The 7 Year Cycle?

18th July 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I was recording Podcast17 yesterday and was speaking about a mod I added a few days ago called Minimicus.

There’s nothing remarkable about this mod, although it is good fun and well produced, but the interesting things is that it is 7 years old. In gaming, that’s a loooong time.

What happened was that one of my fellow presenters, Patrick, AKA FoxHoleBoy, said that he had never heard of the mod and was pleasantly surprised (neither had William, but for this example, he’s not important – sorry Billy!). He is in his late teens and when you come to think of it, the chances of him playing Half-Life 1 when he was 9 or 10 are pretty slim.

It was at this point I realized that PlanetPhillip.Com was doing more than allowing players to have easy access to the latest single player mods, it is actually introducing those players to mods that they have never heard of. I now feel as though I am providing some form of social benefit – like Meals on Wheels but mods for young players!

This has changed the way I think about the archives.

All the mods are easy to find because I have worked hard to offer plenty of browse and search options, but nothing beats being posted on the frontpage. I had some plans about updating the older maps and mods and I was worried how I would get readers to play and review them. I considered posting them on the frontpage, but that would screw up my archives and Mod Of The Year Awards. But after yesterday’s revelation, I’ve decided I will do exactly that: post them on the frontpage when I update them.

I’ll need to then put the date back to the original publication date, so the mods stay within the correct archive, but at least they will get more coverage, reviews and recommendation images.

I used “The 7 Year Cycle” as the title because Minimicus is 7 years old but also because of the widely held belief that “There are 7 year cycles, which form the basis of experience in every person’s life at particular ages….

Does this mean that every 7 years I should repost mods? Or do I need to leave it longer? Are new players interested in the older games? How long until Half-Life 1 is considered too old and blocky for new players?

Is the average age of a Half-Life 1 player going up every year, or is the average kept down by new, younger players?

Time for a survey:

Before anybody makes the comment, the first day of the year listed to the last day of the year IS 7 years! I didn’t want the years to overlap.

One last point. Do you think the release of Black Mesa Source“>Black Mesa Source will stop new players from trying Half-Life 1? I mean, the thinking goes: Why play an outdated graphics version, when you can play the pretty one?


  1. Pedro The Swift

    first age vote huh,,
    that should skew the stats Phillip πŸ™‚

  2. Another poll in which I’m not qualified to vote. Oh well.
    I don’t play HL1 anymore. I find it antiquated.
    I’ll be 63 this year so I’m pretty antiquated myself!

    Hang on. 63. That means I’ll be starting another 7 year cycle.
    Oooooer. I wonder what is in store for me?

    1. Wow, over 60? All this time, I had thought you were early 30s at most.

      I only recently turned 26 myself, and I still play HL1 mods, but it’s been about 30 months since I first stumbled across steam, and 20 months now since I first purchased HL1. Rather than a 7 year cycle it was more like 10 for me. Quite specifically 10 years, since I purchased it during the 10 year anniversary sale.
      I actually played HL1 numerous times when I first got it, as well as quite a few of the mods for it, but once I beat it on hard, there was little reason to pick it up again. I still keep it installed so I can play goldsource mods, of which I don’t think I’ve tried to play through any on hard yet.

  3. AI

    Jasper, Don’t cut yourself short!! πŸ™‚ I’m 64 and I feel I have alot of game time left!! Can’t leave it all to the youngsters!! I have ALL of my HL1/HL2 games and collected mods/maps and still play HL1! My computer can handle the “new” game graphics, but I still enjoy the “OLD” ones!

  4. The question about Black Mesa is more interesting to me on a personal level.
    I think it will go both ways; both convincing people to try out HL1, and convincing them they don’t need to bother. The reason I voted yes is because I feel the majority will be convinced not to bother. There are already numerous people who have held off from purchasing HL1 simply so that their reactions to Black Mesa are completely unaffected by nostalgia.

    Most people will look at Half Life and ask a slightly different question that what Phillip said; “Why should I pay $10 for a game that I can get a better version of for FREE?” I mentioned this to Phillip, but he pointed out not EVERYONE has already purchased a Source game. Even then the question becomes; “Why should I pay $10 for a single outdated game, when I can use that $10 to get HL2 instead and then get the BETTER version of the outdated game for free with that? Or just spend $5 on HL2:DM if I only want the game by itself? or $30 on Orange Box and then have access to the entire series plus Portal and TF2 along with all sorts of other HL2 and Portal mods?”

    I do believe that there will be people who will be convinced to then go out and purchase HL1 in order to compare and better appreciate HL1, but in general I think these people will play maybe 1 or 2 times at most, then go back to playing Black Mesa and never look back.
    I also think that it’s going to be downright ridiculous how many people, who WERE convinced to try HL1 by playing Black Mesa, that wont even realize that getting HL1 will give them access to goldsource mods, even though they already know about mods because Black Mesa is one. Some may even get HL:S instead of HL1 and never have access to goldsource mods.

