So I log into my PC this morning to check my email and right away this window pops open with a big announcement about Half-Life 2. The popup came from the Steam Client I have installed which Valve hopes to use to distribute many of their games in the future including HL2. Already you can use it to download and install the original Half-Life and all the major mods for it such as Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat and then just enter the CD Key off your original CDs and play away. This makes keeping the game updated easy as updates are downloaded automatically whenever they release one.
So anyway, the big announcement turned out to be that I could now preload Half-Life 2 through Steam in anticipation of its imminent release. The idea being that as soon as it’s released you can purchase it online and just enter a key code and start playing it within seconds of buying it! You can’t get much more instant in your gratification than that.
Of course preloading also means that once I’m done I’ll be sitting here with a PC that has a copy of Half-Life 2 on its hard drive that I can’t play yet. Now, if you’ve been jonesing for this game as bad as I have the idea of having a copy of it just sitting there tantalizingly out of reach; taunting you with its proximity and lack of availability is enough to put the guys in white coats on high alert. Additionally, there’s the possibility that for me preloading the game may be pointless. Thanks to some PC support I provided awhile back I already have a hard copy of the game on preorder from my Amazon Wishlist which will arrive at my door within a couple of days of its release. Once it gets here I may have to install it off of CD anyway because there’s no word on if owners of the CD version can just enter their CD-Keys and start playing like we can with HL1. So not only could I be sitting here with the game on my hard drive unable to play it, but I may have to install the game off of CD anyway once I do get it making the preloading a pointless exercise in bandwidth consumption.
Oh what the hell, I’m a glutton for punishment. Let the preloading begin!
Update: And if that’s not enough torture for you, the guys over at Half-Life 2 Fallout have a lengthy article up speculating on what the possible storyline for HL2 will be.