Hello Mr. Newell,
pardon my english, its not my main tongue. I hope, apart from the grammar which I will probably always get wrong, its still clear what I am trying to express.
This e-mail reaches you, because of a recent video of ValveNewsNetwork made on YouTube. The title of that video is "Valve's makeing HL3 jokes again".
In this e-mail I try, late at night, to express my feeling, your games and your company had on me. Yes, had on me. For a long time now Valvesoftware is not more to me than "the makers of Steam", - which I almost use daily - of course, like every other PC gamer. This saddens me. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It saddens me when I have expectations left with a other group of people when you make announcements or statements about things I don't know much about.
I want to tell you my story of how and why I deeply love Half-Life 2. I still remember the day I got HL2. All my friends just played that CS title that came with it, I played it too of course. But once I started HL2 I was just hooked. Whenever "your fav game" topic comes around, years later, even today, HL2 is on that small list of mine. This will forever stay with me, no matter what.
I was very young when I got the game. I must've been 12 or 13. I lied to my best friends mom about "my parents allow me to play these games" just because I wanted to game with my friend. We went to the local store, Media Markt as its called here and she bought the game for me, too. Of course my parents would not allow me to consume such media at such young age. I hid it in my hoodie entering my home later that day, scared it would get taken away from me. Especially here in Germany, with strict age rules about games and other media. My father later approved. Why did I lie? Because I wanted to play with my friend this new game everyone was talking about. Counter-Strike Source. Which I think was included with the retail game here in Germany. With lame internet and lame PC I got to start CSS finally. I liked it of course. CS1.6 got shared before that on CD-Roms and we played it on the Windows 98 school "computers". Some teacher I think later hooked it all up inside a big network, so we got to share stuff easier than burning on CD-Roms. New tech here in Germany, at my school, in this year. I now laugh about this. New to steam and everything that it meant, I mean I was just used to ICQ and a chat room on some internet plattform back then than this green looking program, which I have not seen before, hooked me. Every software I used before that, apart from the green alien mask skin for Window Media Player on Windows ME or XP, did not look like Steam. Then I remembered the face on that retail package. His glasses somehow told me "I want you to see, what I've seen". The screenshots on the back looked interesting. Zombies? Shooting with millitary guys in all black? Whats that big bug doing there on a broken giant bridge with a wierd looking train on it? Some nights later, might be the next day I got that game downloaded. (It was news to me that you had to install the game from disk, and then download stuff from the internet. I used darn PC game magazines back then to patch games and install new software, we had such bad internet. Probably my mother could not use the phone for the whole day because of me and she didnt know why. Of course back then I didnt know either. Now I do tho.)
Honestly, I don't remember much from my first playthrough of the game. I was scared by Ravenholm of course. Not so much anymore. I just remember that I liked everything it touched, even before that. So years later then I found out about Beta leaks and what not. I looked it up of course, being my favourite game at the time and it pulled me more into it. The things you guys tried - now looking at this with a young adults eyes, - was just eye openening. It was so immersive than everything I touched for a long time. This, I think, started my collection hoarding "problem" I think, too. I don't see it as much as a problem, because I like to archive things so "I don't forget" and someday, when someone is interested, I may share it all. Of course there is thousands of people around the World just like me, I am no special snowflake. About some things from the beta era I still feel "Damn, if that would be in retail today, that'd be amazing". But then again, thats with knowledge I have from today, with the game to compare you shipped. I could not imagine having that thought while developing.
After HL2 I consumed everything there was about it for a long time. Then teaser videos apeared for HL2 EP1 one week after another if I remember correctly on steam. I refreshed the steam store page so hard until I got to see even the thumbnail of the video. I could not stream them, it would lag so much. I had to download 1 video week after week from somewhere, wait ~1 hour until it was finished and then watched it over and over again. Near that time, I dont remember, or was it with EP2 ? There was a second game - Portal. Which I instantly fell in love with, too. It was like at that time "everything they touch turns to gold. They directly speak to me. Handpick everything I like and put it into software". EP2 came. And went. I don't want to spoil you the ending. Time went along. Nothing. Did they abandoned me? Us? Why? Portal 2. They're back!!, whats next? Nothing. Dota. Artifact. Underlords. Thats years inbetween. No news.
I kinda like Underlords. I like thinking and strategy games from way back. I liked Hearthstone.
I want the Index, I now have the funds to make it into VR. Later this year, maybe early next year. I am just waiting. Waiting for that game which makes me want to finally buy VR hardware. Looking up to ValveSoftware. To handpick everything I like again.