Original PC gaming miscellany

The derivation of Lamarr the Headcrab

Half-Life 2’s Dr. Kleiner owns a debeaked headcrab known as Lamarr, and when she’s in the process of escaping, he can be heard to mention: “There’s only one Hedy.” Hedy Lamarr was a highly successful Hollywood film actress, originally hailing from Austria. As well as playing seductive and passionate cinematic lead roles in the 1930s and ’40s, however, she was a technological genius to boot.

Specializing in communications, she came up with the concept of “frequency-hopping” in 1942, originally intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder to detect. Sadly, this technology was too advanced for the times, and wasn’t integrated into US defense systems until 1962. Lamarr’s concept, however, provided the basis for today’s spread-spectrum communication - and is the foundation for mobile phone and wi-fi technology. No wonder a communications and teleportation expert like Kleiner holds her in such high regard.

The supplier of Razputin’s vocals

Psychonauts’ lead voice talent is none other than Richard Steven Horvitz, the voice of television’s inimitable Invader Zim. Also worthy of note is that man behind Gears of War’s Marcus Fenix, none other than John DiMaggio, otherwise known as Bender in Futurama.

The constipated grimace of the original Max Payne

The face of New York’s famous painkiller-guzzling cop-on-the-edge - forever locked in a strained rictus - was modeled on the game’s writer Sam Lake (aka Sami Järvi). Lake also dressed up as Max for the game’s stylized graphic-novel cutscenes.


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