How many folks recall when this happened? I certainly do. I was among those fans awaiting Half Life 2 with bells on, as the old saying goes. Just to
find out it was delayed yet again and this time, hacked right into public view. Oh...it seemed like it might have killed the game.
In the end, I'm still not sure how much the game was worth. Certainly not what I paid for it at the time, I can say that. Half Life itself was
revolutionary and really went where other games hadn't for A.I. and other methods for it's time.
Half Life 2 felt like a....mod. A mod packaged as a stand alone game, and not a terribly good one.
At 6am on 7th May 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schönau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers.
Automatic weapons were pointing at his head and the words, "Get out of bed. Do not touch the keyboard," were ringing in his ears.
Gembe knew why they were there. But, bleary-eyed, he asked anyway.
Such is the start to the saga the story here explains, and this really is a lengthy piece of history more than a drive-by swipe at a few facts for a
I can only quote a bit, but going to the source here is a critical thing for the sheer volume they have together on what happened here. Back to the
story tho... How did the kid end up in that situation? Well... A long story...
Seven months earlier, on 2nd October 2003, Valve Corporation director Gabe Newell awoke in the large American city of Seattle to find the source
code for the game his company had been working on for almost five years had leaked onto the internet.
Yup.. That would be where it began and where I recall the reports at the time. It saved their bacon as much as anything, by giving a distraction from
how badly they'd blown deadlines and targets given to fans. The story goes into that too, but it's not the focus, of course.
The story goes on with the hows and specifics of his background and method for getting into Valve and swiping Half Life 2's source code.
(unfortunately, as also note in some detail, not a code which was of any value to an actual player in that form)
As the weeks rolled by, Gembe realised nobody at Valve had noticed he was inside the company's network. He began to push a little harder.
That's when he hit the payload: the source code for the game he had been waiting to play for so many years.
The temptation was too great. On 19th September 2003, Gembe hit the download button and made off with Valve's crown
Okay guys, I wish I could share more, but that just wouldn't be decent.
Wander over there to check out the rest and it really is a story where truth is stranger than fiction could have been for assuming we may have known
Believe it or not, the guy contacted Valve himself, for example. He felt genuinely bad about what he'd done and was naive, to walk into being set up
on that first contact to what eventually led to his arrest in Germany. Fair and right or too much? I suppose this has a few questions like that, but
generally, it's the history of a major event in gaming that I hadn't recalled seeing the whole story to myself.
Hopefully this helps fill in something for gaps with others, as well.