Half-life: Alyx Is Still Good, Even While Sitting In A Chair

Illustration for article titled iHalf-life: Alyx/i Is Still Good, Even While Sitting In A Chair
Kotaku Game DiaryKotaku Game DiaryThe latest thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we're playing.

Standing in VR is cool. You feel like you are really standing in a virtual world. And for small experiences and mini-games, this is fine. But for something like the new Half-Life: Alyx, standing for hours and hours, plus crouching a lot, can start to make you feel sore and tired. So I just sat down. I recommend it.

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If you get a chance to play Half-Life: Alyx, you should stand at first. It is cool to bend down and grab something or actually crawl through a hole in the wall or duck behind a car for cover from gunfire.

But soon, you might start to feel your knees and back tingle with pain. It happened to me. I placed a cushion pad under my feet while I played to help save my feet and knees, and it did, for a bit. But eventually, the strain of standing for hours became too much and I had to stop playing.

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The thing is, I didn’t want to stop playing. This is a new Half-Life game! After waiting over a decade for this damn game and having to borrow a Valve Index and set it all up, I wasn’t ready to stop playing after only three hours. So I messed with a few settings and got the game set up in a way that let me play sitting down in my comfy office chair.

I’ll admit that, at first, this was strange. Sitting down while Alyx ran around the world felt weird. I almost felt guilty. But with my body no longer being strained and no pain in my knees, I could play for hours. I also found that I was able to focus more on the world and puzzles.

Illustration for article titled iHalf-life: Alyx/i Is Still Good, Even While Sitting In A Chair

Before sitting, I would whip through areas quickly, trying to get as far as I could before my back or feet starting becoming too sore and I had to stop. This meant I missed a lot of the details crammed into the levels of Half-Life: Alyx. It also meant that some puzzles and combat encounters were much harder because I was, you know, suffering in pain.

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But sitting down to play Alyx, I could slow down and truly explore areas. I could, for example, spend way too much time looking at the new vortiguant models or picking at a dead headcrab. I also read newspapers and magazines scattered around City 17.

I also found that having a button that let me crouch extremely low to the ground was very handy in firefights and when solving some puzzles. I’m tall and getting down and up, with a big VR headset on and expensive controller in your hands, isn’t fun. So being able to click the left stick to drop to the ground was fantastic.

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For some who are more in shape or athletic, they will be able to play all of Alyx without needing a chair. And that’s nice for them. I’m happy for them. But I am not ashamed to admit that I prefer sitting for hours instead of standing for hours. I don’t think I’m alone. So, to those planning on playing Alyx or who are currently playing it, don’t feel bad if you need to take a break. Just grab a chair and take a seat. Then keep playing.

Alyx won’t judge you and neither will I.

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

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DISCUSSION

I’ve been putting this into every comment section I can across the internet. I’m glad this article is here to shout it over the loudspeaker.

In fact, I’ll say that everyone can play pretty much any VR game seated! I highly recommend it, in fact. I enjoy standing for games games, but You miss out on nothing if your seated. Seated play also settles that pesky “I don’t have any space” thing.

Seated VR: Thumbs up.