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Valve makes Half-Life free on macOS for 25th anniversary


Marking 25 years after the PC game's release, Valve Software is making "Half-Life" free to get for a limited time, though you may need to use older hardware to actually play it on macOS.

The famed PC game Half-Life was released to the world on November 19, 1998. The groundbreaking first-person shooter introduce many new technologies and concepts to the gaming industry, and enabled Valve to become a major force by creating the Steam digital storefront.

Now, 25 years later, Valve is making Half-Life free for Steam users to add to their account and to keep forever. The 100% discount runs until November 20 at 1pm Eastern, with claimants getting to keep the game so long as it is acquired before the deadline.

While it is free, potential players may have difficulty playing it on Mac, as Valve warns it is "not compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina or above," due to Apple's ending of 32-bit application support with that operating system release. Workarounds include playing the game on a Mac running macOS Mojave or earlier, installing Mojave on a separate APFS volume and booting to it, or using Boot Camp to launch the Windows version.

The game is also available on Windows and Linux.

Half-Life put players as Gordon Freeman, a scientist in the secretive Black Mesa Research Facility. Following an accident, Gordon introduces an alien invasion to Earth, overrunning the facility and prompting a fight to escape.

The game introduced a deep level of storytelling for a first-person-shooter of its time, aided by an in-game atmosphere and impressive visual effects. The story continued in Half-Life 2, a few episodic releases, and the VR game Half-Life Alyx.

The minimum requirements for "Half-Life" on Mac calls for OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3, 1GB of memory, and 4GB of hard drive space. Graphics require an Nvidia GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher.

According to the Steam storefront, it is rated as "Overwhelmingly Positive" following over 100,000 reviews by players.