half-life nerd facts

Lost Previews

Half-Life was featured several times on television before it was published, and nearly every single appearance it had is now unavailable for public viewing.

Such entries include an interview with Gabe Newell around the release of the Day One demo that’s filmed within a wrestling ring, a Seattle public access student art show that interviewed Ted Backman, and a ABC News segment on Quake and the video game industry that supposedly mentioned and showed footage of Half-Life.

E3 Voices

Contrary to popular belief, the voices in the E3_Offices video are not Marc Laidlaw, confirmed by Chuck Jones and Laidlaw himself.

Barney is voiced by Jones, and the scientists are Kelly Bailey.

Black Freeman

Marc Laidlaw (rather jokingly) referred to a black version of Gordon Freeman intended for co-op prior to Gina Cross’ inception, though despite this possibly being a bit of a joke, he says he’s “still around somewhere”.

#1 Nintendo 64 Fans

In several interviews, level designers would proclaim their love of Mario 64, so much so that Gabe Newell went on to say “we’d occasionally make level remakes with our own tools”.

Scooby Doo Gag

John Guthrie had once scripted out a “Scooby Doo door gag-esque sequence” where several aliens and HECU grunts run through a set of parallel doorways.

Playable GDC 1998 Build

An early build of the game was publicly displayed in a playable state at GDC 1998.

However, due to the fact that Valve was lumped in with Orchid Technologies (who was in a partnership with Valve to promote their 3DFX cards), very little attention was drawn to the booth, and media attention focused mainly on the appearance of Nintendo at the event.

MP5 Clipart

The MP5’s worldmodel texture is based on free to download clipart, and presumably is one of the few stock textures left in the final game.

Last Minute Changes

According to a written description of a very late build of the game, Office Complex still only contained zombies, the reworked Anomalous Materials lobby was visually unfinished, and the zombies still retained their blue jumpsuit design, meaning all of these things were finished / changed directly before the game went gold.

The First Fan Site

The first ever Half-Life related fan site began posting updates before the first ever screenshots of the game were released, one post even describes stumbling upon a then-unfinished version of the Sierra webpage for the game.

Comden 1997 Appearance

In total, Half-Life was publicly showcased 7 times prior to its release.

A relatively unknown appearance of the game was at Comden 1997, a computer trade show, which Bill Gates notably attended the same year.

Half-Life was lumped in with 3DFX at this event, like GDC '98, and while footage of the booth exists, no footage of the game itself is available.