half life 2 woes

So I wanted to check out how cool Halflife 2 actually was and got myself the demo off the net. When installing however for a long scary moment I suspected I might have downloaded some malicious piece of software as my hard drive sounded like a rattlesnake on speed and my system hardly responded at all…
After a few agonizing minutes suddenly a popup informed me Steam was being installed. Pfweew, I heard about the dreaded Steam before, so it looked like I did download the right installer… nice.

Once installed, the Steam thing didn’t look like a bad idea, although I thought it was kinda silly having to register for on online Steam account for a 2 level demo…

Until I heard a friend of mine got a copy of HL2 as a present, and it turns out that after -what I can image an even longer agonizing waiting period- the full game is installed Steam notes it can’t detect an internet connection for the clever online registration process. Makes sense my pal thinks, cause he doesn’t have a bloody internet connection.

Yes, he’s one of those people, I know, but still, it’s kinda stupid you can’t start blasting away on a single player campaign of a game you bought with your hard earned cash just because you don’t have a bleeding internet account right?
Thought so, so anyway, I suggest he’d drag his system over to my place, and we’d get that shit sorted in a flash… or so I thought.

Turns out that what I thought was going to be a walk in the park, turn out in a walk in Central Park, at 3’o clock in the morning[1].
It started out ok, it detected the internet connection the second time around as it got plugged into the LAN, and we could start creating an account using on of my spambox email addresses (no internet = no email), but then it turned out that after entering the CD key it wasn’t over yet. Apparently the installed game files where encrypted, and could only be decrypted after the registration process had been completed. Which in this case worked, and started the lengthy decoding process…

A serious wait later something else needed to be done according to the Steam software, cause suddenly we got this message telling us the servers where to busy right now, and we should try again later… Euhm, ok, but when?
Then faith took a turn for the worst and his computer decided to reboot cause it found my room just a little too hot (I like it warm during winter). I blame the new graphics card, and after opening the case and waiting a bit, we tried again.

Halflife now seemed to be activated and installed, and Steam didn’t bitch about anything anymore, so that looked fine… until we tried running the game and only got a “gameinfo.txt invalid” error message.

*Sigh*

Then we tried a shitload of things, like trying to make another Steam account, but that failed because the CD key was now in use of course, to uninstalling HL2 which didn’t seem to do more than just removing the desktop shortcuts.
Reinstalling the “removed” Halflife 2 copy then failed as well, as for some obscure reason the setup simply got stuck on the message where it states it’s unnecessary to install DirectX because a more recent version is already installed.
You can’t believe how many times I clicked that “Next” button to see it did absolutely nothing, zilch, zero, nadda!!

So a frustrating 3 hours later the game still didn’t work, and it was actually bought legally and not downloaded using Bittorrent or Kazaa oslt…

Ha! The irony!!

[1] Even though I have no idea what a walk in Central Park at 3’o clock in the morning is like, I know for a fact that in several police movies it’s not supposed to be a safe and pleasant experience, and since I highly value the knowledge stowed upon us through Hollywood movies, I trust this information is very close to actual reality!

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