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The boy who stole Half-Life 2

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posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 03:31 AM
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. 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 headline.

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 jewels.
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 what happened.

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.

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 03:46 AM
Gotta give the kid credit for brilliance .. creativity .. and being honest .. had it been me would have offered him a job rather than let good talent go to waste ..

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 03:50 AM
a reply to: Expat888

I would have too on offering him a job. I'd have insured he was genuine and sincere about what he claimed his reason was. However, the talent was self-evident and if sincere? He really was just a fan who didn't understand where limits were for serious damage. They probably lost a potential resource there. Maybe he could have made the game better.. lol

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 03:59 AM
a reply to: Wrabbit2000

That's quite the scathing review of HL-2...

I don't know if it was the long wait or what, but I freakin loved that game, and relished every minute I spent playing it. I found it insanely fun. The gravity gun was just awesome for it's time and the action sequences and soundtrack were all top notch, as well as the art. I just found it to be a really iconic game. I mean yeah sure, I dropped $700 on the newest graphics card at the time that was JUST released so I could play HL-2 in all it's glory, so I might have been biased in that regard, but I really don't remember a dull minute. The only thing I didn't like was the ending. The ending was terribly disappointing.

But come on man... Ravenholm? That was awesome!

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 04:45 AM

The real motivation behind the suggestion was not to discover whether Gembe would be a strong candidate for a position within the company. It was to obtain an on-the-record admission from Gembe that he had been responsible for the leak. It's an old FBI trick, designed to gain a confession by appealing to a person's sense of pride.

Lol... for a brilliant coder he was rather naive to trust Valve. He could have easily got away with the whole thing if he didn't send them that email. Interesting article though, hadn't heard about this guy before.

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 01:40 PM
Valve was awesome.

Half life 2 was awesome.

The kid was super awesome.

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 02:08 PM
a reply to: DeadSeraph

Half Life 2 was okay, but given some of the awesome and very long story driven mods that spun off the original and it's game engine? Well...It just didn't twirl my baton. I certainly couldn't have called it significantly better than say...

They Hunger

That one, I know I spent more actual hours playing and replaying. Cool one on that.. I will admit the gravity gun was a neat addition, though I can't recall where at the moment? I know I've seen that in games before that. Never in quite the central way Portal came to use it though. Valve outdid themselves on that.

I guess by the time Half Life 2 finally made the scene, I'd just moved on to other game sets. I still play Team Fortress 2 a bit, although the itemizing of the game ruined it, IMO. TF Classic is one I still try and find servers up for occasionally.

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 05:55 PM
a reply to: Wrabbit2000

I remember the hack and leak and the disgust I felt , it was like someone kicking my dog.
HL 2 was a great game in my opinion , it had atmosphere , great graphics , physics , story and Dog ...Dog was the coolest.

I played it from start to finish with a broad grin on my face because it was HL 2 , there were only 2 flies in the ointment ..
1 : Steam on dial up , I bought it day one and getting it started took an age.
2 : That bloody ending ...WTF , that moment will live with me forever.

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