Half a Life

Last week I got another video game. (there is nothing new about this - I've been known to buy a few in my time). This one is Half Life 2. I was a bit peeved by this game to start with. After being given whispered instructions to "meet me in the plaza" by an undercover chum in a fake police uniform I then spent ages in the place waiting for him to turn up. I wandered round, got whacked by the secret police, put some litter into bins and generally thought how lifelike the game is, having been stood up in real life as well.

When they had stopped laughing, my gameplaying friends told me that I had to find the ally, climb the ladder, jump off the fire escape and then make my way to another meeting point. Where I would be set upon and shot at by more secret police. Simple. Having got over this minor hiccup I am now going great guns. Quite literally. The air of realism is very impressive, the only problem being the loading screens.

Imagine that you are being chased down a corridor, bullets thudding into the woodwork around you as you sprint towards the only route out. Then your world freezes for three minutes whilst the environment outside the door is loaded in and made pretty. No fun. And then it starts working when you've nipped to the toilet during the loading and you get shot in the back and have to start again. Even less fun.