Whereas many modern post-apocalyptic games focus on the aftermath of nuclear war and the ensuing state of total anarchy, Half-Life 2, hailed by many as one of the greatest titles of all time in the first person shooter genre, has its story set in a post-apocalyptic world in the aftermath of an alien invasion — more specifically, an alien invasion in collaboration with a pseudo-atheistic scientist who, in the total absence of morality, collaborates with alien forces in order to seat himself as the world’s dictator. As the game’s protagonist, the player traverses through ruined neighborhoods, urban environments, and toxified rivers for which a makeshift water buggy (of sorts) is needed. Battling a plethora of enemies armed with highly sophisticated and otherworldly weaponry, the player makes their way through an extremely long series of maps that offer not just traditional challenges, but also mental challenges that deal with water valves and alien energy orbs.
On one end, the game speaks to the perceivable dichotomy of science and progress. One cannot help but ponder, is the move away from “magical thinking” and religious thought really a viable way toward progress? In the game’s story, strong scientific advancements are made as a result of exploring the unknown; but in the process, new threats emerge, and the lure of human greed overtakes the game’s antagonist to the extent that he rationalizes his hostile takeover of the world. This could be a play on libertarian philosophy’s condemnation of oppressive statism. The protagonist, whose last name is Freeman, probably represents libertarianism.
by James Hill