Escape From Mount Stupid: Half-Life

Danny returns to Black Mesa and City 17 to remind us how Gordon Freeman saved first-person shooters forever.

by

I remember the first time I played Half-Life. My brother copied it from his university friend's shared drive and bundled the files onto a bunch of zip disks. He went to university 100 miles away in Dublin and came home only on the weekends, so it took three weeks before we had all the files on our home PC. It took me five summer weeks to finish it on the easiest difficulty. Five weeks of blissfully replaying entire levels over and over again. Five weeks in which I learnt most of what I know about first-person shooters. I was in university myself when the sequel came out, or rather I should have been. Instead, I took two weeks off to play the game.

The effect Half-Life had on first-person shooter design from that day forward is often forgotten, so this was a really important series to cover in Escape From Mount Stupid. It feels right to mark the start of the show's second season with a blockbuster. Over the next five weeks we'll have five more episodes going live each Monday afternoon.

As for the zip disks, well, if Valve is reading this, I've since bought the entire Half-Life collection on Steam, so no lawsuits please. Enjoy the show.

Discussion

341 comments
Rippletonz
Rippletonz

OMFG I have to replay Half-Life 1 now.  Thanks a LOT. 

Wensea10
Wensea10

'Half-Life 3' had a phase within prolongation that its better that the creators establish another series!

 

Wensea10
Wensea10

The campaign within these 'Half-Life' games became magnificent!

Majkic666
Majkic666

@Petty_Steve Didn't say your idea was stupid but it would be stupid for VALVE since they will acomplish more if CS:GO runs on a New engine like if HL3, because they would get so much out of it, look at all mods from CSS that are possible with the Source engine which is not possible with the engine 1.6 runs, and if they are working on a NEW engine it should be added for CS as-well or they would not accomplish much with releasing HL3 half to a year later.... The consoles are only rumors and will probably come out in few years... Then why release CS:GO now?.. beside they are rumoring about a new console themself... My point is, CS is one of their main franchise, why release 1 now on Source engine and in a year Realse a NEW engine and then kind of be forced to release a New CS on the engine as-well.. it would not be looked kind on by Fans...Thats why i am saying it is stupid to reveal a new engine right after CS:GO gets released

Petty_Steve
Petty_Steve

@Majkic666 for the narrow minded child, sure, it would be stupid... but, they could also have a separate team working on a new engine and the project. It's quite well known by the common educated gamer that companies are able to work on multiple projects at once. A year can be a long time in the gaming community as there are ALWAYS companies pushing the technological envelope. Another point worth mentioning would be that the XBOX34872562893 and the PS4 will be coming out (supposedly) next year. Ergo, I don't find it stupid at all, but thanks for the input. (and remember, we don't always need to dub other's ideas and/or opinions as "stupid", so please, have some class.)

sarimrocks
sarimrocks

@Majkic666 Valve can do anything dude!

CucHulk
CucHulk

Thanks for remembering one of the bests experiences of my life. Whenever the next game of half life comes out, I'm sure it will be as awesome and unforgettable as the others (or better) :)

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

An excellent recap. I do know that genius cannot be rushed, so perhaps the reason for delay is that Valve is having difficulty figuring out exactly what they want to do. It took them several years to figure out what to do for HL2, and, as you mentioned, that was when the previous game did not constrain them at all for the story and they could do pretty much whatever they wanted. Now Valve is constrained by HL2 and the episodes, so who knows how long it will take before they are satisfied with a story / game engine / characters / etc. For example, considering the prevalence of certain rumors, I wonder how longer Valve has been debating about whether or not to kill of Alex in episode 3 or HL3.

mrmime777
mrmime777

The Orange Box let me catch up on the Half Life series (except for 1 of course), and I definitely spread the good word to any uninitiated PC gamers I meet these days. Really great stuff here recapping all that the series did for gaming in general.

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

"JUMP HERE. DUCK HERE. SHOOT THIS GUY. PRESS THE BUTTON." DURR DURRRR DURRRRRRRRR. Love these videos.

kyle756
kyle756

The Black Mesa mod, man I hope that team does a great job, gets hired by Valve like Turtle Rock, and then have it become an official product. But seriously how much longer must we wait for either Black Mesa, Episode 3, or HL3?. Throw us a bone please.

brunorr
brunorr

@Apathetic_Prick Good decision. I don't think anyone agree with you. At least we kept a civilized debate. Cya.

