In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, players can encounter a garden gnome near the game’s opening. If they manage to carry it all the way to the end and place it in the rocket ship before it takes off, players can unlock the Little Rocket Man achievement–an infamously complicated but very fun challenge for Half-Life fans. Now, Valve founder Gabe Newell is recreating this achievement in real life for charity.
Polygon is reporting that Newell is looking to launch a garden gnome into space as part of a Rocket Lab initiative in New Zealand, where he’s currently staying. The gnome, called Gnome Chompski (as it is in several Valve games), will be sent into space during a livestream, and viewers will need to donate to watch.
Money raised from the stream will be sent to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Starship, an Auckland-based children’s hospital.
This version of Gnome Chompski is not a regular garden gnome–Weta Workshop, the studio behind the effects in the Lord of the Rings movie series, has 3D-printed a titanium gnome that can withstand the heat and pressure of the launch.
The exact date of the launch isn’t yet clear, but it will likely happen within a two-week window starting on November 15.
The latest Half-Life game, the VR shooter Half-Life: Alyx, also contained a gnome that could be carried through the whole game for a Steam achievement.
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