Its hard to pinpoint a particular favourite game.
Im constantly switching between Deus Ex, System Shock, Metal Gear Solid, Baldur's Gate(or any other infinity engine game), and Half-Life as my favourite games.
Today, its Half-Life.
It started as an intangible feeling in 1998.
Somewhere amidst the ambience of the opening scene, I was introduced to a new form of First Person experience.
The cold automated voice of a woman, echoing around me as I moved through an underground tram headed to work. The ominous background music suggesting there is some element of mystery in the unfolding events.
I had been cast into the role of Gordon Freeman, a scientist.
He works in a gigantic top secret underground research facility.
It seemed like it could have been a normal day in the life.
My fellow scientists would greet me, the security guards would joke with me.
My role in this computer generated world started to bare some weight.
Then ☺☺☺☺ happened.
Our latest experiment went horribly wrong.
The how and why of the problem arent easy to grasp, but the effect is quite apparent. Weird dimensional rifts thrust you into different worlds, until you land right back into the Research facility. The place has a new explosive makeover. The whole facility is in a volatile state.
Theres the setup. Your left in a bloody mess, and you have to try and escape with your life. This issue becomes complicated by a number of factor's.
First, your deep underground, and the tram you used to get into the facility is derailed. You need another way.
Second, a wide variety of strange life forms are being teleported through the forementioned 'dimensional rifts' into the research facility.
They arent really too happy about it.
Third, the government seems to want to contain the situation and prevent all knowledge of the incident from leaking out. They send in some marines to take care of all hostile alien life forms, and kill all the remaining survivors.
With all the things that make Half Life so brilliant, none have anything to do with its premise however.
Aliens, Marines, and Scientists are not the grounds for an original masterpiece. There is barely even an inspiring piece of dialogue in the game to reflect its brilliant story arch.
The brilliance lies in the experience that is created, and how well composed it is. The story lies in the remarkable situations in which you find yourself, and how the pacing captures the high's and low's of a brilliant action movie, while retaining a credibility and dignity that most of those films tend to lack.
It doesnt hurt at all that the gameplay itself is among the best composed in the genre, and struck a fine balance in weapon design, aswell as the innovation of friendly artificial intelligence in first person shooters.
Half Life shifted how we looked at a genre. It put the player at the centre of an experience, and raised the bar for real time event based story telling.