Pete Davison: Fun with Portals

Posted on April 18, 2011 by

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So everyone’s going mental about Portal 2‘s imminent release. And with good reason—Portal was awesome, after all, and evidence that a good quality game that tells an interesting story doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. Many called it a “gaming short story” and no-one seemed to mind the fact that it was maybe just 3 or 4 hours long.

The fact that it used the first-person perspective to make something that didn’t involve killing things was perhaps the best thing. It was a genuine bona fide puzzle game that used some creative game mechanics to get you thinking about things in ways that you probably hadn’t done since the days of Spectrum games where you fell off the bottom of the screen and reappeared at the top.

I thought I wasn’t that interested in the sequel, but everything Valve’s been doing with their ARG and the Potato Sack Pack nonsense has got me pretty fired up about the whole thing. So I guess their marketing works. Kudos to them for both being clever, and double kudos to them for highlighting the great work of today’s indie developers as part of the marketing effort. The fact that I apparently accidentally set my phone alarm to be Still Alive from Portal probably hasn’t helped matters. Have I been viral-marketing myself? Apparently so.

Trouble is, of course, that Portal 2 is a new game and, as you know, I have an enormous backlog to get through that wasn’t helped by the fact that Dragon Age II proved to be just a little bit too much to resist. But then Portal 2 is short. And it has co-op, so it’s sociable. Also, it is Portal, which despite being from one of the most successful developers in the universe has the feeling of an indie title about it and therefore feels like it should be supported whenever possible.

Dilemmas.

Also, my birthday is coming up. It’s on the 29th. I will be turning 30. If anyone is looking for inspiration for exciting presents to buy me to celebrate the survival of three decades, I certainly wouldn’t object to a copy of Portal 2 on PS3. Just tell me if you’re doing that, though, so I don’t feel the inexorable draw towards my nearest game retail establishment to procure my own copy in the next few days.

In the meantime, I will be sitting here listening to Jonathan Coulton music and singing along. And possibly replaying Portal. Several times. And each time wishing that I was actually playing Portal 2.

I’m really not helping myself here. GLaDOS is in my brain. Singing.

Day 456

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Posted in: Pete Davison