    Much of this also depends on Valve. HL1 and HL:S are still $10 games, but have gone on sale frequently for under $5, even as low as $1 or $2. When Black Mesa releases, the most anyone would have to pay for it is $5 for HL2:DM. If Valve is smart, they’ll also reduce the price of HL:S and HL1 at LEAST down to the $5 mark, but it would probably be better if it went lower to the $3-$4 range. This would make HL:S worth getting as the cheapest option for playing Black Mesa, and then they would be getting the old version to compare it to at the same time. HL1 would still be worth purchasing for those purists who want the %100 original experience, and would also give them access to all the mods, but you really shouldn’t have the newer updated version of the game cheaper than the original, even if the original does grant access to goldsource mods.

  5. Nice idea about reposting the different mods & maps on the frontpage.. Not sure however if that will drain any more reviews by us the players.. But who knows maybe it’ll help. Anyway it is true your website here is 1 of the last if not really the last runnin” web archive with working dl links for half-life1 + the other few games you offer here. It’s also the only page which offers mods which you can’t find anywhere else anymore. Should you ever close down this page make a large newspost telling us about that. So that we can secure all data on our extern HDs. πŸ™‚

    As for the vote I’m 22 now. 97 or was it 99? I was between 9 or 11 years old that depends on the year hl was released I can’t remember. I believe as long as steam exists and as long as they offer those great weekend deals “hl1 for 1$-1€” etc. Half-Life1 + it’s community will exist. There are still even today many people playing old classics like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and as for me I’m also playing old classics like BattlezoneII , Operation Flashpoint from time to time etc. So Hl1 is still very young and high quality compared to some of the other older games. I also have my own Hl Op4 mod under production meaning hl1 is far from beeing dead. So I guess all those years are nothing as long as the game still makes fun which is the case here.

    As for us old gamers which grown up with ugly graphics.. We give a pure crap about graphics anyway don’t we? At least it isn’t that important as long as the story and gameplay are right and of course that we get a finished unbuggy game which isn’t that ralely anymore today.

    I think Blackmesa Source will stop some of the new comers trying out hl1. However on the other side it might also attract some new people to the original hl1. For example to make a before and after view about those 2 games. As for me I hope for many source remakes of fantastic hl1 mods as soon as the mod is out with it’s gamecode textures and game FGD etc.

    @Phillip: Oh and make sure to check out the other maps & mods I’ve sent you once.. Pretty sure that those maps & mods aren’t that well known as well. And most of them were really nice. I’m sending you allways just the nice stuff don’t I? πŸ˜€ Some of them where mods from thwl. But very high quality stuff.

    Well so much from me regarding this topic.

  6. Dias

    I don’t play HL1 mods anymore. I don’t vote then right?

  7. Kyouryuu

    I’ve never heard of the 7 year cycle phenomenon, actually. I have heard, and agree with, the 20 year cycle with nostalgia. This is the idea that nostalgia lags behind 20 years. I think it’s surprisingly accurate when you look at the movie remakes and kids cartoons that have come back from the 1980s and such. Or heck, back in the 1970s when shows like Happy Days (about the 1950s) were en vogue.

    So, Phillip, looks like you’re running the site for another 10 years at least. πŸ˜‰

    Will Black Mesa Source trump HL1? Only if it’s good – all I’ve seen are slick trailers.

  8. Zekiran

    I play HL1 just because it’s still new to me. I hadn’t played it until just under 2 years ago now, so it’s not even a nostalgia trip for me.

    Having worked in the comic selling industry, I have seen trends come and go. But one thing was very obvious: every half decade or so, “everything is new again”.

    Kids learn to read. Families grow. Technology expands. Those hideous plastic fluff-haired Troll dolls come around again as popular with elementary school kids. Every. Decade.

    Myself, since I’d never played HL1 until after HL2, I’m still finding all these mods and having a lot of fun with them. I suspect a LOT of people will enjoy playing them, even veteran players who just haven’t known they exist.

    As for Black Mesa I believe that to really appreciate it, you should play the original. I would imagine that most of the folks working on it feel that way too – not just to compare and contrast, but to get a good grip on how much work has really gone into it. I can’t wait for it, but I won’t stop playing the original just because it’s out. πŸ™‚

    Also: 43 in 9 days.

  9. 22 years old I play Half-Life 1 since about 10 years and I still love it!

  10. Barnz

    Wasn’t Minimicus something exclusive to TWHL? People rarely look there for addons, unless you are me.

    Anyway, I got my copy at November, 1998. I’m 22. I still play Half-Life, and it’s addons. I can’t say that I feel the same for Half-Life after a decade, but I still love it. It was a love at first sight. Now, I know there were huge communities before Half-Life, but you got to admit, they were nothing like Valve’s. Thanks to the modders, the community grown up incredibly fast in a short time.

    I think I will always prefer the original to Black Mesa. Yeah, I don’t like seeing an unofficial rendition, a remake, but that’s not the case. You can’t take a something from the past, make it prettier, and sell it. The world has been changed. For me, Half-Life is the Die Hard of video gaming industry. It’s the video game of 90s, and it should stay there.

    I don’t think it will stop anyone from playing Half-Life. People know where to look for a true work.

    1. Zekiran

      wasn’t Minimicus something exclusive to TWHL? People rarely look there for addons, unless you are me.

      I don’t even know what that is, so it’s a good thing it showed up here. πŸ™‚

      1. Barnz

        TWHL is a little Half-Life community:

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