The Glass Is Half Full

Half-Life 2This 600 megabyte video clip documenting the “Half-Life 2” demonstration at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo 2003 is ridiculous. What I mean is that it’s an embarrassment of technological riches. This video is ostensibly a preview of this much anticipated video game’s unconscionably advanced depiction of science fiction terror and violence, replete with gorgeously overwrought scene locations, nearly frightening use of artificial intelligence, and an absurdly detailed sense of a world in complete panic.It represents not just a huge leap forward in game design, but also a kind of daring infringement on the art of cinema; that claim has been made before about video games and never really been borne out, but this seems somehow more real. Granted, the depiction of human forms and the quality of the game’s digital thespians is still mired in a lame-brained kind of theatricality, but the behavior of the “Half-Life 2” world — vast and yet constricted at once, and brimming over with conflicting interests artfully framed — gave me the chill that only movies have in the past.