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The Importance of Portal 222

Posted by Zonk
from the these-points-of-data-make-a-beautiful-line dept.
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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The Importance of Portal

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  • by mackil (668039) <movie@movBALDWIN ... net minus author> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:35AM (#20996451) Homepage Journal
    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 ;)
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:47AM (#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.
      • by pthor1231 (885423)
        The field at the beginning and end of each level, as well as in the middle of a few, that destroys all the items when you go through it makes for a great mechanism to make sure you can't get stuck. And its really hard for the character to get trapped. I mean, if you can see two walls...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by j.sanchez1 (1030764)
      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.
      • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @12:10PM (#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 surface...it'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: (Score:3, Funny)

          by dougmc (70836)

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

          I'm almost camera shy!

        • by Alex777 (1113887)
          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
      • by TrippTDF (513419)
        I really hope they continue this series somehow....

        Did you play through Ep2 yet? I'd say there's a 99% chance Gordon winds up with a portal gun in Ep3.
    • by theantipop (803016) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:51AM (#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.
      • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

          by hardburn (141468)

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

      • 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.
      • 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.
        • by Morinaga (857587)
          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.
          • 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 exp
          • by Quikah (14419)

            There's more content in Orange box than I thought could fit on a single DVD.
            good thing it comes on 2 DVDs. :)

            Orange box is a great deal, unless you already bought HL2 and Ep1, if that is the case, it is a ripoff, unless you are a big fan of TF.
        • 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

          • 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

      • 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
      • 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
      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        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

    • 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.

      • 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.
    • by Mr2001 (90979)

      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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by AmaDaden (794446)

      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 http://www.aperturescience.com/ [aperturescience.com]. Type 'login'. The name is cjohnson and password tier3. You can find that login in a "ratman" room in Portal (level 17 I think).

    • by Merk (25521)

      I got the Orange Box mostly for Team Fortress 2, but also for Portal. I wasn't terribly interested in Half Life. I really liked Portal though, but I was a bit surprised at how short it was. What I thought was the first mini-boss fight turned out to be the end of the game. The tutorial levels were literally half of the game. I also didn't find the plot at all surprising, things were pretty much what I expected right from the beginning, but they were pretty well fleshed out. The extra challenges after

  • 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

    • 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!
  • Portal 2D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Square Snow Man (985909) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:45AM (#20996631)
    For those interested a 2D version of this game portal can be played here [ungrounded.net]
  • by cwolfsheep (685385) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:48AM (#20996677) Homepage
    Same team wrote an earlier version of this two years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narbacular_Drop [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.nuclearmonkeysoftware.com/ [nuclearmon...ftware.com]
    • by syrion (744778)
      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.
  • 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 a
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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 mi
      • by Mr2001 (90979)

        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!
        • by adamstew (909658) *
          it wasn't terribly difficult. The hardest part was the room with the button with 3 turrets. But there is a big cache of weighted companion cubes...just drop those in FRONT of the turrets via portals in the ceiling and then you can just walk right in to the room! It took me a couple tries to get everything just right, but it worked out...
          • by Mr2001 (90979)
            How do you even get near that room? After the wall that's being propped open by two cubes, there are two turrets guarding the hallway... it takes two cubes just to block one turret, and that's if you can drop them exactly right (if you don't, you can't exactly run over and pick them up again, and the hallway is portal-proof).
            • by Rallion (711805)
              Well, doing things 'exactly right' is really the whole point of the advanced maps.
              • by Mr2001 (90979)
                I wouldn't say that. They're trickier and have more sensitive timing, but I'd say that's wholly different from relying on micron-precise physics when dropping a cube on top of another cube through a portal - you only have so much control over that. And anyway, two cubes still won't block two turrets.
            • You might not have noticed that the ratman room has a concrete floor...
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Tim Browse (9263)

              ... it takes two cubes just to block one turret,

              The 'crouch' key is your friend. I mean, it's no weighted companion cube, but it's a good friend nonetheless.

          • If it's one of the advanced maps I haven't done that one yet, but there's a map like that in the normal game and the way I completed it was just to drop the cubes on the turrets themselves.
  • 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.
    • 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.
      Huh?
  • Author is off... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EriktheGreen (660160) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:57AM (#20996831) Journal
    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.

