Half-Life fan film charts rise of the crowbar

Half-Life's crowbar -- the very first weapon and tool found by scientist Gordon Freeman after an accident tears the Black Mesa laboratory apart -- is almost as iconic as the protagonist himself. From start to finish, it never stops being useful, and no Freeman cosplay would be complete without that unassuming piece of iron.

In the game, Freeman finds the crowbar laying on the ground, a chance acquisition. But one fan, director Joe Miale, asks the question: Where did the crowbar come from? How did it find its way into the hands of Gordon Freeman? … Read more

I tested the Virtuix Omni and my knees, hands, and elbows lived to tell the tale (hands/feet-on)

LOS ANGELES -- I did not fall! No, really. I didn't (just watch the video). Falling was my biggest fear when I booked a meeting last week to see the Virtuix Omni, an omnidirectional, low-friction surface that allows you to move around in a virtual environment (using the Oculus Rift) without (seriously) endangering yourself, your coffee table, or others.

Hold on! The Omni is about 4 to 5 feet in diameter and is sloped toward its center. It's a low-friction surface with a narrowly grooved exterior. A circular handle surrounds your waist, affording you a degree of much-needed … Read more

Black Mesa: Half-Life revisited

Whether you're an old-school gamer or a recent fan of Valve's Steam games, don't miss the chance to play (or replay) the critically acclaimed classic first-person shooter Half-Life in its latest re-imagining for free with the total conversion mod Black Mesa (download, 4GB).

After eight years of development, the Black Mesa Modification Team has finally released a remake of the award-winning FPS Half-Life. Utilizing more than 40 developers and headed by project leader Carlos Montero, the team has reconstructed the fan favorite into a polished Source Engine version complete with new models, maps, textures, voice acting, and … Read more

preGAME 17: E3 2010 preview

This week on preGAME, we gear up for gaming's biggest show of the year, E3. On today's episode we'll run down every last prediction and anticipated game we're looking forward to at E3 2010, from each of the three major press conferences to the individual titles themselves.

First up for debate is Microsoft. It sounds like we'll finally get an official name for Project Natal, as well as some game announcements made for the motion-capturing hardware. We also think we'll see an Xbox 360 Slim announced at the company's press conference; maybe there'… Read more

The 404 Yuletide Mini-sode One: Where tis' the season to GAME ON!!!

This year The 404 decided to get something special for that special somebody: You! We'll be posting these 404 "mini-sodes" so you don't experience podcast withdrawal over the holiday break. In this first installment we talk about the year in games.

It's been a great year for gamers and we pick our faves over the past 365 days. We also take it back to 1998, ten years ago, and discuss that classic year in gaming history while roasting marshmallows over our yule log.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Kick-butt Kwanzaa and Fantastic Festivus. This year, give the gift of 404 and make sure to follow-up that gift with a gift of clean underpants. Who loves ya? The 404 loves ya.

Yuletide Mini-sode One Download today's podcast Read more

Pimp your ride with fake parking permit stickers from popular video games

Already got the weighted companion cube fuzzy dice in your Astrovan and the cardboard helmet to match? There's hope for you dear portal fan. Here's yet another Aperture Laboratories-themed creation to show off your geek fetish to the world. This time it's numbered parking permits for both Aperture Laboratories and Black Mesa, the fictional experimental science organizations found in Valve's Portal and Half-Life games. The Black Mesa one's been around a little longer, but the Aperture Labs reared its wonderful head last month. Both run for $10 and come with bonus Half-Life themed bumper stickers.… Read more

Get your own huggable, squeezable Weighted Companion Cube

Portal has caused something of a stir among gamers. The unassuming little physics-warping first-person puzzler has gotten a lot of attention for two of its unique characters, the SHODAN-on-valium computer system GLaDOS and the Weighted Companion Cube. GLaDOS hasn't seen much love among DIY gamers, mostly because she's a disembodied voice for most of the game. The Weighted Companion Cube, on the other hand, has seen replicas, cakes, and even (like in my case) Halloween costumes.

Valve has recognized the WCC nerd-obession and plans to duly cash in on it. The company will sell plush Weighted Companion Cubes. … Read more

E3: 'Half Life 2: The Orange Box' trailer

Gordon Freeman and company are back in the next episode of the critically acclaimed Half Life 2 series. The Orange Box collection not only includes the original Half Life 2 and Episode 1 games, but also Team Fortress 2 and the reality-bending puzzler, Portal. Most importantly, though, the Half Life saga will continue with the latest tale, Episode 2. Half Life 2: The Orange Box debuts October 9 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Gordon Freeman and the alien menace

When the original Half-Life appeared in 1998, gamers hailed it as the most gripping and realistic first-person shooter ever. Half-Life 2 is the long-awaited next chapter in the saga of Gordon Freeman and the alien menace from Black Mesa. It brings back the heart-pounding gameplay and engrossing storytelling of its predecessor, and its graphics set a new standard. The textures have never been better. The details are crisp and clear; allowing the characters to express subtle emotion. You'll need a modern DirectX 9 graphics card to take advantage of all the eye candy, but the game scales down surprisingly … Read more