seeming decision to prioritize Left 4 Dead 3 ahead of Half-Life 3. Plus, John Carmack has joined the team developing the Oculus Rift VR headset, but is anybody going to care anymore once the thing is actually in consumer hands?


So that's how the Gravity Gun works!

Another great short by Corridor Digital
Aug 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Speedrun photo

Speedrun: Half-Life 2 cleared in remarkable 1:27:51

Watch the record-breaking run in full
Jul 08
// Jordan Devore
You know it's a good speedrun when it gets me to let out an audible "Whaaat?" I lost count. Believe me when I say that this record-breaking Half-Life 2 run by the SourceRuns Team is a good one. Actually, I'm probably va...
Valve VA infographic photo
Valve VA infographic

Beautiful infographic charts all of Valve's voice actors

Mmm, that design sense
Jul 01
// Steven Hansen
I'm a sucker for a good infographic. You can take something ordinary and uninteresting, like a list of all 50 actors who have provided voice work for Valve's 174 characters, and make something magical. It becomes an adventure...
ARG photo

Surgeon Simulator 2013 ARG isn't related to Half-Life 3

People really, really want Half-Life 3
Jun 28
// Jordan Devore
Yesterday, word got out about a peculiar clue hidden underneath a statue in Surgeon Simulator 2013. This was part of the update that brought Team Fortress 2's Medic and Heavy to the game and, knowing Valve's history with alte...

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