Combine and Cuckoos

I just realized that the Combine in Half-Life 2 are probably named after an organization from the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If you only saw the movie you won’t know what I’m taking about.

The novel is narrated by the Chief, a huge Native American man and takes place in a mental institution. The Chief sees people as physical manifestations of their social role – whereas he is 6’6″ in real life, he sees himself as being dwarfed by the tyrannical head nurse. He sees the belligerent hospital orderlies as mindless automatons, and the other patients as helpless rabbits.

He believed that the people in the asylum were not insane, that they just thought differently and were quarantined by a massive organization that ran the world. The patients were simply regarded as machines that had broken down. His name for this world-controlling organization was the Combine.

One thought on “Combine and Cuckoos

  1. name

    Honestly, very few have caught onto this little connection, a connection that seems, to me, to be a very obvious allusion. Whoever thinks that the only connection is the simple use of the name, it seems you just have not read the book.

    It’s just… baffling… to me, though, since, from my perspective, both the game and the book are fairly well known, which would lead me to believe that more people would catch this. I suppose it may be because there’s small overlap from the demographic of each medium, or the generation gap between people who are aware of the book and people who played the game is just… that large. Who knows.

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