While it certainly doesn’t seem like we’re getting any closer to the release of Half-Life 3, the original Half-Life and its sequel will always have their place in PC gaming history. However, as technology marches forward, the most impressive titles of yesteryear are always going to seem more and more trivial in terms of required system specs.
Back in 1998, you would have required a decent gaming rig to enjoy Half-Life. Today, you can play the game on a smartwatch. The visuals fans expect from new releases are proof enough that technology has come a long way in the past few decades, but seeing what sort of device games of the past can run on now demonstrates it just as succinctly.
YouTuber Dave Bennett used the SDLash app on an Android Wear smartwatch to emulate the GoldSource engine favored by Valve in the 1990s. The result is a miniature version of one of the best games of all time, albeit with a slightly shaky framerate depending on what’s on screen at any given time.
The main issue is the control scheme, as is to be expected from a standard smartwatch. Translating the range of inputs players could use to control Gordon Freeman on a mouse and keyboard to a particularly small touchscreen was never really going to simulate the proper experience.
Bennett stresses that this is just a proof of concept, and in that sense it’s a great success. Seeing the iconic commute to Black Mesa that kicks off Half-Life running on a smartwatch really conjures up ideas of what these devices could offer to the sphere of video games.
Smartwatches are still in their infancy, but it’s easy to see just how much potential they hold for new gaming experiences. Simply translating old games to the new tech won’t be enough, however — something so different deserves to have developers consider its strengths and weakness and create to that brief.
However, there are few better ways to start this process than running Half-Life on such a device. Hopefully, this video might inspire a few studios to take the smartwatch more seriously as an untapped platform waiting for its defining video game.
We’ve already seen mobile phones become an enormous part of the video game industry, so why wouldn’t smartwatches be next on the agenda? Devices like this are only going to grow in popularity, and the developers who can see that now will be the ones to benefit most.
Source: Dave Bennett