On Valve

I realize it seems like I hate Valve–and it’s true, I do give them more of a hard time than anyone else, but I don’t hate them as much as people seem to think. Yeah, they’ve demonstrated a great eye for picking talent and cannibalizing that talent to publish ideas that aren’t theirs under their name (to the point where only one of their games could be said to be original, and it’s based on Stephen King’s The Mist), which might upset some people, and yeah, they’re extremely popular, which might upset other people, and yeah, they have a monopoly in the form of Steam, and another final yeah, since a bunch of people are mad about the focus on CS:GO and DOTA 2 rather than Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

That’s… not why I dislike them. I’m somewhat uncomfortable by Steam’s monopoly, because I don’t like monopolies, but I feel Valve has generally run Steam quite well. If I hated popular things, I’d hate Bungie, the makers of Halo. If I hated unoriginality, I’d hate waaay too many people in the world. It’s not worth it. Also, since I don’t like Half-Life 2 and its episodes, I’m not exactly angry at Valve for keeping mum about Episode 3.

I dislike Valve for a couple reasons. Primarily, I dislike, as I’ve mentioned previously, their penchant for training the player and then abandoning that concept before letting the player loose to play the game how they want. I dislike their insistence on a lack of cutscenes and silent characters while their games aren’t served by their actions. I think the way they go about making games actually ruins the pacing and storytelling of their games. I’ve got other reasons too, but those are probably the biggest ones.

Ultimately, I’ll criticize anyone I’ve got a problem with. I write this blog because I want the game industry to be good, not because I enjoy insulting it. It seems to me that criticism is the best way to make things improve–after all, if you only focus on what’s good, you’re too likely to end up with people thinking everything’s fine or merely imitating what’s good. Valve, formerly one of my favorite developers, has made some really odd decisions as of late (forgoing fun for training, for instance), so I feel the need to talk about them.

Yeah, I could focus on other devs–and I do/will–but apparently, people want to read my Half-Life posts more than anything else on the site. So! I’ll be writing a huge bit on why I don’t like Half-Life 2 fairly soonish. It’s not meant merely as some troll post designed to get people mad, because I honestly believe what I’m saying and believe it needs to be said.

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