Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Orange Box

The Orange Box is a video game compilation for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Mac OS X. The Windows and Xbox 360 versions were produced and published by Valve Corporation and released on October 10, 2007 as a boxed retail copy. A Windows-only download through Valve's Steam service was released the previous day. The PlayStation 3 version was produced by Electronic Arts and released on December 11, 2007 in North America and in Europe.

Valve has also released a soundtrack containing music from the games within the compilation. The compilation contains five games, all powered by Valve's Source engine. Two of the games included, Half-Life 2 and its first stand-alone expansion, Episode One, had previously been released as separate products. Three new games were also included in the compilation: the second stand-alone expansion, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the puzzle game Portal, and Team Fortress 2 (which is now a free game to play on Valve's program Steam), the multiplayer game sequel to the original mod based on the Quake engine, Team Fortress.

A separate product entitled The Black Box was planned, which would have included only the new games, but was canceled. The Orange Box has received critical acclaim and Portal was recognized as a surprise favorite of the package. The PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box has been noted for several technical shortcomings that were not present in the other versions, only a few of which were fixed through a single patch. The Orange Box features five complete games compiled into one retail unit: Half-Life 2 and its two continuations, Episode One and Episode Two; Portal; and Team Fortress 2. All of these games use Valve's Source engine.

Through the Steam platform for the Windows version, the games can collect and report in-depth data such as where the player's character died, completion time, and total victories in multiplayer modes. This data is compiled to generate gameplay statistics for Episode One, Episode Two, and Team Fortress 2. Although Half-Life 2 has the largest proportion of Achievements, there are 99 spread across all five games, exceeding the 50-achievement limit that Microsoft maintains to feature the most Achievements of any Xbox 360 product. These Achievements include killing a certain number of monsters, finding hidden weapon caches, or other tasks specific to each game.

All the games except Half-Life 2 contain in-game commentary that can be enabled, allowing the player to listen to the developers discuss the creation and purpose of particular sections and components of each game. This has been a feature of every Valve game since Half-Life 2: Lost Coast due to the commentary's popularity in that game, according to Erik Wolpaw, lead writer for Portal.


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