The history of Half-Life to me is: There’s a way you should play it, a way you can play it and everyone else who can’t.
I was in the “can’t” camp for Half-Life in 1998, I was 11 and my family didn’t have a computer that could run anything other than Encarta 95 Mindmaze.
I remember Half-Life 2 costing me $500+ to play in 2005. I was a senior in High School, my only job was mowing my grandma’s lawn and selling my services as an artist in town (commissioned for portraits, land scapes, etc). I needed a DirectX 9 graphics card and more RAM to play the game how it looked in the PC mags I bought at the 7-11 across the alley. I finally got the card and RAM just in time to play it during the week off they gave seniors before graduation and it was a revelation.
This time around Valve made me build a power PC again, this time in a different order. They made the headset I wanted so I built a PC for it and then the game came later.
I respect Valve’s commitment to making what they want, when they want, shooting for the fringe of the gaming audience.