Flash Gordon

Valve writer talks Half-Life and sci-fi

So, Half-Life aside, what games have you played that have really put some meat onto the bones of sci-fi gaming?

Laidlaw: Sci-fi in games tends to turn on imagery of armor-plated oafs and shiny warships. The dark satiric or dystopian futures I prefer have been few and far between, and don't necessarily give rise to games that I care to spend the requisite 40-60 hours beating. I'm more inclined to sink into fantasy realms, with my critical facilities numbed by the sight of pretty purple hills in the distance. Which is to say, it's less about the games being rigorously imagined sci-fi and more about consistently intriguing worlds, regardless of whether the enterprise is propped up by technology or magic. Retro's Metroid Prime games have done fantastic things with atmosphere and environment, and with creatures that evoke an opaque alien disinterest in my feeble human aspirations. They want only to feed on my neurotransmitters, and I love them for that.

We recommend