I had never played Half Life 2
before. I?ll just give that a moment to sink in. Shocking as it may be, this is one that fell through the net for me, but I have righted this terrible wrong with the help of a re-release on The Orange Box
, a collection of games by the Valve production team which gave me an insight into what I?ve been missing over the last few years.
Starting at the beginning, I got stuck straight into Half Life 2
, throwing shoes at people, falling off planks of wood, playing with cranes and generally having as much fun as the incredible physics of the game would allow. It still seems as fresh today as it would have in 2004, but I feel bad that I missed out on that original ?wow? factor. At that point I was at uni, getting my ?wow? factor from the fact that you could buy a jar of Tesco Value peanut butter for 54p, a loaf for 20p and spend all the rest of your week?s shopping on narcotics.
I have to be honest here and say that this is not the only jaunt down memory lane I?ve been taking. In between scaring myself with turkey-headed zombies and blowing myself up all too regularly with containers of explosives, I may have, slightly, a little bit, been playing Viva Piņata
. The shame! It was cheap in the sales. I succumbed. I lost hours. Precious hours of my life breeding whirlms and mousemallows. And I don?t regret it! That?s the worst part. I don?t regret a minute. Horrifically girly, futile, yet strangely addictive. The only purpose I?ve found it achieves is to put my bloke to sleep within five minutes, and I (fortunately) prefer him awake, so even that ability is completely useless.
My internal dialogue is rather unusual when it comes to deciding between these two discs of games. Something along the lines of: ?Right ? a stack of good games ? I?m loving Half Life 2
, still got to play the extension packs, just got that new shotgun too. Need to find the crazy Russian by the church. God, it?s a wonderful game. (I put it in and start loading it up)...
...can?t believe I spent five hours on Viva Piņata
last night ? what am I like? Such a stupid game. Although I did get to name the mothdrops after actors from classic 80?s bratpack flick The Lost Boys
. That was fun. And my whirlm population seems to be quite unhappy at the moment. Shy FX only has a couple of rays of happiness left. I wonder if I should mate him with Kenny Ken again. And I just got a new spade. If I dig a bigger pond I might start getting some more Newtgats I can name after obscure Mighty Boosh
jokes. (I take The Orange Box
out of the 360 and put VP
in) I?ll just do ten minutes ? just some quick breeding, then I?ll go and be sensible and kick some zombie ass?.
I had not realised that I could be so amused by selecting names for little creatures and making them ?romance? each other. I really am no better than a Hilton at times.
The Orange Box
is a brilliant collection of games and one which most of my friends have splashed out on, but I do feel impressively incapable of using it to its full capabilities being, as I am, without an Internet connection still. Fortress
looks like it should be a straightforward bit of a laugh, like a version of Halo
done for one of those hand-held games machines you used to get in the early 90s with only one game on it and no colour. Simple. Fun. Addictive.
I had a quick go at Portal
, but was foxed within about two minutes on the third task in training. Again, the shame. It?s no wonder I revert to playing children?s games when I can?t get through a basic training procedure. ?I may not be able to work out how to get up an 8 ft wall when I have a gun that can blast a portal into another dimension ? but I am queen of the small fluffy creatures! Watch as I direct a Mousemallow named Murray to eat an apple!!! Ahahahahahahaha!!!!?
I?m reaching the punctuation danger zone, so, reverting back to Half Life 2
, I settle back down into some impressive, vaguely challenging entertainment, promising myself I won?t go anywhere near the papery animals until it?s completed, but, like a Sour Crowla sweet, I feel the poison inside me and there is no doctor in the real world for this illness.