I’m going to be honest: I hated the original Half-Life.
In fact, my hatred for Half-Life burned so white hot that when Half-Life 2 launched, I absolutely refused to play it.
Now, it’s been so long since my initial Half-Life experience that I can’t really say what it was about the game that convinced me to harbor such a passionate hatred for it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I liked the first part at least. Whatever it was, though, I remember seeing Half-Life 2 on store shelves and feeling this sense of bitterness, as if it’s mere presence were repulsive to me.
I guess I was kind of an angry person back then.
However, Portal eventually came out, and I really wanted to play it. I ultimately swallowed my pride and grumpily picked up the Orange Box, which contained Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2 in its entirety. I played through Portal, loving every minute of it and ignoring the Half-Life portion of my purchase.
But once I started writing about video games for a living, I could no longer deny the fact that, regardless of my opinion of the Half-Life series, Half-Life 2 was an important game, and I should probably play it. So I did. What I ended up discovering was that I’m a moron.
From the very first steps I took in Half-Life 2‘s dystopic wasteland, I realized that this was an experience unlike anything I had seen prior. Every detail of City 17 was brilliantly designed, and Ravenholm was one of the greatest (and creepiest) environments in gaming history. On top of that, the story was incredible, the characters were expertly crafted, and Breen’s monologues were some of the best-written and acted speeches in a video game ever. All this to say that Half-Life 2 is a damn good game, and had I not been so stubborn, I’d have known that way sooner.
Unfortunately, Half-Life 2: Episode Two — the last piece of the story we’ve seen thus far — ended on a cliffhanger. I have since joined the throngs of gamers clamoring for the next piece of the Half-Life story. I know this has been said before, but come on, Valve, we need to know what happens.
The thing about all this, though, is that it makes me curious about the original Half-Life. There’s a huge part of me that wants to go back and replay it, just to be able to remember what the hell happened in that section of the story. Then again, I know that it hasn’t aged well, and I have a feeling I couldn’t possibly be anything but disappointed.
And that makes me this weird combination of sad and relieved: sad that I probably won’t ever play it again, yet relieved that I won’t ever have to. And I guess I can live with that.
Still, you won’t catch me spitting on a Half-Life 2 box in Target ever again.