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The Importance of Portal

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the these-points-of-data-make-a-beautiful-line dept.

PC Games (Games) 222

Team Fortress 2 and Episode Two may have been more anticipated elements of Valve's Orange Box offering, but it's the charmingly small Portal that's been getting a lot of attention in the last few days. MTV's Multiplayer blog thinks the game has the move of the year, and the Gamers with Jobs site offers up a convincing argument why Portal represents a significant step forward for storytelling in games: "Portal is an object lesson in interactive storytelling. We in the media are so fond of shaking our heads, scratching our beards and looking for the "art" in videogames. Well it's time for us all to shut the hell up. This is it. It's in this finely crafted, lovingly rendered piece of short-story literature. Honestly, I'd be surprised if the authors themselves see it as the accomplishment it is. It's a simple set of mechanics, a few pages of sound-booth dialog, a handful of textures and repetitive level designs. But then, a novel is only made up of 26 letters, black ink and white paper. And most artists of lasting brilliance don't recognize the importance of their own work. And how many now-revered musicians and painters died unknown and broke?" If you still haven't heard it, Jonathan Coulton's 'Still Alive' (the ending theme to Portal) has been in my head for over a week now. Just try to get it out of yours.

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Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal? (-1, Troll)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 7 years ago | (#20996339)

Are we talking about Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, or something else?

You'd better be kidding... (-1, Troll)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 7 years ago | (#20996439)


Re:Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal? (0, Redundant)

Adradis (1160201) | about 7 years ago | (#20996441)

Try Portal, the Valve game released October 10th.

Sorry, never heard of it. (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 7 years ago | (#20997107)

Sorry, never heard of it.

Re:Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal? (1, Informative)

sammy baby (14909) | about 7 years ago | (#20996447)

Nope. Portal [] .

No, we are talking about Half-Life 2's Portal (1, Redundant)

CharonX (522492) | about 7 years ago | (#20996455)

It's part of the Orange Box, check out the Wikipedia article [] .

The cake is a lie! (3, Informative)

Drakin020 (980931) | about 7 years ago | (#20996367)

The cake is a lie! The cake is a lie! The cake is a lie!

The Cake Is A Lie! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20996443)

The Cake Is A Lie!
The Cake Is A Lie!
The Cake Is A Lie!
The Cake Is A Lie!
The Cake Is A Lie!

(Seriously, screw this /. comment system. "Too much repetition." "Too many caps.")

The best of the Orange Box (5, Informative)

mackil (668039) | about 7 years ago | (#20996451)

I purchased the Orange Box primarily for Episode 2 of Half Life. After all, that was the main event. However it was Portal that impressed me the most. It wasn't just the original concept of game play, nor even the intriguing (and somewhat creepy) story. That game was just plain different. The puzzles were all quite challenging, but never annoying or frustrating, and the story unfolded in such a manner where you just had to continue to find out more. No one watching you in all the observation rooms? That's odd. The cake is a lie?? What does that mean? What is up with this computer? In the beginning you think there is no story, it's just a collection of physics puzzles showing off the portal trick. Imagine the surprise when you find out the story is really quite engaging (and again, somewhat creepy). Portal is short, but it was by far the most enjoyable part of the Orange Box. I really hope they continue this series somehow.... now off for some cake ;)

Re:The best of the Orange Box (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 years ago | (#20996651)

Portal is probably one of the most unique cross-genre games out there (FPS + puzzle).

The major thing is that the puzzles aren't the generic jumping puzzles, nor can they be solved by blindly rushing in and shooting everything in sight. Portal can require a bunch of strategy (planning out where to shoot portals to accomplish the goal without getting hurt), a bit of trickery and timing (involves shooting a portal in mid-air so you can rocket to the next place and shoot the next portal where you couldn't before you started), etc. Heck, some of the puzzles you can't solve the traditional way.

And yes, the puzzles aren't overly complicated, but they do require some planning, some figuring out, and the best thing - I don't think it's possible to get yourself stuck! (Major no-no in puzzle games is to work yourself into a spot where you can't get out of because you forgot to pick up the whatzit 3 levels back). Valve really did spend a lot of time making sure a mistake won't make the puzzles suddenly unsolvable.

So while I guess it may be a general trend, I hope developers realize that it shouldn't be possible to get stuck if you happen to not notice the whatzit (if item X is needed near the end, you give the player less and less subtle clues they need X to continue later...).

Otherwise, this will be the end of the puzzle genre again.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (2, Interesting)

j.sanchez1 (1030764) | about 7 years ago | (#20996691)

I really hope they continue this series somehow....

I, for one, am hoping to see some really excellent add-on maps for Portal, either community-created or Valve-created (or both). Portal is pretty much open-ended, as far as mechanics. I am sure Valve could continue the storyline in a sequel, but I think the best thing is to just utilize the mechanics and engine for a limitless number of puzzle rooms.

In a non-storyline mode, we could be seeing the birth of a new "casual-game" genre: Casual FPS.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (4, Interesting)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 7 years ago | (#20997091)

I'm not really sure you can call Portal an FPS because of the "shooter" part...after all, in the game you never hold a weapon expressly intended to destroy anything or hurt anyone. Not even a generic wrecking tool like a crowbar. The portal generator is a gun only in the sense that it projects energy to a distant's not a weapon. Not even as much of a weapon as the Gravity Gun in HL2, which got a lot of attention at the time as a puzzle solving device rather than a traditional weapon. The joy of Portal was the way in which it guided you to do the "wrong" thing...gradually distrust the computer, start to notice the signs of something amiss, and improvise to use this mostly innocuous device to destroy obstacles. It was possible to continue believing the announcer...on the first reports of the gameplay on forums, you could find players saying that they "beat" Portal and the ending was pointless: they had trustingly ridden the platform into the incinerator. The game rewarded suspicion and curiosity, yet allowed the player to be an obedient lab rat if that was their predilection.

I don't really have a good term for the game, though on the basis of similar discussions we might call it a "first-person-puzzle-suspense-tragicomedy."

Re:The best of the Orange Box (2, Funny)

dougmc (70836) | about 7 years ago | (#20997743)

The portal generator is a gun only in the sense that it projects energy to a distant's not a weapon.
Blasphemy, says Doug, slayer of cameras with the portal gun! Take that!

I'm almost camera shy!

Too bad it comes with DRM (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20998673)

The DRM the game comes with requires there to be an active internet connection every time you play (even though it isn't a MMO). It also robs you of your right of first sale.

