1. A federal officer, espcially an agent of the F.B.I. or the secret service, handling counterfeiting cases. 2. An inmate who secretly acts as an informer against his fellow convicts; a police spy.

- american underworld dictionary - 1950
The G stands for Government, as FBI agents work directly for the U.S. Federal Government rather than a local police department.

The term was allegedly coined by gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly1 in September 1933. While being arrested by DOI agents (Division of Investigation, a precursor to the FBI), Kelly yelled at them Don't shoot G-men, don't shoot.


The G-Man (Half-life Character)

The G-man is slim, middle-aged man dressed in a blue business suit. His hair is jet black, his skin albino. He is slim, and appears dark, eerie, and cold. He carries a briefcase wherever he goes, the contents supposedly unknown. He also seems to have some sort of a speech impediment. He sounds like a cross between William Shatner and a snake. In a comment in the Source Engine's developer kit, he is described as the "Misunderstood Servant of the People". Perhaps this is to say that just because of his demeanor, we shouldn't fear him.

Notes on the Briefcase

If you use a noclip cheat, you'll find 3 pencils, some paper, a 9mm, an identity card, and a laptop. No souls, no Pulp Fiction references, just normal, boring shit. However, considering the G-man goes everywhere with his briefcase, like Linus with his blanket, there's no question there's a greater signifigance. The office supplies were probably just things he was stealing from his workplace.

Spoilers - This article contains major spoilers for Half-life, and minor spoilers for Half-life 2.

Appearances in Half-life

Before the very end of Half-Life, the G-man appears only to watch the player, a star with a cameo. He never speaks or attempts to contact the player. He can be seen through windows as havoc ensues, always in unreachable areas, watching with a cold, steely eye. When you're in purgatory, he's making sure he keeps his cool, and straightens his tie. This is is role throughout the game, definitely noticeable, but not blaringly obvious. At the end, he appears once more, "offering" Freeman employment. If you deny his offer, he places you against the armies of the Xen, an impossible battle. If you accept, he places you into stasis. What an asshole.

The G-Man in Half-life 2

The G-man, the mysterious figure from the first Half-life reappears in Half-life 2, opening the game with a rather unsettling oration, while Freeman is placed in a sort of psychedelic half-reality.

Rise and shine, Mr Freeman…rise and shine. Not that I wish to imply that you have been sleeping on the job…no one is more deserving of a rest. And all the effort in the world would have gone to waste but until…well let's just say your hour has come again. So wake up Mr Freeman, wake up and smell the ashes.

After a brief, yet cliché-ridden speech, the game begins, Gordon once more beginning his adventure on a train, this time bound for the mysterious City 17. Smell the ashes indeed - the world is a smoggy, grey place.

That's the last time that the G-man makes an obvious performance in Half-life 2. His style of voyeurism is a lot more discreet in HL2, sometimes staring at you from a TV screen, and making numerous appearances in the chapter "Water Hazard". He makes a rather vital performance at the end, readying us for our next adventure, named in the tradition of poor Star Wars sequels, Half-life 2: Episode One.

My Views of the G-man

In the original Half-life, on the first playing, the G-man was the most chilling part of the whole game. Although I'm told he has cameos before the disaster, I never noticed him because he had no signifigance. Once the disaster began, he was really fucking terrifying. He's perfectly willing to watch you go through hell, he remains casual as all hell breaks loose. The G-man, in Half-life, is inhuman. At the end of the game, given the option of working for him, I was kind of pissed off, considering he was evaluating me the whole time. I rejected, got killed, used my quick load, and accepted.

It's a shame I haven't gotten very far in Opposing Force. The G-man apparently makes quite a few appearances in there too, adding to his persona.

Half-life 2 was a big change for the G-man, which is why I can get a "Misunderstood Servant of the People" character of him into my head. Consider the themes of Half-life 2. Infested by aliens, and having its resources tapped severely (at the docks, many ships are beached, indicating a lower sea level), earth is in pretty fuggin' big trouble as its people are under control of a severe totalitarian government. Walter Breen is the face of this new alien dictated government, the propaganda machine telling everyone things are fine as the world slides into hell.

Human beings are resiliant creatures, believe it or not. And, whenever it's possible, rebellion may be necessary. Gordon Freeman becomes Che Guevara (without all the merchandising), and civil uprising begins.

It's strange that the G-man is unleashing Gordon to...save the world, considering that he treats Gordon as a product, as evidenced by his speech in the end, stating that he has received offers for Gordon's services. Who he works for, what he is, and what his motives are remain unknown.

The mystery of the G-man is central to the plot of both Half-Life and Half-life 2. He is as important as anything else to the Half-life universe, but is rarely seen and never understood. One of the things I look foward to most in the upcoming games is the unravelling of the mysteries that shroud Half-Life's strangest character.

This article may be updated later to show the G-man's signifigance in Half-life 2 Episode One, if I ever get around to playing it.

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