Eleven years ago (more or less) Valve released Half Life 2. Half Life 2 is simple: survive the combine and reach the Citadel tower. Six personalities rule the workings of the game:
The G man
Notice the lack of security guards, scientists, and marines that made up the first Half-Life Game. But their personalities have all just been replaced in the game. Scientists, who play their role in pushing science forward are now replaced with vortigaunts, who use their mystical powers to help Gordon. Marines have been replaced by the combine – simply a more sophisticated version of the combine, but it’s obvious their force is coming directly from the combine. Security guards, who once helped Gordon fight against the unknown, are also now more or less the resistance force who you have now teamed up against. It’s a much more efficient and organized way of working together. By putting a resistance force together, resources can be utilized to have the most effect.
The resistance easily compares to terrorist groups in the middle east and other third world nations that are at a
Stalkers are new to this game and have little direct role – they are the nearly lifeless beings that feed the machine which the combine runs. But they still serve as an important illustrative tool.
Dr Breen, also new to the game, is essentially ‘the man’. He’s the one who everyone except the resistance is working for.
Gordon is, of course, you, the player. Forgive me for taking 11 years to come to this realization, but the entire game is a direct reflection of life. All the pieces fit in together. Consider:
You must prevent yourself from dying from alien technology by fighting with the resistance only to get to the top of a tower. In life, you fight your way through jobs just to get to the top of a tower.
Aliens have invaded, but vortigaunts help. The only aliens that kill are the ones we don’t understand. In life, Intelligence we understand helps us, and intelligence we don’t understand hurts us.
Stalkers help run the combine at the expense of their own physical health. Today in real life, millions of people work themselves to death for the man just to get by.
The Gman is only rarely seen in the game – out of place, watching you. This compares to real life, where the government is always watching, but only makes their presence known when they want it to be.
There is also of course alyx, your side kick.
Most techies who are young enough in life that they would play this game face a similar situation. They could join the resistance against worldly governments. They could join the combine and fight the resistance, or help the vortigaunts, Dr. Breen or any number of possibilities. They could even just stay with alyx and raise a family. Or they could, God forbid, become a stalker.
This is all half-life is or ever was. A very fancy abstraction on the current reality. That is, it is only abstract from your perspective. One could easily take out the word alien, and insert the word intelligence. Because that’s all that inteligence is to us: alien. We might get help from the occasional vortigaunt(or einstein or Bill gates, or whatever ground breaking intellectual you want), but in the end, we need to join Dr Breen if we don’t want to spend our life fighting either against the government or against a rebel force.
The main underlying theme, of course, is that the world is changing. If you want to live somewhere that is in the times, and talk to people who are in the times, you need to be in the citadel