Too bad they had to encumber such a great game with such a bad set of restrictions.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (2)

Alex777 (1113887) | about 7 years ago | (#20998037)

The game perpetuated the myth that the game was simply a collection of portal puzzles by having the chapters correspond to the test chambers, with no mention of the endgame. And the advanced chambers only require completion of the corresponding basic chamber; not the whole game. I fully expected the game to simply end upon completing all 19 chambers (with or without cake) but was pleasantly surprised to find more.

And I agree with a post further down that calls GlaDOS the best computer villian since Shodan. Her comments really come into their own during the ending sequence. She also has a few lines in the television ad and in Peggle Extreme.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (5, Insightful)

theantipop (803016) | about 7 years ago | (#20996723)

The thing I hate to see is that most review sites are docking points off their arbitrary number scales for its length. I normally wouldn't care how someone "scores" a game (and I rarely read reviews to begin with), but I fear it is indicative of a group of people who just don't get it. I've seen similar thinking kill games and good franchises in the past. Luckily it seems most people do see the genius at work and we'll be seeing more from the Portal universe.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (2)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#20997163)

Luckily it seems most people do see the genius at work and we'll be seeing more from the Portal universe.

I don't know about you, but it seems to me based on various things in Portal, that it's set in the same universe as Half-Life. The mention of black mesa not withstanding, the sentry turrets are awfully close to the ones from Half-Life.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (2, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | about 7 years ago | (#20997853)

Yes, it is. Apature Science is explicitly mentioned in Ep2, and should play a bigger role in Ep3.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 7 years ago | (#20997231)

I personally gave the whole game a 10, and the first hour of it a 9. Length was definitely not a factor in my decisions. Could the game have been longer? Sure. Would the game still have been as good? Probably not. The pacing was perfect, the humor was perfect, the game design was so amazingly original I was blown away.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

servognome (738846) | about 7 years ago | (#20997289)

The thing I hate to see is that most review sites are docking points off their arbitrary number scales for its length.
Well review sites are there to serve as a guide for people looking on whether or not to purchase the game. In that respect it is understandable to dock some points for length, as "value for your money" plays a role in scoring.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

Morinaga (857587) | about 7 years ago | (#20997541)

I don't know about the rest of you but I didn't see an option to buy Portal on it's own. Instead, it was part of a larger collection of games including the fantastic Half-life series and TF2. On that scale, the Orange box is as close to a 10 as you can get. There's more content in Orange box than I thought could fit on a single DVD. Giving portal a lower score because of length is like giving films in Halo 3 a low score because you only get four uploads. Instert Forest/tree analgoy here.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

servognome (738846) | about 7 years ago | (#20998177)

Portal standalone is $19.99 from Steam. Given it's length I would argue it's more of a $12.99-$14.99 category game. Yes it's splitting hairs, but when compared to other games for the money, the volume of content just doesn't add up; though the quality of the content is far beyond that of most $20 games.
Personally I think with the amount of additional levels that no doubt will come from the community, Portal would be worth it @ $50. Heck, I would pay $10 for the soundtrack alone. Unfortunately people expect different things, and so there will be many who are upset because the $20 they spent didn't provide them with the number of hours of entertainment they were expecting. The type of person who buys a game strictly on the arbitrary review score, would likely fall into that category.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20997745)

Yeah, but Portal retails for $20 stand-alone, and otherwise it's part of Orange Box. I'm not seeing the value/money issue, here, so I still think it's inappropriate to deduct points for length.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | about 7 years ago | (#20998145)

You ever been to a really nice restaurant? Say, a French place with a 50-100 dollar per plate menu. All the ones I've been to have one thing in common: fairly small portions. I'm not talking about those luxury joints that models go to to get a slice of carrot and a wheat cracker, of course, just places with actual great food. The idea is that if you get an appetizer, wine, and share a dessert, you will be pleasantly full by the end of the meal, as opposed to sick or in need of a takeout box. A lot of people get a culture shock when they are served a non-huge amount of food, but I challenge you to tell a guest at Chez Panisse [] they're not getting their money's worth.

But maybe you're not as much of a food snob as me. Fair enough. If I recall correctly, Halo: Combat Evolved is so goddamn repetitive because it was originally a short game until word came down from MS that it had to be twice as long. I can't imagine that it would've been a worse game if they'd stuck to the original length. In fact, for the latter 75% of the game, I was gnashing my teeth and thinking, "When is this thing going to end?"

So, I think it's fair to say that quantity of content does not translate into quality of experience. In fact, I think that if Portal had been longer, it would have been a less enjoyable experience. In order to make it longer and more interesting, you would've had to add some other elements - another story arc, another bad guy, more enemies (and how many ways are there to deal with armed opponents when all you have is a freakin' portal gun?). And even then, it would've been less charming. One, the hollowness and oppressively static atmosphere of the game would've been gone. Two, it would've gotten boring and frustrating, because there's only so much you can do with Newtonian physics and jump puzzles require an annoying amount of precision. Really, all I want is to get Chell out of the rabbit hole and kill the evil AI. If it'd taken longer to get to the evil AI, I would've felt teased. If there had been some other bad guy to topple, I would've asked, "Why? I'm just some orphan in a rat maze who wants to get out. Why do I have to go after Dr. Nefario?"

But hey, if you like boring 40-hour games with identical, uninteresting levels and the same 5 entities repeated ad infinitum, or one and a half-pound hamburgers with tasteless meat, white bread, iceberg lettuce, mild onion and mealy tomatoes, don't let me impinge upon you "enjoyment".

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

servognome (738846) | about 7 years ago | (#20998465)

A lot of people get a culture shock when they are served a non-huge amount of food, but I challenge you to tell a guest at Chez Panisse they're not getting their money's worth.
And that is the challenge of a reviewer, how to balance volume and quality for your audience and boil it down to some arbitrary number. Most gaming reviews are written for average gamers; just like I would expect a newspaper food review catering to an average audience to dock a few points for a fine restaurant that serves very small portions.

But hey, if you like boring 40-hour games with identical, uninteresting levels and the same 5 entities repeated ad infinitum, or one and a half-pound hamburgers with tasteless meat, white bread, iceberg lettuce, mild onion and mealy tomatoes, don't let me impinge upon you "enjoyment".
I thought Portal was just the right length, any longer and the innovative gameplay would have gotten stale. Just as I think a relatively short (but great game) Bioshock was still a little bit too long, and was starting to lose me towards the end. Of course, there is the $10 All-you-can-eat chinese food crowd who subscribe to the thought of quantity over quality for the money.

