Tag Archives: half-life

Level One – Half-Life

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 68/100Title: Half-Life
Developer: Valve
Original Platform: PC
Year: 1998

I think the phrase ‘about damned time’ comes to mind.  Whilst all these video games on the list are essential to the canon, Half-Life really is one of those games. Games that have been so influential and so important that they act as a watershed moment. I think it is fair to say that what Half-Life is for the first-person shooter is what Super Mario 64 is for the 3D Platformer, Grand Theft Auto III for open-world action-adventures and Braid is for indie-games.

As a console gamer there was one overwhelming obstacle for me: the controls. I bring this up now because this is my only criticism of the game and it is one that probably didn’t catch many people. Specifically it was the controls for the crouch-jump and the long jump that really made my playthrough frustrating at times. Thankfully Half-Life is not a game that restricts your saving ability, so I would just make sure to save before making many failed jumping attempts.

Other than the jumping controls, it is amazing just how well this game holds up nearly 20 years later. I mean, sure, the graphics date this game, but honestly the only time you really notice this is in the endgame and whenever you encounter one of the many Albert Einstein lookalikes.

The big thing that set this game apart was how it told the story. Most video games that attempt some modicum of a narrative rely on cut-scenes. Some games, like a number of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, rely too heavily on these to the point that you can become incredibly bored. In Half-Life all the storytelling is done as you progress through the world solving puzzles, finding survivors and neutralising enemies.

This lack of cutscene is something that never really occurred to me as I played through Portal 2but it occurs to me that Valve managed to do the same thing again. Both games also use a mute first-person character to help immerse you further into the action.

A lot has been written about the storyline, but I just want to focus a little bit on the bestiary. As good as the story is, the game would have sunk if it wasn’t for the impressive variety of enemies. The final boss alone is… freaky in a mutant baby with a light mote for a brain kind of way.

I also really loved the houndeyes. They aren’t one of the major enemies, and were originally meant to be allies/neutral, but I always smiled when they appeared. They’re the kind of enemy that are… well cute isn’t the right word for it, but there is something appealing about them. As long as they stay fictional. If they become real then I will be hiding in the wardrobe.

So yes, after the way I couldn’t get into Ocarina of Time it was great to finally experience to get better acquainted with the world of Half-Life. At the moment, however, I don’t count myself as one of the rabid fans who are desperate for Half-Life 3, but let’s see if my eventual playthrough of Half-Life 2 brings that out of me.

Level One: Playing the 100 Best Video Games

Now here is an item where being part of a long running gaming blog will give forth its fruit. I mean… look at this amazing treasure trove of games!

gamesbox
The search for a good list of the 100 best computer games lead me to many different sites. The fact that there is no TSPDT or Acclaimed Music for games is rather telling (and makes me wish I could come up with the code to start my own). Failing to find this I happened up this post made by the people of Gamesradar earlier this month and saw it as a sign.

One reason that this list appeals is that games are grouped by franchise which stops series such as Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda and Mario from over populating it. So I now have a list… how many have I played?

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 52/100

Well, instead of giving a long ramble about every game on the list I have already played what I am going to do is list them (in order according to the Gamesradar list) and link them to Pong and Beyond (in the case of multiples I will link to the game I liked most).

#1 – Portal series
#3 – Metroid (2D series)
#4 – Shadow of the Colossus
#5 – The Legend of Zelda (3D Series)
#6 – Bioshock series
#7 – Mario (2D series)
#10 – World of Warcraft
#11 – Mass Effect series
#13 – Mario (3D series)
#16 – Half-Life series
#17 – Tomb Raider series
#18 – Team Fortress 2
#23 – Metal Gear Solid series
#24 – Street Fighter series
#28 – Grand Theft Auto series
#29 – Call of Duty series
#30 – Resident Evil series
#32 – Assassin’s Creed series
#34 – Super Smash Bros. series
#35 – Castlevania series
#36 – Rock Band series
#37 –  Braid
#38 – Halo series
#43 – Civilization series
#44 – Burnout series
#46 – The Witcher series
#47 – Final Fantasy (3D series)
#50 – Advance Wars series
#51 – Mario Kart series
#55 – Warcraft series
#59 – Star Wars: KOTOR series
#60 – Okami
#61 – Sonic the Hedgehog (2D series)
#62 – Gears of War series
#65 – Dead Space series
#68 – Planescape: Torment
#69 – Saints Row series
#71 – Star Fox 64
#72 – Fallout series
#79 – Grim Fandango
#80 – Far Cry series
#81 – Bayonetta
#82 – Bomberman series
#84 – Mario (RPGs)
#85 – Virtua Fighter series
#89 – Worms series
#90 – Left 4 Dead series
#92 – The Sims series
#93 – Tony Hawk Pro Skater series
#96 – Pac-Man series
#98 – Lumines series
#100 – Max Payne series

Also, since I do a blog on this, I think it’s safe to also add this (I also recently finished playing South Park: The Stick Of Truth.

 List Item: Complete a computer game
Progress: Completed