As far as introductory sequences go, Half-Life is a do-it-all. Riding a tram through the maze of mad science in Montenegro, the somewhat blunt automated voice sets a clinical, unsettling tone for the tale of the coming extradimensional catastrophe.
That said, it’s a bit dated, isn’t it? How did Black Mesa lure a brand new Zoomer physics grad among the old old hallways, rattling trams and crackling radio announcers? How did Half-Life capture the TikTok generation?
Like this, I think.
Welp… here’s an introduction to the mod https://t.co/Kq5R85mGnT pic.twitter.com/MKAWlK6mIaApril 23, 2022
Over the weekend, modder TheFloofierLove tweeted harmlessly “Half-Life, but every voice segment redone by tik tok text-to-speech”.Two days later, this reality now partially exists as a pattern game bananaswapping the voice of the tram announcer for a relentless chirping digital woman who will be familiar to anyone who has browsed TikTok.
Note that the TikTok TTS voice is not your blunt Microsoft Sam voice. Its speech is almost (but not entirely) natural, and the upbeat, Disney-esque voice that tells the story of your entry into Montenegro is obviously a little weird.
Honestly? It works better than it should. Half-Life 1960s sci-fi recontextualized through 2010s sci-fi, less “government experiment gone wrong” and more of the clinical face of our modern corporate dystopia, even as it rips apart the fabric of reality, forever Smile.
That’s how I choose to read it, at least.