It’s Orange, it’s Boxy.

I now am in possession of The Orange Box. For those not inclined towards videogaming, The Orange Box is a compilation of 5 games: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. And all five of them are absolutely spectacular works.

Half-Life 2 is what it says, the second chapter in the Half-Life story. It also uses a revolutionary graphics and in-game physics engine that has set the standard for every First-person shooter to follow it. All of these games use that engine to some extent.

Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2 should really be numbered as Half-Life 3. They’re direct sequels that continue Half-Life 2’s story. Valve releases them in short episodes to shorten development time (of which they are notorious for having extremely long of).

Team Fortress 2 is a class-based multiplayer FPS. By “class-based” I mean that when you jump into a game, you pick from one of 9 classes, such as Soldier, Scout, Spy, Medic, etc, and you have different weapons and abilities based on that choice. And you can change whenever you feel like. It’s basically a big chaotic game with everyone trying to survive and accomplish the mission (which usually involves capturing control points) but it’s still a lot of fun. So far, my class of choice seems to be the engineer. I love building sentry guns.

Portal…Portal is very very different. It’s not even really a shooter. It’s a first person puzzle game. Your only weapon is a gun that, when you fire it, places a blue portal opening on a flat surface. Use the alt fire, and it places a yellow one. Now by walking through either of these portals, you instantly come out the other end. Same goes for any objects. Sounds easy right? Well, now try to imagine what happens if you put one portal on the floor and the other on the wall, and fall through it. You’ll come out of the wall with the same momentum you got from falling through the first portal. Basically the game consists of you using this gun to get around obstacles, move items where they need to go, avoid hazards, and the like. But there’s a very very startling and compelling storyline around it all that can leave you uneasy and on your toes. It’s a great great game, albeit a little short. There’s plenty of timed challenges outside of the main story for you to play with after, though.

So basically, you get all 5 of those games for dirt cheap, like a total of $50. That’s an insanely good deal.

I also got a new long sleeve shirt and a sample set of colognes.

Well, as you can probably guess, with Call of Duty 4, The Orange Box, and my warlock in World of Warcraft going so well, I’ve been gaming a lot this holiday. And I haven’t been disappointed by one of them! This is going to make it hard to finish BioShock before the end of next month though, but I’ve just got to knuckle down and do it!

But not this weekend. In a few short hours I’ll be heading down to Waco to celebrate the new year with Chris and Kelley plus whoever else is down there (and who that might be, I don’t know!)

See ya’ll in 2008!

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