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Barney's Mind Series

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Submitted by @Blue15bomber:

Another spin-off series from the legendary Freeman's Mind.

HALF LIFE: BLUE SHIFT By: Ian Riley

Inspired (and endorsed) by: Ross Scott (Freeman's Mind)

Follow the thoughts of Mr. Barney Calhoun, a Black Mesa security guard and pessimistic individual. In this episode, Barney yawns his way through a tram ride to work and wonders where OSHA was when they were putting in handrails.

PLEASE NOTE, THE LAST 2 IN THE PLAYLIST ARE THE FIRST 2 EPISODES. IT APPEARS HE DID A REMAKE OF THOSE EPISODES LATER AND PRIORITIZED THEM OVER THE ORIGINALS. THEY ARE INCLUDED FOR COMPLETENESS, BUT OUT OF ORDER




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WhenWorldsCollide2

   1 of 2 members found this review helpful 1 / 2 members

I'm quite fond of this series, though as I look back on it I'm not sure why. Maybe it's some residual awe from my younger, greener days. Maybe it's some quaint charm the series still holds. Maybe it's that, unlike some Master Minds, Ian Riley has a voice that doesn't make me want to force his face through a cheese grater. Looking at you, Simon.

But jokes aside, though this series paved the way for bigger and better things to come, the series itself is rather unrefined and, sad to say, has not aged as well as some of its contemporaries, with the many trend references of the time dating it very poorly. Though Riley has a reasonable vocal resemblance (and indeed a physical one, though by nature of the series he never gets to show this off, much like Ross when he actually had a Gordon haircut) to a younger version of the character we later meet in Half-Life 2, the title character seems to be having something of an identity crisis, or rather a characterisation crisis - one minute he's discount Gordon Freeman, spouting off jargon and trivia that would be more fitting for a scientist than a lowly security guard, and the next he's dopey mick, a few cans short of a full six pack, being overly headstrong or cowardly as the situation demands. There's little attempt at character building and what little there is falls flat, which is probably due to the fact that there's no sense of dramatic tension and most of the moments in which he tries to give the character any depth or complexity comes across as a pale, bland imitation of what Ross did, minus the character nuances that actually made his character compelling (or indeed any actual character in the first place). He doesn't seem to have any real interest in doing his job as a security guard but never seems to miss an opportunity to complain about others shirking their own duties - specifically in the area of a certain so-called running gag about handrails. The series feels rushed, and the ending seems too keen to get the characters into their starting positions for the follow-up even if if messes up the timeline (did Ian never watch Revenge of the Sith?)

It's a notable series for being the first unofficial follow-up to Freeman's Mind, and was enough to land Ian a blink-and-you-miss it cameo in the penultimate episode of Ross' series (in which he somehow sounded more like the real Barney than he ever did in his own series...), but when we revisit the character years later in Freeman's Mind 2, Barney barely gets a look-in as Freeman retcons their relationship completely.

All in all, Barney's Mind is rather unremarkable, and would probably be entirely forgettable were it not indicative of the shape of things - better things - to come. Go in with an open mind but don't expect too much from it. It's worth a look-in, of only for historical purposes. 2 stars, one for effort and one for nostalgia.

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Isaacfess

  

This series was right next to Freeman's Mind (and Shepard's Mind) as my favorite episodic series of videos.

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