Valve’s Orange Box Is 10 Years Old

Valve’s Orange Box Is 10 Years Old

On October 10 2007, Valve didn’t just release a video game, they released three. All came in the one package, and it was called The Orange Box.

Included was a copy of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, a copy of Team Fortress 2 and a copy of Portal. Oh, and copies of Half-Life 2 and HL2: Episode One, in case you didn’t already have them. All in the one package, all making their debuts as part of that package, all of which sold for a standard price. So, you know, there was some value to be had.

It seems insane looking back on this from 2017. That Valve would be releasing standalone video games at all, let alone three of them at once. But it really happened, and it happened in October 2007, a high-water mark for the Valve people knew for making video games, instead of the Valve they know now for just selling and maintaining them. The most bizarre thing is that The Orange Box was literally a box, that you could buy in a store and hold in your hand!

What’s become of the Orange Box since then? For starters, let it never be forgotten that in addition to coming out on PC, it was also released on Xbox 360 and PS3, whose copies of Team Fortress 2 soon became sick jokes, left behind as the PC edition received improvement after improvement.

That PC edition, though, is still very much around. A decade after release, the game has had 624 updates, and at time of writing sits fifth on Steam’s most-played list. That’s an incredible achievement, even if the gloss is tarnished slightly by the fact TF2 has the massive advantage over its competitors of being on home turf when it comes to Steam.

Portal did OK I guess for a while there; its 2011 sequel won our Game of the Year, and while we haven’t seen a proper release since, we have revisited the Portal universe as part of a tech demo for VR hardware.

As for Half-Life, well…we never did get that Episode 3. At least one we could play, anyway.

If for whatever you’ve never played some/any of these games and want to try them out, you can still buy The Orange Box on Steam, though these days it’s obviously just a digital bundle instead of a physical product.

Though if you ever happen to find a console version lying around, the Xbox 360 version will now run on an Xbox One.


  • Still remember when it came out – it was great, three awesome games at once. Portal was a surprise hit. TF2 was awesome fun before it became polluted with hats and memes and awful visual effects. The less said about the dead Half Life series, the better at this point.

    It’s sad that Valve don’t seem to have much interest in developing games anymore – they seem way more focused on their store and trying to advance PC gaming in other ways (like releasing peripherals that fail to address the problems of PC couch gaming). I miss the old Valve.

  • TF2 can still be fun. Just depends on the server, the players and the time of day. And whether you want to play the same half a dozen maps over and over or not.

  • I remember being so hype for Portal. I watched those videos over and over, I was so excited.
    As soon as it hit, I played through the whole thing – took about 3 hours. Went over to 4chan… and immediately had the end of Episode 2 spoiled for me. I played that next.

    I had absolutely no interest in Team Fortress 2, a game that would eventually consume 2000+ hours of my time over the following years. The Orange Box was incredible.

    How about an Orange Box 2, Valve?

  • $80 for a thousand hours in TF2 was worth the price of admission alone. The fact it had Portal and HL2 Ep 2 as well was just icing.

  • The Orange box was freaking awesome. I played in order Played HL Ep 1, Ep 2 , portal and many hours on TF all on the 360. What a game changer portal was in hindsight. Good times. ?

  • Portal really was an incredible experience – so unique and utterly unrivalled in its immediate establishment of atmosphere.

    Portal 2 was excellent too, although for very different reasons. The puzzles in Portal 2 were spectacular – the additions of the coloured gels made for some great new concepts and the voice work was top-notch. I feel however that the magic was lost with Portal 2. It was almost a bit too AAA in it’s approach. It lacked the restraint shown by the original Portal.

    • What you’ve said about Portal 2 is true. I’ve considered writing why Portal 2 feels like a different game from Portal (besides the fact that they are literally different games), I think you’ve highlighted part of the problem.

    • It’s the same issue that Borderlands 2 had compared to Borderlands. The first game was a this kinda out no where, roughly polished delight, and the sequel, while still a solid game in it’s own right, felt a little too polished, and lost some of the original magic.

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