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

@brunorr: No, I'm not digging up any reviews when I have my own experience to back me up.

brunorr
brunorr

@Apathetic_Prick Dude, you are not listening. I AGREED with what HL did has been done before. All the story, weapons, vehicles you are constantly reminding have been done before, I know. It's not WHAT it did but HOW it did. It's the sum of it's parts. Read the IGN review. You are naming first person RPGs and Doom clones that had elements common with HL at best. In most of this games you READ the story, it didn't happen in your face. They had objectives, NPCs and whatmore but they didn't implement it nearly as succesfuly as HL did. That is HL's influence you are failing to see. We both know this is going nowhere so I'm still waiting for you to show me some serious HL reviews proving your points. Your words are not enough.

Ld50ofMilk
Ld50ofMilk

>@Ld50ofMilk Wow, did you really not even read 2 paragraphs further? Way to go! @dannyodwyer Sorry, no offensive, its just my grave-bad mood - lost my love, still sick enough(( about month, and no sign of relief

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

@brunorr: and you still deny that all of this comes from Warren Specter's work. I'm going to bet the game that you haven't played was Cybermage, which featured a story as well as some character interaction, VEHICLE USE, and an ever-evolving character as well. Not to mention objectives. The game was thoroughly ahead of its time. The point YOU'RE missing and refusing to own up to is that that stuff had ALREADY BEEN DONE BEFORE. And then some.

brunorr
brunorr

@paulczar Don't bother, he won't change his mind no matter what evidence you show him.

brunorr
brunorr

@Apathetic_Prick Are you kidding? I just showed you this very gaming website awarded HL for being one of the 15 most influential games of all time and you are still denying it! Yes, I played 5 of the 6 games you named. Still you are insisting on the same thing. It's not about WHAT HL did but HOW it did. The space is too small so I'll just quote another website: "Before Half Life, FPS game plots involved running around in mazes, finding keys, opening doors, and blowing the **** out of things. Half Life raised the bar; there was an actual storyline, character interaction and plot-driving game mechanics. And running around mazes, finding keys, opening doors, and you get the idea." Source: http://www.cracked.com/funny-262-half-life/ No, this time I didn't imply you didn't play the game, the article said it will be hard for some (even the ones that played it) to get why it's so special. Probably your case. Now how about you start quoting some serious sources to prove your point?

paulczar
paulczar

For me Half Life changed gaming massively. Compared to HL previous FPS mainly all just felt like i was were running about with a gun shooting as many baddies as you could. With HL i was immersed in the game. It felt way more than just your average shooter and actually felt like it had a story and that you could effect that story. If you don't think HL did changing games then i guess you didn't like HL when it came out. Which is fair enough, but you are wrong to tell everyone else it didn't effect them the way it did.

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

@brunorr: Please, in-game scripting started before 3D games did. Have you not bothered to play System Shock, Cybermage, Strife, Hexen or Duke Nukem 3D? Hell, Doom sourceports - namely ZDoom - were supporting this to a great degree before Half-Life came out. And here you are, still implying I never played the game. You just can't get over the fact that I saw it for what it was back when it came out because I'd already seen all of the great ideas long before. Don't worry, you'll get over it.

Bensonator
Bensonator

Awesome episode and not too long, as never dull and always interesting. can't wait for next weeks episode. Spent far too many hours playing Royal Rumble on the N64 - super awesome - OH YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

brunorr
brunorr

@Apathetic_Prick You proved me right, you don't know why it is influential. You don't even know it is influential. Now check this out: (Gamespot's top 15 most influential games of all time): http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/pc/most_influential/p9.html It's understable why you can't find the game special when you single out each element like you did. Sure it's a shooter. And of course you progressively change weapons. But as I said the focus is immersing the players with the scripted sequences. IGN's 1998 review even adresses your confusion: "It will be hard for some--mainly those who haven't played the game--to put their finger on exactly what everyone is raving about". You should read it: http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/153/153107p1.html Funny thing is it's not hard to find HL's influence in today's games. See those unexpected scripted events like buildings colapsing in front of you or enemies capturing the player in CoD, Crysis or Battlefield? Yeah, that's Half-Life.

