Emptyeye’s Excellent Portal Excursion

In 2007, Valve Software released The Orange Box, featuring five game–Half Life 2, HL2 Episode 1 and 2, Team Fortress 2, and the surprise hit of the package, Portal. You probably know Portal, even if you hadn’t played it. Ever hear “The cake is a lie”? or “Still Alive” by Jonathan Coulton? Then you know Portal.

Here’s the thing. Over the last year or so, Portal went from something I had simply never played to something I actively went out of my way to avoid playing thanks to its memetic status. Essentially, I refused to believe that underneath a bunch of idiots parroting the game’s entire script was actually a really fun game, despite watching it at several SDA marathons.

Well, I decided I had to change that–to at least try and put away my preconceptions on the game and experience it as best I could. So I made a certain Skype chat I visit a deal–if someone were to send me a copy of Portal for the XBox 360 (Long story short, Steam is a big stupidhead that insists I don’t know what city I was born in), I would play it. And one of the people in the chat took me up on it.

So I’m going to play it. And thinking about it, I realized that I’m basically the ultimate, well, test subject (If you’ve played the game, you’ll understand why this is amusing) for “Is Portal a good game?”. The reason is that I had the story, the memes, the ending song, etc. all spoiled for me. But the actual gameplay and puzzles…those I’m unfamiliar with. So it’ll be interesting to see if the game holds up when you strip all the stuff that made it popular away (And yes, it was pretty much popular only because of “The cake is a lie” and “Still Alive”. The success of You Have to Burn the Rope, which is basically just a catchy ending song, proves it).

I’ll likely be writing about the experience here. Stay tuned for that.


1 comment

  1. Portal is fun, it’s like a fully realized Prince of Persia or God of War type puzzler, minus you know the action. Ahhh reminds me of Boxxle…

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