Portal 2: A video game you should play

I only have about 6 or 7 people that regularly read this blog. So, I guess if a post is boring then I’m not disappointing many people. Anyway, so I don’t have just one thing burning in my heart to talk about. Except for Portal 2.

Portal 2 is awesome. Have you played Portal? You really should. If you like video games at all, then this is a game for you. It’s got a little bit of action, but not really killing. And, it’s got puzzles that make you really think. I don’t want to give away any plot details so I will try not to say too much but I apologize if I reveal something.

So, in Portal, you play this mysterious character, at least, at first it’s mysterious. It’s from the first person point of view so you have no idea what you look like or who you are or what you’re doing. Then, a portal opens and you can go through it, but when you do, you see someone going through one in another room. So, you stop. That other person stops, too. And, then you go, “Oh, wait, that’s me!” And then your brain goes flip flop as you try to understand the weird geometry that you’re seeing. You’re watching yourself enter the portal you’re exiting.

So, the conceit behind the game is that you’re in a research and development science lab, Aperture Science Laboratories, and there’s this thing called a portal gun. When you shoot it at the right surface, it creates a portal. Shoot it at another surface and another portal forms. You can now go through one portal and exit the other. Then, you go through tests of your ability to use the portal gun to make your way through various obstacles.

Honestly, it bends your mind sometimes to try and see what’s going on. Portals have their own weird physics, too. For me, there’s a couple of times when I stop and say, “Hold on, wait a minute. What the heck is going on here?”

So, Portal, the first one, is hard to get these days. I had my first copy stolen so I just bought another one off of Ebay. For consoles, the only place you can get it is in “The Orange Box” which is a collection of several video games. You get Portal, plus Half Life 2 as wells as Half Life 2 episode 1 and episode 2 and Team Fortress 2. Half Life 2 is a darn good game, too. And, it’s kind of set in the same universe as Portal.

But, say you never played Portal and you don’t want to, or can’t get “The Orange Box.” No worries. Portal 2 kinda reintroduces you to the game and using the portal gun and all of that. But, it takes it all further. So, you can definitely play 2 without the original. But, if you can do it, play the original. If you have a computer, and you likely do if you’re reading this, then you can go on Steam and play Portal there.

Here’s the best reason to play the original. GlaDOS. You really need to experience her to understand. She is the Artificial Intelligence controlling the lab you’re in. She is sarcastic, funny, sadistic and all about the science. Portal 2 is much better if you already know GlaDOS. Plus, if you play the original then you get cake at the end. Seriously, cake. And, we all know that cake is worth fighting for.

The Portal games are very much adult games. Not that you have to be an adult to play them. They’re mostly safe for kids, I think. Like I said, there’s no real killing. You do dismantle some amazingly cute machine gun turret droids. And, you may have to incinerate a Weighted Companion Cube. That’s not fun. But, well, that’s science. The reason I say they are adult games is because they don’t talk down to you. They are smart. Some of the puzzles are pretty straight-forward, but others will really cook your noodle. Just tonight I was playing Portal 2 and I got stuck at one point. Now, the designers usually give a clue or two as to how to solve the puzzle. I won’t tell you the clues but, if you look around the area, you can often see how they want you to solve it. Some of the puzzles might have multiple solutions, too. But, for the most part, it’s a pretty linear game. You go here and here and here because that’s what you’re supposed to do. And you do this, then that and then you do the other. Then you finish that level.

What I love is that feeling you get when finally solve the problem. It’s like, “Yes, we solved the problem and we is the smartest!” It’s also fun because you’ll walk into the room, or whatever, and you look around and then it’s just so confusing. What do I do? How the heck am I going to get that over there and then get up there? So, you start trying things and then, WHAM, the solution presents itself and you feel smart and silly at the same time because it wasn’t that hard after all.

Tonight, I was stuck. I tried everything I could think of. I even thought I had it figured out and got a way to get on that spot that was pretty difficult but I got there. And, that wasn’t it. Dang! But, then I thought of another thing. What if I did that other thing? Well, might as well try it. WHAM! That was the answer. And I felt like I is the smartest again.

Oh, and there’s a whole two person cooperative mode that I haven’t even tried yet that should be fun, too.

You should play the game. You would like it.

portal

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