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.

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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.

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