wexorian
wexorian

After Remembering half life experience we can see how FPS Games are degrading with each new releases :D

wexorian
wexorian

This video makes me To replay half life1, 2 and both episodes :D

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

@brunorr: You're grasping at straws now - and worse, trying to puts words in my mouth. Half-Life ISN'T that influential. I realise why, I even said why - cinematic style. I mean, it can't be because it's modifiable. The mod community started with Doom. Deathmatch didn't, contrary to popular belief, that's even older. It can't be the corridor shooting. It certainly can't be weapons with multiple fire modes. It can't be environmental interactivity. So the only other thing is taking a whole bunch of ideas that everyone has already done before, putting it together and making it work well. Nope, can't be that. Most studios only do half of that. And don't even try to mention realism, Half-Life isn't actually realistic. Weapon progression is also a very old concept. Heh, speaking at grasping at straws, I'd have to say that other than trying to make the player feel like their right in there like they're Gordon Freeman. Nah, can't be that, id already did it. Sorry, but you're just sucking Gabe Newell off at this point.

brunorr
brunorr

@Apathetic_Prick So your counter-argument is that I know what you're talking about and I'm a fanboy? Ok then... What I know is that you tried to say something smart but put the foot on your mouth. I think you just don't know why this game is so influential. And because HL had a long intro HL2 should have a longer one? What logic is that? Even this 14 years later video praise the tram ride. I've never seen a review complaining about it, on the contrary. I remember me and my friends going wow with it , so what are you talking about? Putting another "tram ride" in HL2 would be stupid, everyone knew what the game was all about. And if it had one don't you think it would be just lack of imagination? Call me fanboy all you want, but please don't say Turok was better.

sapo_joe
sapo_joe

As did Danny, I first played Half Life pirated (and therefore, without soundtrack) and later on, bought the game. Now I have two copies of it, because I got myself the Special Edition which came with Opposing Forces and Blue Shift. I bought HL2 when it was released, straight away, on 5 CDs! played also the two episodes from Steam and I'm waiting eagerly to play EP3/HL3!!!

Sentinelrv
Sentinelrv

Yes, Black Mesa is still happening. They're just not releasing anymore media until the mod is released. Check the forum, the dev team is still posting there.

jpph
jpph

black mesa source.....i reckon it's been cancelled. there hasn't been any updates on the dev blog for 4 years now. i hope it's not though, does anyone have any idea if it's still happening?

Microsteve
Microsteve

Danny is the best presenter on GS by miles, can't wait till next month I love Wrestling games

friend_praful
friend_praful

Very nice episode! Rekindled the old memories of HLife... Thanks!

dantemaxxx
dantemaxxx

Wake up Mr. Freeman, wake up and smell the ashes!

dillonpeterliam
dillonpeterliam

Prob best show on GS, i'd love if this was an hour long!

lionlake
lionlake

dammit now you got me excited again! It makes the waiting so much harder...

gothsalvation
gothsalvation

I can't understand how anyone says CS is the best FPS ever made, is a just a mod... And alright, is the most played FPS out there but that doesn't make it the best. Quake was, the most revolutionary FPS and certainly it defined the genre.

AceJakk
AceJakk

From Half-Life to wrestling games? I suppose your viewers need a week off as well.

J4m3sR4n0r72
J4m3sR4n0r72

@Garudafarrellmo You can get the head crab plush at ThinkGeek.com

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

@roy2115: I don't think it's just that, because it wasn't very long until you do get a gun in HL2. HL2 generally carries a much faster pace than HL1 from what I remember.

felipetrindade
felipetrindade

Dammit, after this awsome video, I installed my complete Orange Box all over again. Best fps franchise.

SKaREO
SKaREO

Quake was much better and much more revolutionary at the time. Half Life uses the quake engine FYI

SKaREO
SKaREO

Half-Life did very little for the FPS genere. I think you're confusing this game with Counter-Strike, the most popular, most groundbreaking FPS ever created. Half-Life was the single-player boring game that was modified to be a decent shooter.

gamespot2DBOne
gamespot2DBOne

btw i really enjoy watching these escape to mountain st00pid videos=)

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

The PS2 port of Half Life was amazing. They went above and beyond with it. Co-op, improved graphics AND mouse and keyboard support.

gamelover711
gamelover711

Awesome video! Some of my most memorable moments in gaming happened with the Half Life series.....and Half Life 3 has remained at the top of my list of most anticipated games since that huge cliff hanger ending in Episode 2! I can't wait to see how Valve breaths new life into the current day FPS. :) Whatever they have up their sleeves, I'm READY!!

devilscry
devilscry

always a good watch, thanks danny!

fang_proxy
fang_proxy

BEST fps of all time half life,stalker,bioshock.....give us hl 3!