Steam is bad (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20997951)

I haven't bought Portal, and will not buy it, because it is distributed with DRM.

Steam requires the game to verify its authenticity every time I play. I hate that. I should not have to phone home every time I want to play a game I paid for on my own computer.

Furthermore, if my Internet connection goes down, I can't play my game. That is completely unacceptable.

Lastly, Steam denies me my right of first sale. No thanks.

I don't care how awesome the game is...I won't buy it until they remove the anchor.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 7 years ago | (#20997959)

Reminds me a bit of Katamari, great game arguably too short. Some people became bored with the mechanic quicly while most enjoyed it.

That there were two sequels and people are calling for sequels to portal is a problematic aspect of the length of the games. Clearly neither game needs a sequel, people don't really need a sequel they need more content from very creative developers and one wonders whether their next games will be as successful.

It's a product of the franchise mentality and really bothers me when I have so many exceedingly lengthy games to complete.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 7 years ago | (#20998335)

I never understood that, either. If someone complains a game is too short, then it's a REALLY good game! It's fine to mention in the review if it's short so the buyer can beware, but it's something to dock points on.

Game reviews (or any review) are so subjective anyway, I feel the 1 to 5 system they use over on X-Play is probably the best. Has anyone ever seen a movie get a score of 8.375 starts out of 10? Can someone explain to me the fine difference between a game that scores a 29 out of 100 and one that gets 27 out of 100?

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 7 years ago | (#20998697)

I get the impression by "too short" most people really mean "not much replay value." At least, that's what I'd say about it. Portal is amazingly fun - but once it's over, it's over. I still plan to complete the Advanced maps, and then take a look at the Challenge maps, but really there's nothing else to do, other than hope that people will make new and interesting maps for it. (And as most people are pointing out, a lot of the fun of Portal comes from GlaDOS, who's completely missing from the Advanced maps I've completed, and I presume is probably not in the Challenge maps either.)

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

flitty (981864) | about 7 years ago | (#20996733)

Counterstrike was community created, why doesn't valve just let the community create more levels, let the community vote on the best, and then release the best levels through steam/XBL for the 360? They could release a community expansion every 1-2 months, either for free or a couple bucks (for the time spent managing the input). I'm sure there are many people out there who have ideas for levels, and would be more than willing to spend the time creating the levels. Most of the levels wouldn't require new models/textures. The sandbox is there, the community is willing...

For all you Quake trick jumpers (2, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 7 years ago | (#20996819)

For any fellow Quake players who enjoy trick maps: get Portal now! This has to be the most fun I've had since beating maps like rjartvf1 for the first time. Okay, so the maps don't involve a super large amount of it, but the potential is endless for map makers - it doesn't have Quake's physics but this is the Next Big Thing we've all been looking for.

Portal is stocked full of humor and puzzles. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Re:For all you Quake trick jumpers (1)

WombatDeath (681651) | about 7 years ago | (#20998157)

That's a good point - I wonder how long it'll be until we get a standard deathmatch game where each player also has a portal gun? That could really make things interesting.

Re:The best of the Orange Box (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 7 years ago | (#20997127)

The puzzles were all quite challenging, but never annoying or frustrating
Heh, try the bonus versions of the puzzles if you want to see frustration (particularly the last three).

Re:The best of the Orange Box (2, Informative)

AmaDaden (794446) | about 7 years ago | (#20997341)

I really hope they continue this series somehow....
Just a note here the Portal universe is part of the main Half-life universe. They mention Aperture Science in passing in ep2. And with the way ep2 ended Aperture Science might be important in the next Half-life game.
Oh and just as a little added info [] . Type 'login'. The name is cjohnson and password tier3. You can find that login in a "ratman" room in Portal (level 17 I think).

Re:The best of the Orange Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20997761)

There is no cake! []

Portal was awsome (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#20996541)

I picked up the orange box primarily because of Portal. I've been looking forward to this game since it was announced. I'm really impressed with it. It was shorter than I thought it would be, but it had a lot more depth than I was expecting as well. I figured it would just be a puzzle game, but it has a genuinely compelling story. The ending credits blew me away, and I had to save the game right before the credits rolled just so I could come back and watch them whenever I want to. I really hope they release a Portal 2 at some point and that it maintains the level of quality that this one has.


The cake is a lie!
The cake is a lie!
The cake is a lie!
The cake is a lie!


Re:Portal was awsome (1)

mlk (18543) | about 7 years ago | (#20996769)

On of the comments in the commentary strongly suggested a second.

I don't see how it would work game play wise without it becoming more combat orientated.

Re:Portal was awsome (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#20997061)

Well, they could make it work, even if it was more combat oriented with the addition of some more mechanics. As one idea, say they give you a cloaking device that makes you invisible if you stand still, and your objective is to infiltrate and destroy a combine facility. Part of the puzzle then becomes how to avoid getting spotted by combine troops and also to occasionally eliminate them. Say you put one portal in the ceiling over a pit, then you wait for a combine patrol to walk past you and shoot a portal under his feet. Or maybe you place a portal such that you can step through it when a combine is coming by to keep from being spotted. There are all kinds of ways it could work, but what I'd be more worried about is making sure that they keep the awesome narrative which I'm afraid would suffer without that AI constantly giving feedback.

Re:Portal was awsome (1)

servognome (738846) | about 7 years ago | (#20997357)

I really hope they release a Portal 2 at some point and that it maintains the level of quality that this one has.
Portal Multiplayer Deathmatch. My weighted companion cube will pwn u!

Re:Portal was awsome (1)

Inakizombie (1081219) | about 7 years ago | (#20997725)

The cake is not a lie. You just don't want to eat it. Listen to the blue sphere for the recipe.

Re:Portal was awsome (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#20997787)

Ah, so that's what it was babbling about. I was to busy trying to vaporise them to really listen to what they said, but I do remember it saying something like "2 cups of sugar" at some point. At any rate, the cake was kind of a lie, you were never going to get it.

I just listened to that song. (-1, Offtopic)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20996603)

To really appreciate it I am guessing you had to play through the game first. Because listening to that song, and reading the You Tube comments where people say it's the best song ever, I just don't get it. So, instead of wasting your time, here's some good songs I've recently discovered:

Wreath of Barbs - Wumpscut
Professional Killer - KMFDM
Walking With Strangers - The Birthday Massacre

No high-pitched voice poppy stuff here I'm afraid. If you don't like Industrial, steer clear of those three songs.

