Thursday, July 20, 2006


Today's title is a direct quote from a good friend of mine. I could not have put it better. Not one bit. Go see the Portal trailer, especially if you have steam, and don't need a stupid membership to whatever site to get the hi-res version (well, I suppose you need a 'stupid' steam account, but if you own any Valve games, you'll have one anyhow)

Go see it. NOW. Just Google "Portal trailer", you'll find it easy enough. Anyhow, my thoughts are posted below (hi-lite them to see, just like movie/game spoilers on message boards everywhere). See the trailer FIRST, though. I'm not kidding.

Ok, seen the trailer yet? No? WELL GO SEE IT ALREADY! Seen it? if so, good. If've been warned, and you will regret having this spoiled. Ready? Here we go!

Portal, although vaguely Prey-esque, at least takes its cues from a team who made an original portal puzzle game. Still, there are a lot of physics-intensive games that followed on the heels of HL2, so I really can't find fault with Valve appropriating a cool idea where it sees one, so long as they do it well.

THAT'S what is so amazing about Portal. It looks TOO good. For one, the design of many in-game items, as well as their functions (Portal gun ---> gravity gun prongs on the front, there's a pulse-turret that could be Combine tech, easily....) look like they would fit into the Half-Life universe. Immediately, the when and where of this game become worlds more important than they would be if it were completely stand-alone. The Portals themselves are user-placeable, which means that you can take yourself, and whatever in-game objects wherever you like. Even the modest number of options displayed in the demo (physics-defying infinite acceleration machine, using a portal beneath you in conjunction with one FAR below you to hop out of your current floor up onto a higher one by warping from low to high after a fall, etc...) will ignite your imagination. In the same way that the gravity gun was the gateway to all kinds of in-game shenanigans, the portal gun (which seems to include gravity-gun function, no less!) will open a - dare I say it - Portal to all kinds of weird and wacky stuff, the nature of which I cannot yet conceive of.

To Valve: PLEASE put the portal gun in HL2: episode 2, or maybe ep 3. Nerf it, if you have to keep the game balance, but let Half-Life benefit from the extreme goodness that it will bestow. Portals are essentially a cooler variant of technology already known to exist in the HL universe (oh Black Mesa: Source mod team - can you imagine Portals instead of cheesy coloured teleporters in your update?).

OK, spoilers are over.

I'll be on vacation for the next few days, but I'll update if the intar-wubs come to me while I'm there. Expect closed-minded right-wingers (apologies to the commendable open-minded conservative types) to feel my literary lashings! I have a few things to say about dual-citizenships, and basic human rights!

*DROOL* Oh, Portal, you can't come soon enough!

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