Half-Life Is 25 Years Old

Nothing Will Go Wrong!

Half-Life was launched by Valve on 19 November, 1998 and I first heard about it when working at a medical conference in August 1999. I’d been chatting with some fellow PC geeks who had a booth next to mine and we’d been comparing PC specs. I’d been bragging about my new Voodoo II 3D accelerator card and 512MB of RAM on my Pentium II 266, when one of them handed me a CD with Half-Life scribbled on it with a black marker pen saying, “You’re going to love this!” I had no idea what to expect and when I got home, placed the CD in the drive, made a cup of tea while the game installed and sat back to watch the now legendary intro.

The tram ride introduces you to the Black Mesa facility and also to Gordon Freeman as the ride unfolds, deep into the underground complex. Once out of the tram it feels like just another day at the office as you make your way through the corridors. You are introduced to Barney, the security guard, numerous scientists and just before the experiment when one of the leading scientists says, “We’ve assured the administrator that nothing will go wrong…” you know that everything will go wrong and it does when the feared resonance cascade occurs, with Gordon Freeman just about escaping the chamber with his life, heading for the surface and picking up his iconic crowbar along the way.

Why Do We All Have To Wear These Ridiculous Ties?

Naturally, Gordon’s journey to the surface is where the adventure begins as he fights off alien creatures, including the pesky head crab and meets numerous frightened scientists who are taking shelter in dumpsters, offices, and cupboards. Up until this point in my gaming life I’d been playing Quake II and Tomb Raider, so Half-Life was an adventure like no other and I was hooked from the word go.

The Half-Life Universe

Outside of the game itself, Half-Life has spawned thousands of mods – on ModDb alone there are over 300 pages of mods – a total remake, Black Mesa and of course Half-Life 2 and its episodes, but what we’ve all been waiting for since I don’t know when is Half-Life 3, as outlined in my 2015 article The Hunt for Half-Life 3.

We’re still waiting, Gordon, but maybe twenty-five is the clue because five minus two equals three. Of course it does.

4 thoughts on “Half-Life Is 25 Years Old”

  1. Robert Taylor

    Yes, An awesome game! Only played that version after playing Half-Life 2. My first introduction into pc gaming was Diablo 2 and spent to many hours and achieving level 83 using the Amazon character. Recently finished Psychonauts 2, of course played the original years ago.

  2. Peter Thompson

    Interesting that you posted this now as I’ve just started replaying half life 2. It’s one of the few games I go back to every so often. The roof top chase near the start is really exciting.

    I was really disappointed when Half-Life: Alyx was released as a VR exclusive. Valve often brought games out that pushed the boat out and I understand that but I dunno it seemed odd to me after many had been waiting for the 3rd game for years to make something that only a few select people could play.

    I would have preferred if a single mode was added so we could still experience it. A mod has been made but it apparently takes a lot of the main puzzles out. Maybe we’ll get a 3rd game one day

    1. My thoughts exactly, Peter.
      We don’t all have VR and neither can we all afford it. I would have much preferred a new single player such as Episode 3.
      Frankly, it’s about time Valve went back to making games that we can all play, but that’s another story.

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