Re:I just listened to that song. (-1, Offtopic)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20996807)

Stupid moderator. The song is part of the topic and I am discussing the song and offering alternatives. If anything this is informative. Might as well mod me "-1 Not A Fan Boy". Another example of the Slashdot Fan Boy Moderation System at work.

Re:I just listened to that song. (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#20996907)

Er, you basically did the equivalent of walking into a forum thread about a movie, saying "hey guys, I don't like this movie, so here's a random unsolicited list of alternative movies you can watch!". This would have been informative if it had been solicited by a poster, or if any of the songs listed had styles similar to the one originally discussed. Since this was completely out of the blue, an off-topic mod is appropriate.

Re:I just listened to that song. (1)

Vexor (947598) | about 7 years ago | (#20997155)

The song was okay. It didn't suit me personally. However I think it fits well with the game. Which was good for it's original concept. I still think TF2 is what "makes" the Orange Box excellent.

Re:I just listened to that song. (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 7 years ago | (#20998745)

No, the moderator is bang on the money. The ending theme won't make much sense if you haven't played Portal. If you have, you will understand that it is far more apt for the game than any other theme could possibly have been; funny and chilling at the same time.

Re:I just listened to that song. (1)

the_tsi (19767) | about 7 years ago | (#20996881)

It's a lot funnier if you've spent the past six hours listening to the same voice try to build a rapport with you (with some exceptionally dry humor thrown in) and then try to kill you.

Portal 2D (5, Interesting)

Square Snow Man (985909) | about 7 years ago | (#20996631)

For those interested a 2D version of this game portal can be played here []

Obligatory mention of the freeware predecessor (5, Informative)

cwolfsheep (685385) | about 7 years ago | (#20996677)

Same team wrote an earlier version of this two years ago. [] []

Re:Obligatory mention of the freeware predecessor (1)

syrion (744778) | about 7 years ago | (#20997287)

Narbacular Drop is the same concept, of course, but it's really nothing like portal in its gameplay. It's slow and buggy where Portal sometimes takes reflexes and is smooth as silk. The ND guys really benefit from Valve's superior art and design experience.

Re:Obligatory mention of the freeware predecessor (1)

Gharbad (647620) | about 7 years ago | (#20997847)

That game was the reason portal exists. It was their final project at digipen. Gabe saw it and said "Yo, work for me now." and they said "sure!" and now we have portal.

Yeah, Portal. (1)

gspawn (703815) | about 7 years ago | (#20996707)

Nevermind all the RPGs, or Bioshock, or Halo 3 which is about to release its fourth in-universe novel. At last, Portal has brought storytelling back to video gaming! Hooray!

Re:Yeah, Portal. (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 years ago | (#20997347)

seriously, tie-in novel = video game story telling??? That is why portal is a "leap" because it is not the typical "read this novel (or scrolling text on screen), watch this cinematic, jump through this hoop" that everyone is so sick of.

Re:Yeah, Portal. (2, Funny)

nicolastheadept (930317) | about 7 years ago | (#20997649)

No, its jump through portal instead!

Great game (1)

Floritard (1058660) | about 7 years ago | (#20996709)

I loved Portal. It was for me the most intriguing part of the Orange box, though the other games would have been enough. The basic gameplay was pretty innovative, but I think even more so I enjoyed the minimalistic style and especially the dark humor of the master computer character. For a game with no enemies other than stationary turrets, they did a superb job of keeping the game engaging with just a diembodied voice. I love that character.

If you listen to the commentary tracks they put an impressive amount of thought into all aspects of the game. Gabe Newell request feedback and states "we're only just beginning to utilize this new gameplay style," which I'm glad to hear and I hope everyone else is demanding more Portal.

Re:Great game (2, Insightful)

TeraSpaceInvader (1166153) | about 7 years ago | (#20996821)

What impressed me the most about Portal was that I was never frustrated with the inability to find my way through a puzzle, in fact, the portals in Portal are the most useful gameplay device here. Dropping boxes on turrets, catapulting yourself hundreds of feet in the air through constantly shifting Portals to reach a far away place. The dialog had me in tears sometimes, it was cynical, sarcastic, funny, and more all at once. And all it was was a disembodied voice floating in the vaccuum. Portal blew my mind as a game, I don't think I've enjoyed something as puzzle orientated as Portal was before. And the ending... oh the ending.

Re:Great game (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 7 years ago | (#20997193)

What impressed me the most about Portal was that I was never frustrated with the inability to find my way through a puzzle
I guess you didn't try the bonus puzzles, eh? Try making your way through the turret level when there's no way to disable the turrets!

For the what!? (1, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20996729)

The importance of Portal is the the ART!? Are you kidding?

It has less story than most games. The areas are all virtually identical. There is only 1 way to interact with the environment.

The only thing that might qualify it as art is the AMAZING ending and awesome song at the end. I didn't realize that was JoCo that made that song (mainly because he usually sings them himself)... It's a very compelling song.

No, the game is much more important for the 'portal' technology and their ability to make a very compelling and fun puzzle game in a typical FPS environment.

Re:For the what!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20996959)

looks like someone failed to read.

Re:For the what!? (1)

MeltUp (633868) | about 7 years ago | (#20997055)

It has less story than most games.
If you mean that they didn't rub your face in it, then you are right. But that's what makes the story so great, the subtle way in which it is told.

For example, take the slides you can glimpse in 2 places in the game. They mention GLaDoS as "arguably alive". They don't give away what happend at all, they only drop that 1 hint, on one of the last lines of just 1 of the slides in the set.
All you get are various hints as to what happend, never anything forced.

Oh, and let's not forget, for once, the "bad guy" makes no stupid revealing speech explaining all at the end.
Instead, she tricks you, which ultimatly reveals her weakness.

As for identical looking areas, that's true, BUT: Where you bored even ONCE?
IMHO The puzzles are all very different, and never frustrating or boring. It's a small game, but a real good one.

Re:For the what!? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20998449)

"Where you bored even ONCE?"

Yes, for about the first 5 'levels'. After that, no, but then, it wasn't long enough for that. (That's different than saying it was too short, though I think it could have stood to be a bit longer.)

I didn't need the slides to know that 'GLaDoS' was 'alive'. It was pretty obvious anyhow, almost from the start. In fact, as far as 'hints' go, it was more like a getting whacked on the head with a 2x4 than a 'hints'.

