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Manhack Arcade

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Cut.png The contents of this article have been cut.

The subject matter of this article contains in-development information that was cut from the final version of an official and/or canonical source and appears in no other canonical source. It may also contain incomplete information since not all cut material is publicly known.

Concept art for the Manhack Arcade.
General information

City 17


Combine occupation



Game information
  • c17_04 and its variations
  • c17_05 and its variations
  • arcade_01 to
  • flymh
  • manhack_playground
  • manhack_room[1]

The Manhack Arcade[2] is a City 17 area cut from Half-Life 2 that was to be visited in the first chapters of the game. It was to be located in a business/entertainment area, between the Trainstation Plaza and Kleiner's Lab.[1][2]

Note: Some of the screenshots featured in this article were taken slightly in altered versions of the Manhack Arcade maps, fixed by our contributors (many textures are missing, and the ones used as replacements may be very different in color and pattern). While they are very close to the original maps, they slightly divert from them.


In this entertainment area, the player was to see Citizens playing a video game which revolves around controlling Manhacks throughout the city streets and killing fugitive Citizens for points, ignorant of the fact that the Manhacks they are controlling are real, and that people are actually dying as a result.[1][2] The player would have been able to play the game, for which the entity "player_manhack" was to be used.[3][4]

There Gordon was to meet with Barney, who would tell him to head to the radio tower building, the starting point of the sewers leading to Kleiner's Lab (in the map "subt", visually similar to the Seattle Underground).[1]


  • The earliest map dates go back to 2001. It seems that the concept was dropped around December 2002.[1]
  • In the maps of the interior, the arcade game is only seen at a prototype stage and does not work.[1]
  • As in most of the leaked maps, the Citizens are all Male 1, group 2. Since they do not have any special properties, they are, by default, distracted by the player and tend to follow them while they should be ignoring them to focus on the game.[1]

First version[edit]

The first version started as a blocky and largely empty building, located in map "c17_04_23" (last edited March 2001), which cannot be entered. At the end of the street can be seen the Citadel inner wall, stationed Metrocops and APCs. This map was also partially used for Captain Vance's headquarters, in the map "VanceHQ".[1]

In a more recent map, "c17_05_06" (last edited September 2002), the building facade is remade in displacement s and it can be entered. In it can be seen classic arcade machines from Earth, spread on two levels, and a counter where belongings that will be stored in a locker room can be given to a Citizen. The player was to head upstairs, where Barney was to be found. He was then to tell Gordon to leave the building through a storage room where chairs and other machines can be found and head in the direction of the radio tower. This version of the path between the Arcade and the radio tower was likely to be located in a map possibly named "c17_06", but is missing from the mappack.[1]

The radio tower bears similarities to the three radio towers of Queen Anne in Seattle, Valve's hometown.

Second version[edit]

The second version shows drastic changes; the building facade and inside have been remade from scratch. As seen in "c17_04_38", "c17_04" is split, heavily enlarged and now features a Breencast device, a Metropolice station and an expanded area leading to another Manhack Arcade building. A plaza with a column is added; that column will be reused in the latest version of "e3_terminal". It will be doubled and its top will be replaced by a horse statue, finally to appear at the end of the Half-Life 2 chapter Anticitizicen One. The inside building can be seen in "arcade_04" (last edited December 2002) and "arcade_06" (last edited January 2002). In "arcade_06", the most complete map, Gordon was to go down escalators, follow a corridor and see a small room where Citizens are queuing to play. The corridor going further, he was to meet with Barney in a maintenance area. As in the previous version, Barney was to tell him to proceed through the sewers starting under the radio tower located nearby ("arcade_06" directly precedes "subt"). "arcade_04" is a smaller version which only features the arcade room cited before and another, bigger one, with several levels and a lift.[1] This bigger room is the one featured as concept art in Raising the Bar.

Third version[edit]

This third version was to feature the same inside elements as the previous one, only with a different facade. One version can be found in "arcade_04" (last edited December 2002). Its facade, decorated with a star, seems to be based the facade of the Macy's store in Seattle, and is also seen in concept art for the Citadel. Viktor Antonov, who made the picture, has lived in Seattle and likely based the building appearance on Macy's facade. (Half-Life 2 being located somewhere in Eastern Europe, it would seem in the first place that the star is related to the Soviet Union, while it was just taken from Macy's logo). The National Palace of Culture, another building found in Sofia where Antonov was born, seems to have also used for inspiration.

Another version, probably the most recent, can be found in "c17_04_41" (last edited December 2002). Its position is different to the previous version featured in "c17_04_38" and the facade can be seen from the column plaza. It does not feature a star anymore.

Although this version seems to be the third mapped version, it is likely the first version to have been designed.


Although the concept sounded good on paper, it was considered not "fun" by the team and was therefore cut.[2]


In the novel Ender's Game and the film Toys, a similar idea shows teenagers unknowingly controlling remote-controlled military robots that actually kill in real-life.

List of appearances[edit]

See also[edit]


Preceded by
Combine Factories
Half-Life 2 original storyline Succeeded by
Kleiner's Lab