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Five Years Since The Orange Box Was Opened

Discussion & Analysis Half-Life

Things haven’t been the same since. The doctors say my addiction to Team Fortress 2 (and by extension, my addiction to hats) may never be cured.

Five Years Since The Orange Box Was Opened

5 years ago, on the 10th of October 2007, Valve released The Orange Box, a $50 game compilation containing 5 of Valve’s biggest releases: Half-Life 2; Half-Life 2: Episode One; Half-Life 2: Episode Two; Portal 1; and Team Fortress 2 (the PC version actually contained the now free-to-play Peggle Extreme, as well). It made a pretty big splash due to several reasons:

  • For the price of a single game, it contained 5 games, that could have been reasonably priced at nearly full-price each.
  • It was the best way to get a hold of Valve’s three newest games: Episode Two; Portal; and the long-awaited Team Fortress 2. Given the deeply-set connection between all of Valve’s game communities and fanbases, most people bought the whole Orange Box.
  • It was the first simultaneous multi-platform game release for Valve, as well as the first game they ever developed and released on a PlayStation game system.

And 5 years on, it’s certainly gone rather well. Team Fortress 2 has since become a free-to-play title (and I’d reckon it single-handedly made free-to-play and microtransaction gaming viable and fair, within the Western gaming ecosystem), and is now doing better than ever. Portal was a smash hit, which spawned more inane, memetic in-jokes than you could shake a stick at (but of course, those jokes are so out there it’s hard to call them in-jokes at all). Both and its sequel are regarded as some of the greatest games ever made, so that’s quite nice as well.

As for Half-Life… well, it goes without saying that this past half-decade has simply passed by without bringing us a single solid word on how and when the next installment of the Half-Life series will arrive on our collective doorstep. If I were a betting man, I’d be betting on another year of absolute radio silence, at most. While it can be incredibly hard to tell at times, I’m sure it’s just as difficult for Valve themselves.

But let’s put whatever Valve is or isn’t doing with what is arguably their greatest franchise aside for a moment. It’s been a pretty nice 5 years of non-stop class-based action gaming goodness, as well as a cool 5 years of revolutionary mind-bending puzzle-solving. And while the jury is still out on whether or not the Half-Life Episodes were a good thing, I think we can safely say releasing The Orange Box remains one of the greatest things Valve has ever done. I like to think of its release as the end of Valve’s “second era”, which began with the release of Half-Life 2 in November of 2004 – we’re still in this third era, by the way, and lord only knows when it’ll end.

In any case, let us now celebrate… by watching the hilariously abstract “commercial” Valve planned on releasing as part of the Orange Box’s marketing lead-up.

Article Sources

Thanks to Lilgreenman, for helping me conclusively determine that the Orange Box was not released on the 9th of October.


  1. Ahh, the Orange Box. I remember as it was just yesterday I got and opened it. It was a X-mas present from a friend who said : I know you “ARE” Gordon Freeman.
    The whole day ended up in running through the whole city and gather all VALVe-retail boxes out there. At late evening I got 4 boxes in my hands : Orange Box, HL1-Anthology, CS1-Anthology and CS:S (containing HL2:DM and DoD:S). At this point I had the whole VALVe-collection in my hands. I’ve done this cause i didn’t had my own Steam-Acc until this day. Since then, my account grew bigger and bigger, and now it contains over 80 games and its worth over 800 Euro. Also i spend around 160 Euro for gifts. And this all started with the Orange Box.
    What I’m trying to say is simple : the Orange Box just changed my life and made me a VALVe-votary.
    Hopefully VALVe will ever release the next sequel to Half-Life. The whole community can’t wait any longer to get new informations about Gordon Freeman to its hands.
    About the maybe upcoming VALVe-gaming-console : if such a console will ever be released it would be the first and only console I would ever buy. I’m on the PC-side of this decade-old “PC-vs-Console”, but a “Steam-Console” would change my point of view to this.

    But for now I think this is enough the celebrate the release of the Orange Box. In the meantime… this where I get off =D.

  2. hl3 in 2013 and a open world game thats what rumors says

  3. Five years. First time I’ve forgotten to acknowledge the anniversary.

  4. I remember sitting up WAY late to play it on release. Took 2 hours to unlock… but I had portal and ep2 beat by 9am. then I TF2’d the rest of the day. I’m still TF2ing to this day, and I’ve replayed both portal and ep2 countless times since then too. What a marvelous release.

  5. Portal was the first video game I ever played, and it made me feel a sense of wonder I hadn’t felt in years. Tgank you, Orange Box, for everything.

  6. The Orange Box is what introduced me to Valve in the first place. It has a special place in my gaming library.

  7. The Orange Box is what got me into gaming outside of Nintendo. It used to be that the only games I played were Mario games, Pokemon games, and the like. Then, for the first time, I saw a PC game that made me very curious. It was Portal. I had never heard of a first-person “shooter” puzzle game before, so I wanted to try it out. However, I didn’t want to commit myself to Steam because I had no idea if it would benefit me or if it would be just another account to keep track of. So I pirated Portal from a torrent site. I played it through to the end and loved every single second of it, from the mysteriously ambient music to the malevolently dark facade of helpfulness encapsulated in GLaDOS to the exposition-filled graffiti scattered around the maps. Sure it’s a short game, but that was good for me as a noob. I liked it so much that I bought the retail Orange Box. It was a disc, not a download, but that didn’t really matter. I still had to create a Steam account to get it to work, which annoyed me at the time, but turned out to be hugely pivotal to my life as a gamer in a very good way. I have since purchased the Orange Box upward of half a dozen times for various friends, mostly because I want others to play those games, but it may also subconsciously be because I pirated Portal in the first place. Anyway, upon downloading The Orange Box, I very slowly made my way through the Half-Life 2 games, which I now love beyond measure. The Orange Box is what brought me into the Valve community and the PC-gaming community in general and it has been a blast. Here’s to The Orange Box and the future of Half-Life! (I’m fine with waiting.)

    • Amen to that. Before the Orange Box, I only had one game on steam (Dark Messiah of Might and Magic) and it being a predominately single player game, I really didn’t look into steam (I bought the disk and it made me create a steam account). When the Orange Box came out, I really got into steam, and it’s probably the first thing I fire up on my computer now. I played a few good PC games before that, but the list was kind of limited. The Orange Box opened me to a variety of sales, genres and just all around games that I wouldn’t have found out about otherwise. It’s a pretty big part of my life and I have the Orange Box to thank for that.

  8. I ended up getting all the games in the Orange Box without ever purchasing it.

    My dad bought the Orange Box.
    He bought me TF2 for Christmas, and that was the first time I ever used my Steam Account. He also gave me his spare copies of Half-Life 2, and Episode One, that he got from the Orange Box.
    Then, I got Portal through the first “Portal is free!” deal, and Dad bought me Episode Two when he realised I didn’t have it for some odd reason.
    This might not be my blog but dammit this article is about memories of the Orange Box!

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