Yes, no stupid end speech dumbing it down further. Thank God. Tricks me? Attempts to. None of her 'tricks' would have fooled even the least self-aware of us primates.

The puzzles were all slightly different, each building on the last. Even the last 'puzzle' only incorporated tricks you learned in all the others. It was actually one of the easy ones.

Sorry, but if you're going to hold Portal up as 'art', you might do better to look into games that have more substance. Personally, I think even GTA San Andreas has more 'art' value than Portal. It was a vivid world with interactions that meant something and a story that would take more than a couple sentences to tell.

All that makes it sound like I didn't like Portal, and that couldn't be further from the truth. I bought Orange Box for the PC -just- for Portal, and at the rate of $16+/hr, I still consider it well worth the money. I just don't buy the 'art' bit for even a second.

Re:For the what!? (3, Insightful)

metroid composite (710698) | about 7 years ago | (#20997957)

Let's spin this post back 20 years, shall we?

The importance of Tetris is the the ART!? Are you kidding?

It has less story than most games. The pieces are all just squares. There is only 1 way to interact with the environment.

The only thing that might qualify it as art is the AMAZING music in the game. I didn't realize that was taken from 19th century Russian composers [] .

Now, whether you consider Tetris art, and whether you think the situation is comparable isn't really the point. The point is that simple is not bad, and simple certainly does not indicate a lack of art. If anything, it's the reverse--"trying to cram in too much content" often indicates lack of art.

Re:For the what!? (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 years ago | (#20998491)

The story is subtle and slowly revealed -- from the growing realization that no human is watching you to see test areas that are broken down to finally wandering behind the scenes and getting the hints of what happened at the facility and the occasional clues that the computer is lying to you. Then there's the gleefully sociopathic devolution of her behavior towards you as it becomes more and more apparent that she sees you as a rodent to run though a maze an euthanize when it's all over.

The way the madness of the computer slowly becomes apparent and the way that she relentlessly screws with your mind -- from telling you that the Weighted Companion Cube will not stab you and cannot talk, but if it does you should just ignore it to the whole cake obsession to the callous way in which she highlights unnecessarily deadly parts of the test and so on -- are both masterful examples of storytelling.

It's good because it doesn't slap you in the face with what's going on. It's also a great example of good dark comedy writing.

"Have I lied to you? I mean, in this room? Trust me."

"That thing you broke isn't important to me. Not any more. It's the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit; it makes shoes for orphans. Nice job breaking it, hero."

"Cake, and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all!"

"Although the euthanizing process is remarkably painful, 8 out of 10 Aperture Science engineers believe that the companion cube is most likely incapable of feeling much pain."

Re:For the what!? (1)

Creepyguywithastick (934101) | about 7 years ago | (#20998577)

Did you play the game, or even watch videos of playing it? After watching a video of the final battle, I'm very much impressed with the story element of the game, even if it didn't have the cool gun and cool JoCo song. What Portal did that no other game (that I know of) has done, was made the entire game a character. The GLaDOS is a disembodied voice that taunts you four the entire 90-120 minute game, making fun of you for screwing up and making hilarious passive-aggressive comments. For being the ONLY character in the entire story, she was developed with a surprising level of depth. Not just her witty banter, but also her ambivalence and mysterious ultimate objective, which is never clearly given, but has to be pieced together through Freudian slips and careful analysis of everything she says and the Half-Life universe. GLaDOS is an impressingly deep character for a video game NPC, especially considered she is conveyed entirely in the 'background', and not through cumbersome cutscenes and text boxes.

Re:For the what!? (1)

morari (1080535) | about 7 years ago | (#20998615)

No, the game is much more important for the 'portal' technology [...]
Oh, you mean Prey! Best thing to happen to the Doom 3 engine, it was.

The Importance of (Insert Random Game Here) (2, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20996755)

Seriously, what?

Storytelling, depth, intrigue, and good writing are important, and have been forever.

Portal has succeeded to meet these age-old criteria. It is a quality piece of work. This has always been 'important' with respect to any product. So.. yea.

You should really PLAY the game before commenting (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 7 years ago | (#20998119)

Earlier you said:

To really appreciate it I am guessing you had to play through the game first. Because listening to that song, and reading the You Tube comments where people say it's the best song ever, I just don't get it.
Then you say:

Portal has succeeded to meet these age-old criteria. It is a quality piece of work.

Re:You should really PLAY the game before commenti (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20998481)

I don't think whether or not it is quality is up for debate. The implications of that, however, are.

mmm cake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20996805)

The cake is a lie!

Author is off... (4, Interesting)

EriktheGreen (660160) | about 7 years ago | (#20996831)

Warning: A few spoilers included.

I agree with a lot of the commentary on portal, and at the end of the game I was wondering "did anyone actually stop when they got burned to death?".

But this author is too impressed with himself. Portal shows what kind of game can be produced when the production team isn't trying to make an "epic" game... have you ever compared the list of credits for half-life and hl:ep2? See how many more people are involved? Is the game that much better because of it? Valve is producing episodes instead of new games because people want more of the story, and it's not a bad thing, but the company seems to be adding more and more people to produce what is effectively a shorter version of HL2 each time... and they don't need to develop the engine or tools!

The new weapon added is nice, but it's not revolutionary. Other than the weapon, this game was just more of the same... story telling, driving a vehicle, shutting off force fields, crawling in tunnels. Can't valve do that more, and more quickly, than two years per episode?

However, portal made the orange box worth it.

One other thing about valve not making a lot of progress... Counter-Strike: Source has been unaltered for a long time. Not to say it's not still fun, but why haven't there been at least some new things added to keep it fresh? Maybe change out some weapons, or add a few new ones? Remove or balance the overpowered weapons?
Last time I checked CS:S had over 20,000 active game servers on the net. That's got to be close to or THE most popular team based shooter around.

What are all those people doing?

As to the end of portal, I think it fits in the half-life continuity before the events at Black Mesa in HL1, and probably prior to the incident with Borealis. I base this on the outdoor view of the building at the end of the game. I would actually have been pleased to end up on board a ship instead of outside a building :)

GlaDOS is the best computer villain since Shodan.

I think if Valve is smart they'll release a Portal 2, as well as increase the crossover between Portal and Half-life. Maybe Gordon will discover a portal gun onboard the Borealis, or maybe he'll meet the female heroine of Portal. Wondering where Portal and Half-life 2 meet will add a lot of freshness to the HL2 story and game.

