Half-Life's infamous tram opening is even creepier when voiced by TikTok

Half Life tram
(Image credit: Valve)

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

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

Like this, I'd imagine.

Over the weekend, modder TheFloofierLove innocuously tweeted "half life but every single voice clips is redone by the tik tok text to speech voice(s)". Two days later, that reality now partially exists as a mod on GameBanana, swapping out the tram announcer's voice with a relentlessly chirpy digital woman who'll be familiar to anyone who's ever skimmed TikTok.

The TikTok TTS voice isn't your stilted Microsoft Sam voice, mind. Its speech is almost (but not quite) natural, and there's something distinctly uncanny about that upbeat, Disney-esque voice narrating your entry into Black Mesa. 

And honestly? It works better than it should. Half-Life's 1960s sci-fi is recontextualised through 2010s sci-fi, less "government experiments gone wrong" and more the clinical face of our modern corporate dystopia, ever smiling even as it tears apart the fabric of reality. 

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

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.