Now that I’m 48, I’m less interested in adrenaline and macho fantasies of power and destruction. My focus has changed. What I now most enjoy about games like Half-Life 2 is that they are spectacularly beautiful and immersive. They are fully rendered, photorealistic worlds in which you can walk around and peer in all directions, enjoying the way water is rendered in flowing brooks and the play of sunlight off of rock and wood. When you turn on a flashlight, shadows move in exactly the way you would expect. The game’s physics are eerily real: there’s one point where you have to pile cinderblocks on a seesaw ramp to get it to tilt up so you can reach a ledge. The ramp teeters back and forth exactly the way a real one would. It is so much fun just to walk around looking at things.
I wanted to play Half-Life 2 without killing anybody… Read more .