I can't wait to see what games people develop with the portal generation code in the half-life SDK.


Re:Author is off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20997495)

BEFORE the Black Mesa incident? Was I the only one that heard "The world has changed in the past few years -- it's not the same as when you were last outside." GladDOS says that outright, which to me places it firmly after the Black Mesa incident. I can't have been the only one to hear that... right?

Re:Author is off... (1)

nicolastheadept (930317) | about 7 years ago | (#20997775)

CS (original) is the most popular online shooter with right now over 200,000 people playing, and CS:S has 70,000.

Re:Author is off... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | about 7 years ago | (#20997801)

Maybe change out some weapons, or add a few new ones? Remove or balance the overpowered weapons?
They're trying to, but The System [] was only launched on the 11th. Admittedly, The Orange Box has some-what hosed this system's formal introduction so most non-fanatical CS players don't know about it yet. Since it's only updated every monday, you wouldn't have seen much change yet.

GlaDOS is the best computer villain since Shodan.
It's been quite a while since I've been able to say QTF!

I think if Valve is smart they'll release a Portal 2, as well as increase the crossover between Portal and Half-life. Maybe Gordon will discover a portal gun onboard the Borealis, or maybe he'll meet the female heroine of Portal.
Unfortunatly, I think these are each, in turn, the worse things Valve could possibly do with Portal. Gordon meeting the heroine or getting the portal gun would feel like a cheap cash-in to me; best to leave Portal separate from Half-Life and instead expand upon the former competition between Aperture Science and Black Mesa. I hope the Borealis Accident happened before the GLaDOS error, personally.

As for Portal 2, it would be by far the biggest mistake. A sequel enbodies the worst aspects of the video game industry; The continuation of Portal needs to be more than just Portal 2.

Re:Author is off... (1)

shoptroll (544006) | about 7 years ago | (#20998665)

Well the PC Version opens the door at least for custom content. I say get map makers the tools and the community will build it's own challenges. Either that or put out some advanced challenge packs, preferably for free, that add new challenges or new hazards or something. Puzzle games like Portal can sustain themselves for quite some time even with very simple mechanics. Lemmings anyone?

Re:Author is off... (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 7 years ago | (#20998293)

*Spoilers ?*

Borealis is probably the result of a portal experiment gone awry. The events taking place in Portal are definitely going on after HL1 since the computer makes several references to how bad it is outside and that its safer in here. The computer could have been lying, but then again there's no real counter point to staying in there and dieing.

The 'Borealis' incident could've happened any time, HL1 up to the start of HL2. My conjecture is that the protagonist in Portal could very well have caused the disaster as revenge for being their lab rat. It would make for an interesting Portal 2 and it would allow for HL2e3 cross-overs that you'd like to see when Gordon explores the wreckage of the ship.

Re:Author is off... (1)

EriktheGreen (660160) | about 7 years ago | (#20998441)

It's not bad outside, though. Look at the scene at the end, after GlaDOS blows up. Sure, the trees and such could just be untouched or naturally regenerating, but I doubt the guard gate would still look so pristine after the 7 hour war took place. I think GlaDOS's comments are just like the rest of her narrative.. encouraging the protagonist to be a good little girl and go back to her cage.

I've played Portal... (-1, Troll)

js92647 (917218) | about 7 years ago | (#20996833)

and aside from what the title itself gives, it's a one-trick pony. There is nothing "important" about Portal, and it doesn't have anything in terms of storytelling that games before it have not had.

The article is written so poorly for GWJ that I don't think I've ever read anything so banal. Between the -ism headers and massive Wikipedia rewrite, the only thing worse than it is the same old "Still Alive" annoyance that others have been spouting. It was funny, but that's where the line ends. It's not a work of art.

Of course, that's alright. I didn't expect the poster to have played any games with any meaning if the only reason he went to play Portal was because TF2 servers were full. I played through it, it was a muse, and it's just another game with a not-so-indepth storyline that people think has some deep, holy-shit-it's-the-twilight-zone twist to it. It's a gimmick, really.

Personally I'd be more inclined to read an article labeled "The Importance of Flashback: Quest for Identity" or "The Importance of Deus Ex" or hell even "The Importance of Mario," a game that barely has a story yet has attracted millions of players. The former two, in my opinion anyway, had a heavy storyline, and I found Flashback in particular to have a great way of telling a story. I'm sure Portal will do that.

I did approach this article with a lot of criticism, and it turned out to be shit just as I thought. There is nothing important about Portal.

Re:I've played Portal... (4, Insightful)

syrion (744778) | about 7 years ago | (#20997537)

If you can't see how a small team creating a fun, unique, and interesting game relying on mechanics instead of thousands of man-hours worth of art might be important to an industry currently weighted down by a thousand similar "next gen" "HD" games that play like bad renditions of the same things we played ten years ago, you need to rethink your hobbies.

For the last ten years or so the gaming industry has seemed to be all about franchises, once-a-year iterations of games with little content and less innovation.

Portal isn't about the plot--the plot helps it be endearing, but as you say it's "not-so-indepth." That doesn't mean it's bad (as you seem to imply), it just means that it's light. It's a humorous game. Nobody is claiming it's Faulkner. What it is is a capably done small-team game with mechanics which can lead to a thousand iterations of interesting puzzles (there are already a few custom maps with interesting puzzles involved). There are already several custom maps.

There is no video game written as well as East of Eden or Blood Meridian. That's not the point of video games; the point of video games is gameplay, and Portal is an absolute masterpiece of gameplay in an industry where that virtue has been forgotten. It's challenging (try the advanced levels and extra challenges if you don't think so) and unique. In addition to that, it's got a well-presented, witty storyline with more funny-per-minute than any game I've played--without resorting to the asinine juvenile humor most "funny" games rely on.

Hiding in your last statement, of course, there's a lesson about preconceptions. I leave that for you to find.

Re:I've played Portal... (0, Flamebait)

js92647 (917218) | about 7 years ago | (#20997733)

I don't think you understood my point to begin with, in fact, you completely twisted my words around.

I said the game was fun. Clearly, I wouldn't go through all the trouble in the 2 or so hours that it takes to beat it if I didn't think the game was fun, now would I?

My original post is geared towards the storyline, as is the article itself. I can't really critique the gameplay because it's a simpleton and fun game, but from a storyline perspective, there is absolutely nothing important about Portal. Of course, you don't give a shit since to me it seems like you just wanted to troll somebody.

