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Press Start

Video game news, reviews and commentary with Gazette reporter Jake Magee.

Press Start: I wish Valve could count to three

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Jake Magee
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Video game developer Valve is responsible for bringing us some of the most beloved game franchises in history.
“Portal,” “Left 4 Dead” and, of course, “Half-Life,” I’m looking at you.

However, it’s become a joke among Valve’s fans that the company is incapable of counting to three. Each of its amazing series stops after the first sequel, and I, like millions of others, desperately wish this wasn’t the case.

Most video game developers pump out sequel after sequel of any successful franchise to rake in that easy dough, but that’s not how Valve operates. The developer has always had some artistic integrity and has always left its fans wanting more.

Of course, it helps that Valve can earn its keep in other ways, such as by running Steam, the world’s most popular video game digital distribution platform.

Regardless of the company’s reasons, here are some Valve games I’d love to see third iterations of, even though I know they will never happen.

‘HALF-LIFE’

I remember the first time I played “Half-Life” on a neighborhood friend’s computer.

To your average 11-or-so-year-old boy, the game was bliss. You played as scientist Gordon Freeman, who accidentally opens a portal between an alien world and Earth, unleashing hostile extraterrestrials upon the world. As Marines come to kill everyone to cover up the failed experiment, Freeman must battle man and beast to escape.

At the time, I didn’t realize I was playing what many would regard as one of the greatest-ever first-person shooters. I just knew the game was a lot of fun. I still hold “Half-Life” in higher regard than its wildly successful sequel, “Half-Life 2,” but that’s probably just nostalgia talking.

”Half-Life 2” was released in 2004 and continues Freeman’s story. It also featured two expansions, “Half-Life 2: Episode One” and “Two” (notice again there’s no “Episode Three”).

“Episode Two” ends on a cliffhanger, which means there’s more to Freeman’s story. Unfortunately, after more than a decade with only rumors of “Half-Life 3’s” existence and impossible-to-reach expectations from fans, this is a series we’re almost certainly to never see more of.

‘PORTAL’

“Portal” is a brilliant puzzle game where you use a portal gun to instantly travel impossible distances in an effort to solve puzzles and escape a science facility ruled by a malevolent robot. It’s witty, fun and mind-bendingly clever.

Valve outdid itself with ”Portal 2” by introducing new characters, lengthening the game and including a brilliant cooperative mode.

Part of me is fine with the series ending with only two entries. “Portal 2” neatly wraps up the series’ story in a surprisingly touching way, after all.

However, the series’ gameplay and puzzles and co-op mode are just too much fun to warrant only two games. I would love to experience more, especially because “Portal 2” was released more than six years ago.

‘LEFT 4 DEAD’

I remember not enjoying myself the first time I played “Left 4 Dead.” How wrong I was.

The game allows up to four players to cooperatively traverse different levels, battling literally thousands of zombies along the way. There are special zombies that specifically require teamwork to take down, making the “Left 4 Dead” games the best cooperative games I’ve ever played.

“Left 4 Dead 2” introduces four new protagonists, new levels and even new zombies while retaining the laugh-out-loud humor and addicting gameplay of the first entry. I sank hundreds of hours into the sequel, playing almost every night one summer with my real-world friends and ones I made within the game. It was bliss.

“Left 4 Dead 3” could continue the tradition by introducing new characters, maps and enemies while keeping the tried-and-true gameplay virtually untouched. “Left 4 Dead” is one of my all-time favorite franchises, and I would be ecstatic to see another entry release.

Much like a real undead apocalypse, though, it’s unfortunately unlikely to ever happen.

Video game columnist Jake Magee’s opinions are not necessarily those of Gazette management. Email him at jmagee@gazettextra.com or follow him @jakemmagee on Twitter.


Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing jmagee@gazettextra.com, leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.


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