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Half-Life’s infamous trolley opening is even scarier when dubbed by TikTok

As far as intro sequences go, Half-Life is an all-time timer. A trolley ride through the mad science labyrinth of Black Mesa, while a somewhat stilted automated voice sets a clinical and unnerving tone for the story of extradimensional disaster to come.

That said, it’s all a bit old-fashioned, isn’t it? Between heavy old corridors, rattling old trams and crackling radio announcers, how does Black Mesa intend to attract a whole new class of physics graduates? How does Half-Life capture the TikTok generation?

So I guess.

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Over the weekend, modder TheFloofierLove tweeted harmlessly “half a life but all voice clips are remade by tik tok text to speech(s)”. Two days later, this reality now exists partially as a mod in GameBananaswapping the trolley announcer’s voice with a relentlessly animated digital woman that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever read TikTok.

The TikTok TTS voice is not your stilted Microsoft Sam voice, remember. His speech is almost (but not quite) natural, and there’s something distinctly odd about that upbeat, Disney-style voice narrating his entry into Black Mesa.

And honestly? It works better than it should. Half-Life’s 1960s sci-fi is recontextualized through 2010s sci-fi, less “government experiments gone wrong” and more the clinical face of our modern corporate dystopia, always smiling, even as it tears at the fabric of reality.

That’s how I’m choosing to read it, at least.

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