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The Boston Globe

Arts

Game on

Exploring video games from a cultural, artistic perspective

In Half-Life, one of the best video games ever made, you are dropped straight into the action with little explanation. As the title of the game flashes in white over a black screen, you hear an announcement from a female voice: “Good morning, and welcome to the Black Mesa transit system.” You’re on a tram gliding through a sprawling underground facility, headed to God knows where. One of the things that makes the game work so well is the sense that you are jumping into a living, breathing world that existed long before your arrival.

That’s a bit how I feel about this new column: I’m nudging my way into a cacophonous conversation that has been going on for some time, unsure of exactly what adventures await (hopefully they will be less exciting than those of Half-Life protagonist Gordon Freeman, who shortly after his tram ride is forced to face wave after wave of transdimensional horrors).

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