Create graffiti, wear a traffic cone hat, and 8 other fun things to do in the Half-Life: Alyx intro

Half-Life: Alyx introduction
(Image credit: Valve)

We all remember the introduction to the original Half-Life. It's a good thirty minutes of Gordon Freeman commuting to work and then doing his job (well, he basically just pushes a shopping cart and presses a button). Half-Life 2's intro was a long one, too, which began with an extended stroll through City 17 and a bunch of exposition before you finally got your hands on a gun and your iconic crowbar.

Half-Life: Alyx's introduction is much, much shorter, but you can still take your time and have a lot of fun with Alyx's hands. And her head.

Here are 10 fun things to do in the introduction to Half-Life: Alyx.

Make your mark with a marker

The game begins with Alyx performing a bit of surveillance on the Combine, and in the recon room there are some notes and figures scrawled on the windows in marker. Do people in real life write on windows, or is it strictly a pop-culture thing?

You can grab an eraser from the table, wipe off that important nonsense, and write whatever you want. I expect we'll soon see a lot of window sketches from some artistically inclined players.

Spark a revolution

Don't wait for Half-Life 2 to begin to start a revolution in City 17. You've got to get those oppressed citizens fired up! Signal the rise of the rebellion by, um... pelting them with cans from the balcony. Or, try to, like I did.

You can just make out a few humble citizens hanging out in the street, and I think this thrown can (one of a dozen objects I chucked down there) might have resulted in a reaction—you see the guy it lands near shuffle his feet a little. Well, revolutions start with small acts of courage, like mine. Hashtag hero.

Reenact the trash can moment from Half-Life 2

We all remember the moment in Half-Life 2 where the Metro Cop knocked a can on the floor and told you to pick it up and throw it into the trash can. I'm guessing about 95% of us threw the can at the cop instead, and got whomped with his stun baton as a result. 

I tried throwing several bottles at a cop in the Half-Life: Alyx intro but he just ignored me. Fine. It's still a moral victory.

Feed a Snark

Alyx has a pet Snark! How cute. For safety's sake, it's kept in a jar, but there's a can of Snark food you can feed it, and you can tap on the glass to show your affection. Sadly, you can't bring the single-use Snark along with you.

Find out what's happening in the world

You're not likely to get an honest news broadcast from the Citadel, but you can still catch up on what's happened to the world since the ending of the original Half-Life. A globe in Alyx's recon office can be spun around and... well, there's not much good news there. North America? Kaput, apparently.

Create anti-Combine graffiti

In the laundromat downstairs, you'll find more markers and some more cops standing just outside. Make your mark! Stand against oppression! And maybe use a darker color than I did.

See Dog's baby picture

You can find some of Alyx's plans and sketches for improving our old mechanical friend Dog, and if you look on a high shelf next to some paint cans in the office, you'll also find a snapshot of him as a robot puppy. Aww. They grow up so fast.

Mess with pigeons

I knew someone who described pigeons as 'flying rats', but in real life I don't bear any grudges against pigeons. I think they're cool city birds. In Half-Life: Alyx, though, I couldn't resist flinging bottles, plates, and other objects at them (they're everywhere), and then trying to actually catch them in my hand. If I can't have a Snark sidekick, then I definitely want a pigeon pal.

Put a traffic cone on your head

You'll have occasion to put on a hat or two in Half-Life: Alyx, but no need to wait until the game properly begins. And no need to wait until you find a proper hat, either. A traffic cone makes a bold statement, despite it blocking a good amount of your vision.

Try riding a bike (while wearing a traffic cone)

There's a bicycle so I had to try. It didn't work, possibly because Alyx only has disembodied hands and no actual legs, feet, or butt, which in my experience are sorta integral for sitting on and riding a bike. Gordon Freeman got a boat and a car, but looks like Alyx will have to settle for walking.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.