We Are The Lambda Generation. LambdaGeneration is a website dedicated to the video game Half-Life. ( We're basically really passionate about crowbars, headcrabs and anyone who has goatee with a PhD in theoretical physics… )

How Opposing Force Dealt with the Expansion Pack Problem

An examination of the strengths of Half-Life's weapon system, and how the Opposing Force expansion pack both compromised and built upon them.

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Vic’s Thoughts On: Dear Esther, Or Why A Video Game Can Be Much, Much More Than Just Entertainment

Gaming Industry Vic’s Thoughts On: Dear Esther, Or Why A Video Game Can Be Much, Much More Than Just Entertainment

At their core, video games are essentially entertainment – designed to be fun. They accomplish these two objectives through all sorts of ways, within the various genres of the gaming world. Most of the games we play are, ostensibly, mere entertainment – created to be fun, enthralling and, perhaps, little else beyond that. But recently, many have contemplated and whether or not video games truly are art. But this debate goes beyond gaming itself: for instance, can we classify the Roundhay Garden Scene as art? While we’re at that, can we classify the Mona Lisa as entertainment? Is all entertainment actually art, or is all art somehow entertainment? It’s a multifaceted argument that might be going on for a very long while. I, personally, am of the conviction that, video games are art. Of course, there are some games that simultaneously represent both entertainment and art (Portal 1, Half-Life 2). There are also some games that lead more towards the art side, but they still maintain the basic framework of a video game. If they didn’t, we’d have a tough time calling them video games.

But in comes something that might shake up the way we look at video games. That something is Dear Esther. Originally designed as a free HL2 mod in 2008, Dear Esther was a terrific, if flawed experiment regarding interactive, non-linear storytelling conveyed through a video game. Almost 4 years later, the same team, plus one master level designer, have returned to remake and reimagine Dear Esther, almost from the ground up, as a independent Source game. That which was primitive is now beautiful, and a whole new audience could be exposed to this interesting creation. But is it more than just an experiment, or, perhaps, is it more than just a video game? Well, read on to find out!

Portal 2 Media

Portal Portal 2 Media

Since yours truly is a contributor on the Portal Puzzle Wiki, I’ve decided to use my unique expertise to make a post dedicated completely to Portal 2 media! This stuff will save you till 2011, lads. Hit it after the jump to see all the goodies we’ve got. Enjoy.

XboxAhoy’s Excellent Half-Life Retrospective

Half-Life

The popular “XboxAhoy” YouTube channel, which is a member of the Machinima.com gaming network, just uploaded an excellent retrospective video analysis that explores Valve’s success with the original Half-Life.

Written by Stuart Brown, the video analysis highlights the early influences of Half-Life, such as Quake as well as the affect that Half-Life’s release had upon the FPS in genre, including the modding scene as well as Valve’s later developments with Team Fortress, Steam and the Source engine.

If you have a spare 20 minuets, it’s well worth a watch!

The Failure of the Half-Life Episodes

Half-Life The Failure of the Half-Life Episodes

This is an original editorial piece created by Mimaz. It is the first in a series of editorials that we like to call “The Half-Life Dissertation”, which will aim to extensively cover a wide range of Half-Life related topics and issues.

Valve are looking down the rabbit hole.

Vic’s Thoughts On: The Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC; Or Why Portal 2’s Future Is Looking Very Bright

Portal Vic’s Thoughts On: The Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC; Or Why Portal 2’s Future Is Looking Very Bright

As you may or may not know, I wasn’t exactly pleased with Portal 2’s first DLC outing – “Peer Review“. While the Challenge Mode added much-needed replay value to the game, it really should have been in the game from launch. The only other bit of content in there, the new “Art Therapy” co-op course, was rather disappointing, with poor writing and plot, as well as some meager and poorly balanced gameplay offerings.

I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that all free DLC is automatically good – you have to draw the line somewhere. And solid feedback will help make future releases better. For instance, the poor reactions to L4D1’s underwhelming “Crash Course” almost certainly helped Valve build better L4D DLC in the form of L4D2’s “The Passing” (although later on they did let us down again with “The Sacrifice“). So we needn’t be afraid to voice our opinions.

But enough about all that. Here we are, with Portal 2’s second, and perhaps final DLC release almost upon us. The Perpetual Testing Initiative promises to turn Portal 2 into a never-ending house of pure science, providing it with enough replayability and content to feed 5 full-priced Call of Duty games. But does it fulfill that promise?

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