    Erik
    • Maybe change out some weapons, or add a few new ones? Remove or balance the overpowered weapons?

      They're trying to, but The System [steampowered.com] 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 lik

      • by shoptroll (544006)
        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?
    • by ADRA (37398)
      *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 t
      • 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.
        • by madprof (4723)
          The gate is pristine...and the small fact that they are competing with Black Mesa for government dollars, something that is highly unlikely to happen under the Combine. ;)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          There is a line spoken by GLaDOS, something to the effect, "I'm the only thing between you and them". Where 'them' is likely to be the Combine. There seem to be many theories floating around, but one of them is that GLaDOS wanted the player to destroy her (or at least appear to have).

          Regards
          elFarto
    • have you ever compared the list of credits for half-life and hl:ep2? See how many more people are involved? ... but the company seems to be adding more and more people to produce what is effectively a shorter version of HL2 each time...

      I'm pretty sure that the end credits to every Valve game contain the names of every person in the company, not just the people that directly worked on/with the game. The fact that there are more people listed in Episode 2's credits just shows how much the company has grown
      • How many of them are developers, though? Artists? Game designers? It's not all just to handle the money coming in, and they don't do their own distribution and advertising. Some programmers for Steam, maybe....
    • by NoInfo (247461) *
      Well, they haven't needed to update CS:S. The community is rabid. There's nearly 1000 different modifications for it:
      http://addons.eventscripts.com/ [eventscripts.com]

      CS:S will also be moving to Orange Box source engine, so it should see a little love then.
  • 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 intera
    • 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
    • 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.
  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      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.
    • by scoser (780371)

      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

  • 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.
    • 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 someth

  • This was a triumph. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @12:31PM (#20997463)
    I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

    Best end credits ever.
  • Portal GotY? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metroid composite (710698) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @12:38PM (#20997581) Homepage Journal
    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] [penny-arcade.com]", 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).
  • 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
  • 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.
  • ...it'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
  • 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
    • by Tim Browse (9263)

      until the air friction has slowed your fall/ascent enough that you can land on the ground safely

      Yeah, good luck with that. Familiar with the phrase 'terminal velocity'..?

      But of course:

      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?

      Did you pay attention at all during the game?

      Hint from the 'curious' eye:

      "Hey, what's wrong with your legs?"

  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @02:03PM (#20998937) Journal
    No, this is not a troll. I really want to know because the game looks great. Will it run under WINE or Cedega? Is there a native Linux version?
    • Definitely not a native Linux client. As for WINE/Cadega, if Half Life 2 or other Source engine games will run in the environment, I see no reason why Portal should not.
    • I've been playing through it using the latest Wine on Ubuntu, using the Ubuntu Feisty package from Wine's website.

      I can confirm that it works just fine and is playable. I've not actually seen what it looks like in Windows, but I suspect the graphics have suffered a little bit. It's completely playable, though.

      Sometimes when you put the two portals too close together they glitch a bit and Wine winges in the console about how it doesn't support more than one rendertarget, but I didn't find that this impacte

  • by dangil (167785) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @02:26PM (#20999393)
    there is only a handfull of games I play more than once (besides shmups) and Portal is one of them... this game is simply perfect in the true sense of the word, as in complete. self contained. completely done.

    the story that is presented to you at the begining is as simple as it should be, since you are actually in a test enviroment. the truth is never fully revealed. you have to break the walls and try to discover the truth behind this perfect, clean enviroment. and as always in distopian sci-fi, the truth is much more crude and evil. and perhaps that isn't even the whole truth.

    the simple fact that at the end you can beat the test masters is a 180 shift in storytelling. it's another level of freedom to turn the test around and defeat the testers.

    very very few games can capture your imagination as this...

    the answer to the question "is this art?" is a simple one. How Portal made you feel ? If you felt something, it's art.

    I played the beta UT3 demo, and despite the awsome graphics, I didn't felt anything.

    the team behind half life 2, ep 1 and 2 and portal are true artist. you really feel something when you play those games.

    and also, the cake is a lie. (this is another example that Portal is art. this phrase will be in our minds forever.)
  • play it (Score:2, Informative)

    by doublefrost (1042496)
    That was funnest 3 hours I've ever had. IMO, you guys are revealing too much info for those who didn't play it yet. My advice - stop reading slashdot and play it NOW :)
  • I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

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