Saturday, March 27, 2010

Robert Culp RIP

Robert Culp, who performed many roles but is best known by me for playing Breen in Half-Life 2, died. It seems likely that his character wouldn't have returned anyway, as he probably went to the alien world and got some sort of bio-modification to live there.

Either way, Breen was the best character in Half-Life 2. The announcement from Valve describes him as one of gaming's best love villains, but that's not quite right. Dr. Breen is not a villain. He is an antagonist, but he's a good guy. A man willing to make the compromises necessary for the survival for humanity is far better and more virtuous than someone like Gordon Freeman, who would just shoot bullets at an impossibly powerful alien invasion, leading his men to a glorious but inevitable defeat.

The best part was how Breen actually called out Freeman on his crap. When he accused Freeman of building nothing, only destroying things, he made the most effective and insightful criticism of Half-Life's protagonist possible. Gordon Freeman is simply an autonomous kill-bot: far less interesting, and less good, than a man like Breen.


Jeffinated said...

BS, Breen was just taking the slower path to extinction. By preventing humanity from breeding, everyone's dead in 50 years anyways. At least by fighting, we can give a big fuck you to the aliens. Plus, Freeman is winning. And that can forgive a lot. As of the end of episode II, humanity is looking a lot better off than they were at the start of HL2. They can breed, there's a satellite up there that does something sciency, and something might eventually happen in episode III. Breen's time has passed.

Carsonist said...

Extinction is inevitable. The human race isn't a necessary element to the universe. The question is the quality of life of those that live. Breen prevented the horrible deaths of every human being. I'm not going to claim that their quality of life is GOOD, but it's better than a violent death.

I'm ignoring Breen's implication that they'll be engineering a solution to aging, since it could be dismissed as propaganda.

Freeman is only winning through the most implausible means, evidenced by the number of times that he dies when you play the game. He is risking humanity's fate on his own ability, which, DUE TO GAME MECHANICS ONLY, is infallible. In any calculation of ethics, this is completely unreasonable.

Jeffinated said...

People risk the fate of mankind on their own abilities all the time. Every leader of a nuclear power takes the fate of humanity into their hands.
And it's not like Freeman's doing it alone, he has a small army behind him, plus a bunch of aliens, and also whatever the G-man is.
He's not gambling on his ability alone, but on himself, and everyone on his side.

Carsonist said...


Jeffinated said...

I can't argue with that. Good show.