Last week, news came out that Portal is available for SHIELD, which involved NVIDIA sending various members of the press a presumably tasty little cake. (And no, I’m not the least bit disgruntled about not getting one.) It turns out that Portal isn’t alone in the port to SHIELD, as NVIDIA has now announced the availability of the original Half-Life 2 for SHIELD as well. Both games are available via the Google Play Store, but make no mistake: the games require an NVIDIA SHIELD (or at least a Tegra 4 SoC).

System requirements aside, it’s interesting to see that a couple games released in late 2004 (HL2) and late 2007 (Portal in the Orange Box) are now capable of running on a modern SoC. Then again, a state-of-the-art PC at the time HL2 first launched consisted of either ATI’s Radeon X800 Pro/XT or NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 GT/Ultra. The latter sported DX9-level hardware, with sixteen pixel shaders, six vertex shaders, and sixteen ROPs; ATI’s hardware had a similar 16:6:16 arrangement but with higher clocks generally giving them the edge in terms of performance. In theory, today’s Tegra 4 GPU should be faster than those old chips, but I haven’t seen anything on HL2 benchmarking on SHIELD yet and other elements certainly come into play. I doubt SHIELD is going to be able to run at 120+ FPS at 1280x1024, which is what our old 800 XT/6800 Ultra were able to achieve way back when, but then SHIELD also isn’t going to use a few hundred watts of power.

Perhaps the most bitter pill to swallow with these two SHIELD game announcements is the price: both come at a relatively high (for Android at least) $9.99. That’s the same price you’ll pay for PC versions via Steam, but we’re still talking about $10 each for games most SHIELD owners likely already own – not to mention the games are almost seven and ten years old. If you’ve been living in a cave or somehow managed to miss either game up until now, however, they’re two of the better examples of gaming goodness you’re likely to see, and still a far better value than paying $15 for a two hour movie IMO.

Source: NVIDIA Blog

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  • kyuu - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    Except that I can do everything you're describing -- console emulation, media player, etc. -- on my DV8P (Windows Tablet) just as well, with the exception of streaming PC games, which isn't terribly important to me. I can play Mirror's Edge (and Portal and Half-life 2, without even having to pay for them again) and other older titles just fine on the tablet itself anyway. Plus I've got a bigger screen and probably much better battery life to boot.

    So really, I can't think of a good reason to own a Shield, myself.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    Try taking that setup into a doctors office waiting room, or barber shop, hell even bringing it in a car. Lets count it up. Tablet + USB OTG Cable + Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter or Wired Controller + something to prop your tablet up on. It'd be a mess of wires, plus the speakers are crap (i have one).
  • kyuu - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    Uh, use a Bluetooth controller, like I do. And the speaker is fine, if not anything spectacular. Use headphones/earbuds if you want good sound. I doubt the sound coming out of the Shield's speakers is amazing either.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    Oh, and while sure, the tablet may not be quite as convenient for gaming on the go (but it works fine for me), it's certainly nicer to have a larger, nicer screen and no built-in gamepad when I'm using it for streaming, web browsing, or just about anything else.

    Anyway, if you love the Shield, that's fine. I just think it's overstating things to make it out to be the ultimate device for everything, or that it's even worth it for anyone who already has a decent tablet.
  • darkich - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    And where do you place that tablet while gaming over the controller?
    Put it on the table?
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    What about the person that cares more about having a decent tablet experience than a streaming device. I play my PC games on a nice 27" high Hz monitor, why should I stream something to a small hand held device? I already have a dedicated HTPC set up for my movie and youtube needs in my living room, why should I replace it with an inferior product? I have a Nexus 7 with 3G that provides me with great mobile tablet experience as well as all the emulation I need combined with a GameKlip and a PS3 pad.

    I'm glad you like the device, but to say that it is the be-all-end-all of mobile and consumption devices is highly ignorant.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    now your putting words into my mouth. I'm just saying its one of the most versatile devices money can buy
  • TheJian - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    ROFL...How much did all that cost you? You're naming device after device. A person who wants a decent tablet experience should buy...wait for it...A tablet :) I'm glad you have a GROUP of devices that fit every need you have. Many people don't even have a PC. There are ~2Billion devices running some version of windows (server etc). Most of those are stuck in businesses etc. So I'd say there are 6Billion this device might be well worth looking at.

    Sad you don't want your PC games on your TV. CONSOLE MODE. I prefer 60in+ for many PC games. I would only intend to use shields screen out of the home or if the TV was occupied. Most people don't even have an HTPC (6.5billion-7Bil? Do 100mil even have them?), same for roku, etc), so many would like a device that is a portable HDMI movie player, PC to TV game player, android game player, now streaming OUT of the house from your PC to your shield (just keeps getting better features right?), etc etc. It's a very handy product that can even serve as a poor PC hooked to a 24in ($100?) monitor+key+mouse while in the house. Anyone looking at Vita/3DS would seem to be making a bad mistake if they go with those two vs Shield, never mind rev2 is coming in about 45 days probably. A decision for either of the handhelds becomes moronic at that point considering what is coming out on android these days or shortly.

    What Morawka said is correct. IT has many uses. You overstated his comment, and worse attempted to show Shield's worthlessness by using 5 devices. That is not ignorant, but rather stupid. "I have these 100 devices that can do what your ONE device can do, so why would I want that?"...LOL. You seem to not understand the whole point of this thing. I want R2 (maybe R3? 20nm version) just to get out of buying a next gen console and still have tons of games coming that are probably not always on PC. If I buy a console there are very few things I can't already get on PC so kind of pointless (and I already have devices that do everything else those do anyway). I can't play EVERY single game that comes out anyway, or even have time to play all the ones I DO have access to on PC now so I won't miss exclusives I don't have time to play. So I'm after gaming out of the house, portable movie player with HDMI out, and PC games to TV when at home or Android games output to the TV also. If I can get a great way to use it as a TV browsing tool I'll do that too as a bonus.
  • Krysto - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    We should see a lot more "real games" being ported or built for Android soon. The hardware is finally getting "PC/console-like" for that to happen.
  • djc208 - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    Like I'd want to give them $10 to play a game that would just lead me to the abyss again! But that might be just because I'm still bitter that there was never a HL2 EP3.

    Not a big FPS player but I really did like the story arc in HL, such a shame they dropped the ball.

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