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News for nerds

There's a demo out for Half-life 2. (Only 750 Mbytes! Start downloading now!) For those of you who aren't nerds, this is Christmas's big blockbuster game for PCs. If you were to look for a comparison to it in the movie industry, it would be like a new Indiana Jones movie in its impact.

The demo consists of two parts. In the first, you get to play a powerless drone in a nightmarish alien-controlled totalitarian city. You wander around, get abused and humiliated by human collaborators, and listen to cheery propaganda in a dreary eastern European town. It's very atmospheric, but you don't get to kill anything.

The second part has you in a decrepit factory town trying not to get killed by zillions of zombies and head crabs (think of the face-huggers from the Aliens movies). It's extremely intense and creepy. And quite long -- it took me a few days to get through it.

The graphics are spectacular. These games are getting better and better at imitating reality. When a head crab flies through the air at you and you shoot it with your .45, it can fly backward, strike one wall and leave a green splat mark, bounce to another wall, stick, and slide down it trailing slime. (Not that you're going to see anything like that in reality.) I've got more of a low-end PC now, and it still looks great, which surprised me.

But I don't know if I'm going to buy the full game. I love playing it, but unfortunately it makes me nauseous. Fifteen or twenty minutes is all I can take before I've got that queasy feeling. This never happened when I was younger; I could play these games for hours. What a drag it is getting old.


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Buy?? *cough* bittorrent *cough*

My biz partner is playing it and says it's a must-have. You might be able to fix your nausea problem by upping the refresh rate.

In any case, buy the game (I am ASAP) or the cool kids are going to start talking.

As you might have read, I already got it. And it's great. It's a must have, like you said. The motion-sickness is getting better, but it still creeps up on me. I really dunno why, I can play UT2004 with no problems. I think it's all the spinning around in HL2 that does it.

And I don't think any cracks of the game will be available. They have some kind of online verification system that requires an internet connection to install the game. It also automatically installs patches and upgrades. But then, I never looked, so I don't know.

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