Of course, if you think this game is something new, I'll give you a few years to "rethink your hobbies". Everything "unique" so far that has come out of the game industry has been remade, rebranded, and resold. This, I believe, will include Portal's "technology." Yes, it's hot shit now. It won't be a few years from now when a few games are using this.

And regarding my last statement, I will reaffirm what I said originally about the article: it's still shit.

Re:I've played Portal... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20998031)

I've never understood the use of the word "gimmick" when it comes to deriding video games. They're all gimmicks.

Once upon a time, a machine that plugged into your TV with joysticks and buttons that let you manipulate what was on screen was a pretty big gimmick. A lot of people thought it was a pretty stupid one.

Flashback? Telling a story with little/no dialog and cinematic cutscenes? Yeah, never seen that gimmick before. And we've definitely never seen the concept of shapeshifters or losing your memory and regaining it anywhere else.

Portal's storytelling gimmick has used before. Portal is important with regards to its story because it carries out that storytelling gimmick *extremely well.* Does it give you "choice", like Deus Ex pretends to? No, but that's not the only compelling way to tell a story. In Portal, you are trapped. You have no choice. Your only option is to proceed. There's not much dialog and no direct interaction with other characters, but the little that you do get gives you a lot to think about. Things aren't spelled out for you or simply foreshadowed or revealed at the end of the game for you to go "aha!" about. I don't see how you can call the storytelling bad in a game that has generated a memorable entity out of a metal box with hearts on it.

True, the GWJ article is poorly written, and even manages to miss the point of the story entirely in a few spots. I don't think Portal is the high point of literature. But it's a story that's damn well told. "Heavy storyline" isn't the only kind of good storyline, and not every storyline has to develop like most novels or movies do, with a clear progression from beginning to end. Portal is the first chapter of a story set in a known universe, albeit a part of it that we haven't seen yet. It's the first chapter in a story arc that has a lot of mystery and potential.

I stopped thinking about Flashback and Deus Ex after I stopped playing them. I replayed both of them a few times, and enjoyed the gameplay and the storyline as I played, as both are excellent in both games. But when the game ends, the story ends.

I finished Portal days ago, and continue to think about it's potential and the mystery of its story. Most of the highs of the story arc presented through the gameplay (the music cue as you are about to be dropped into the fire, discovering the rat-nest rooms, the final battle) have faded. But it left a nagging question, beyond the insignificant details (being an android, can the companion cube really talk) that a set of obsessed people continue to discuss and argue about: Who the hell is Chell, how did she end up taking the test, and what's going to happen to her? That's why Portal is important - not simply because it leaves a cliffhanger, but it leaves a cliffhanger that the player *cares about*.

Oh, and besides the story, the portals themselves are the most important gameplay mechanic since the freedom and complexity granted by the transition to true 3D in games. They change the way you interact, move within, and think about the game world. They can be used in simple or complex ways. A good game will have a moment or two that makes you feel like you are really there, as if everything you are experiencing is so "almost real" you feel like you could do it in real life. Portal was over 2 hours of that, start to end, and the sheer satisfaction of jumping through portals will never wear off as long as there are creative levels to exploit the mechanic. That right there is the key: the fun of using portals doesn't rely on a specific condition or constraint, it relies on solid level design, of which there is an arguably infinite amount.

Re:I've played Portal... (1)

Big_Breaker (190457) | about 7 years ago | (#20998135)

As you are probably aware, Flashback was a "sequel" of sorts inspired by "Out of this World" (OOTW). OOTW had no dialog or subtitles, fit on 720k disk and had 2-d line art graphics. It was also one of the most immersive, creative and thoughtful games I have ever played. Flashback had better graphics and similiar gameplay but lost the awesome weirdness and surprises of OOTW - in my opinion.

I just wanted to highlight Flashback's inspiration.

Storytelling (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | about 7 years ago | (#20996943)

I think the game deserves the praise it gets. It was a lot of fun, and very original. But as far as storytelling goes, I don't think it's fair to heap the praise. For one thing, the story is extremely simplistic. It's a story of survival and not much else. It's along the lines of Half Life, in that it's essentially action, connected by plot points. There are no complex relationships or emotional character struggles. It's all manifested physically, essentially a run and (portal)gun action movie. As an interactive world, it is fantastic, but as a story, it's rather simple. Compare the characters in Portal (or even HL2) to those in say, Metal Gear Solid, and they are shallow by comparison. Where portal and HL2 succeed, it that they give us so much with so little. However, there is only so far you can go unless spice up the world with non-interactive elements.

R.I.P. Wieghted Companion Cube ;-(

Re:Storytelling (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 7 years ago | (#20997403)

You missed the point. People aren't raving about the story because it was some amazing story in and of itself, they're raving because of how well the story was told. Portal manages to immerse the player and make them actually want to be part of the story itself, something a lot of games miss. For instance even in Half-Life, you spend so much time just killing guys and scrambling for more ammo that a lot of the time the story is lost in the playing of the game. In episode one half the time I wander off to go look for things I missed while Alyx is babbling about something or other, because I just don't care what she has to say.

Re:Storytelling (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | about 7 years ago | (#20997525)

Why is simplicity a bad thing? If anything, keeping it simple makes it HARDER to do well. You have less to work with, and flaws are more obvious. There is something to be said for the simple elegance of the game. More is not always better.

Features I'd like to see... (1)

Associate (317603) | about 7 years ago | (#20996949)

I'd like to see the ability to shoot a new portal while halfway between the two, cutting you in half. If you can back up fast enough (not likely) you won't die.

Re:Features I'd like to see... (2, Informative)

PatrickThomson (712694) | about 7 years ago | (#20997031)

In the developer commentary, they mention that this was made impossible to stop people being afraid of portals - it'll just squeeze you out of the portal you're standing in when you move/close it or the other one.

Re:Features I'd like to see... (1)

scoser (780371) | about 7 years ago | (#20997665)

Actually, I've been able to do this several times already and it is quite useful (though really only easy to do when the portals are on the wall as opposed to ceiling/floor).

Basically, you shoot a blue portal at your target (T) from just outside your blue portal, then back through immediately after firing. Then, you can go through your orange portal to the new blue portal at your target point. You can even do this if your blue portal is on a sheer wall with no platform under the portal.

