Black Mesa: Losing My (Half) Life

Black Mesa has just been released on Steam! Well… “just released” as in a week ago. Yes, I’m a bit late to jump on this internet bandwagon (as I usually am). I was quick to buy myself a copy as soon as I found out about its release. I played and loved the original Half-Life, and was more than happy to revisit the Black Mesa facility and all of its inhabitants (both talkative — looking at you lab coats — and unwelcome alike). But, alas, I’ve encountered a rather tragic dilemma: I have to choose between enjoying the super awesome remake of a Valve classic and preserving my sanity.


So, just in case you haven’t heard of the Half-Life remake Black Mesa, let me clue you in. Black Mesa is a complete Source engine remake of the first installment of Valve’s best-loved franchise. The game was first made available in 2012 but just recently arrived on Steam as an early access game. Every single detail is recreated (only this time you get a fancy achievement for microwaving a co-worker’s food instead of just the feeling of meaningless accomplishment).

At the time of this writing the user reviews on Steam are overwhelmingly positive (96% recommended with over 1100 reviews). So basically, it’s a game that, upon creation, took your money directly out of your wallet. In other words, you would have to be insane to miss out on this. And, I’m not just throwing the term insane around willy-nilly… Or maybe I am. Besides the point (the point being: buy this game already).

I included this screenshot to show how many followers my boyfriend got at one time during one of his playthroughs. Am I abusing my blogging power?

If you haven’t ever played the original Half-Life because you were too young and naive to buy the original, Black Mesa is a great way to experience it. I personally didn’t play the original Half-Life until 2010 or 2011 and I definitely wouldn’t have minded avoiding the (intermittent) terrible controls during jumping puzzles and old-school difficulty (quick save was my best friend, I’m not scared to admit it).

From my experience with Black Mesa so far, absolutely nothing from the original is sacrificed. At best things seem improved or added upon, and at worst they seem unchanged. The Crowbar Collective, Black Mesa’s developer, appears to have included every Easter egg, every piece of dialogue, every speck of joy from Half-Life. The remake truly surpasses the original.

I still don’t like killing vortigaunts. D;

So, this is probably the part where you are asking yourself what my problem could possibly be. Why in the world would a carefully-crafted remake of an already amazing game impinge on my whole… sanity… thing. The answer is simple. I just… I really don’t want to bring it up. Really, don’t make me type it out for you. Seriously. You’ll really hate me if I type it. I don’t want to be that guy.
But… I guess it I sort of have to tell you. Maybe I’ll give you a hint instead.



Got it? You probably have it. No need to put a damper on your day. Now we can all move on, right? All right… fine. I might as well just say it. Brace yourself!

Half-Life 3.

I still haven’t given up hope on Half-Life 3. Well, that’s not exactly fair because it implies I have some choice in the matter, and I most definitely do NOT have a choice in the matter. I involuntarily wait for Half-Life 3. I can’t forfeit my desire for this mother-effing title to come out, goddammit! I couldn’t if I wanted to… and I’ve wanted to. Half-Life is too good. My pain is underscored by the fact that the last installment of the series, Half-Life 2 Episode 2 , was both a super duper amazing addition to Half-Life and an incredible effing tease (by ending in a COMPLETE CLIFFHANGER). The only way I lessen this pain, this unbearable pain in my heart, is by completely avoiding all things directly related to Half-Life.

I actually cried.

I thought I could handle the remake of Half-Life. I thought I could play Black Mesa without becoming (re-)obsessed with Half Life 3. I was wrong… I was SO wrong. An hour into playing I started googling Half Life 3 news (like the internet wouldn’t have blown up if HL3 was announced), going onto the Half-Life 3 subreddit, reading Gaben interviews — like an effing amateur! What am I new? Half Life 3… it’s a rabbit hole. A rabbit hole I’m not ready to revisit.

Via reddit (user doublicon)


So, that’s my dilemma. I can play an awesome remake, enjoy a spectacular game in a genuinely novel way, but by doing so I risk falling down the rabbit hole of Half-Life 3 obsession (or is it a delusion at this point?).

Obligatory image of a crowbar!

But, there probably is no real dilemma… just an unwanted side effect. I probably won’t be able to stop myself from playing it anyway. I can’t throw in the crowbar yet.

What are your thoughts on Black Mesa? What about Half-Life 3? Tell me in the comments or tweet @gamebloggirl!


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