T ------ B || O

Why portal? (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | about 7 years ago | (#20997275)

Portal seems to be more of the same, the original Half-Life already proved that storytelling is important to a game, as it seemingly obviously should be. Portal did nothing Half-Life hasn't already done, in terms of story telling, it seems to me Half-Life has always played more like an interactive movie rather than simply a shoot'em'up game.

Valve has put a lot of emphasis on storytelling and in game character involvement from the very beginning, if they have only picked up on this from Portal then they're a tad slow in their realisations.

Similarities with the work of Shigeru Miyamoto (4, Informative)

Luketh (696002) | about 7 years ago | (#20997363)

I noticed a similarity between Portal and Super Mario Bros DS insofar as it is a relatively simple game where the story mode can be blitzed through quite quickly... but the real meat is in taking the time through each stage to clear it 100% Okay... the story mode in Portal is short... really short... I think I clocked in under 3 hours on my first run. But if you add the second run through the story to get the "Camera Shy" achievement (which is a friggin nightmare!)... then the third run through to get all the commentary (which took my already massive appreciation for both the game itself and the passion and attention to detail of the people at Valve to even greater levels) that adds a significant amount of play time. The commentary run won't take long but that Camera Shy one will. Then you have the six advanced maps which, with the exception of the last one, are reasonable enough that most players should get through them without too many headaches. Cue the challenge levels... seriously... they are absolutely ridiculous. For those who don't know... the challenge maps take the latter levels of what I'll call the Aperture-sanctioned tests and impose restrictions/goals on them: "Least Portals", "Least Steps", "Least Time" That's where the next 40 hours of my Portal gametime are going to be spent... trying to nut those out. The bronzes are going to be pretty easy for anyone who can clear the story mode but silvers are quite a lot harder and some of the golds I can't even conceive solutions for. My point? Yeah, this game might only be 2-4 hours to get through the story but if you want to 100% this game without a walkthrough... you're talking serious flighthours. Even once all that is done... notice that maps can be imported... wait for the new challenges and maps Valve will surely put out to satisfy demand... and then wait until the map-making community get onto it. I can't wait to see some of the user-created content for this game. Portal is like turning a Rubik's Cube into a video game.

Re:Similarities with the work of Shigeru Miyamoto (1)

theantipop (803016) | about 7 years ago | (#20998275)

The bronzes are going to be pretty easy for anyone who can clear the story mode but silvers are quite a lot harder and some of the golds I can't even conceive solutions for.
The challenges definitely force you to think differently with each type. For instance, you play through on story mode or even the advances versions of the maps and the goal is simple and your options limitless. Now play least steps. You are forced to relearn what you know about using portals in order to complete the challenge. All of a sudden that one part of that one level that you could barely get through normally seems insurmountable. It does a marvelous job at recycling the old content into something completely new.

This was a triumph. (2, Informative)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 7 years ago | (#20997463)

I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

Best end credits ever.

Portal GotY? (2, Interesting)

metroid composite (710698) | about 7 years ago | (#20997581)

I first heard people suggesting Portal was GotY a week or so ago. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I have to admit that there's some merit to the suggestion. The game is innovative, compelling all the way through, and Penny Arcade has already called it "the best thing on [Orange Box] [] ", which puts it ahead of some very good games. (Obviously some people will disagree with PA, but personally it's a toss up between Portal and TF2 for me, so seems reasonable).

I totally love this game (1)

Hayden Panettiere (1174137) | about 7 years ago | (#20997601)

I can't stop playing it! I am an expert at double flinging.

Not Art - Just a Great Game (1)

servognome (738846) | about 7 years ago | (#20997685)

Portal was not some deep work of art, it was an amazingly entertaining tech demo.

Portal does a lot with very little. It creates a complex, thoughtful puzzle game with it's "one trick pony" gameplay; it creates a memorable Douglas Adams-esque type villain using only disembodied speech. And one of the most memorable characters in Portal is inanimate (Please forgive me my Weighted Companion Cube!)
That said, there was no deep artistic commentary about anything beyond the game. Art transcends its medium and gives insight into aspects of life, humanity, etc. Portal did not do this - it just provides a helluva fun time.

The story-telling (1)

Khuffie (818093) | about 7 years ago | (#20997981)

Am I the only one who isn't raving about the story-telling? I see nothing special in it. Sure, it made me chuckle at times, but I find a lot of the dialogue came off as stilted (omg you are evil for destroying the cube, omg this level is impossible, omg this will take a long time). It just came off as "ya, sure, whatever, I'll just keep on playing and actually finish this level." The game was good. The last level was a bit disappointing since it turned into a platformer than a puzzler.

Only complaint... (1)

shoptroll (544006) | about 7 years ago | (#20998251)'s too short! I want more! More cake please sir!

I would gladly welcome additional challenges available for download. Or they need to get Hammer support for this to the community ASAP

One of my top games of all time, spoilers (1)

Quigley (18976) | about 7 years ago | (#20998255)

I loved this game. The story was clever and fantastic. It deserves all the praise it's getting IMHO -- it's in my top 10 games of all time. Lots of people complain that it was too short but I'm happy with the length.

A few interesting theories and observations:

1) GLaD made you. You're the most recent of a long line of test subjects. Most aren't clever enough to make it out of the level 19 trap, if they even make it that far.
2) The cake is made of humans and other things you definitely do NOT want to eat. Listen to the recipe eyeball for a while.
3) Anyone else catch the Black Mesa presentation?

shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20998737)

Portal is just a fad. Once people stop shouting the same stupid lines: the cake is a lie, listen to the end credit song, rip companion cube, then you'll see that portal had nothing going for it, only the same 3 stupid lines shouted over and over again.

100 comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20998801)

...and only 1 bitching about Steam? When will you people put your money where your mouth is?

Wanted a slightly different ending... (1)

EReidJ (551124) | about 7 years ago | (#20998853)

I thought the ending was brilliant, and the whole last "level" was perfectly done. The only thing I wished was that they'd given us a final challenge to have to do something to live through getting ejected from the lab. Are they expecting us to believe we survived landing on the ground outside?

Now imagine that you're falling from a huge height, and you have the Portal gun, and you need to survive the fall. What would you do? Shoot two portals on the ground as you're falling, one to fall into and the other next to it to "continue" your fall, now moving upward. Do that a few more times until the air friction has slowed your fall/ascent enough that you can land on the ground safely, or possibly shoot the portals in such a way that one of your ejections from the portal landed you in a lake or something else survivable on impact. Wouldn't that have been cool?
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