Let’s Talk About…: Portal

We’re back with our “Let’s Talk About…” series! Check out the previous chats here.

Let’s Talk About… Portal

Portal is one of those games that seems to have permeated into the group consciousness of gamers. I knew the song Still Alive and the term “The cake is a lie” long before I actually played the game, and its critical acclaim has not wavered in the time since its 2008 release. I’ve heard it’s even more revered than Valve’s Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2, so considering the oft-quoted “Half-Life 3 confirmed,” it seems that nothing can touch Portal‘s crown when it comes to PC masterpieces.

Image result for portal

This is an incredibly well-done game. It’s first-person, but it was  another game I found myself too engrossed in to notice, at least for a while. I loved the intrigue of the game, and the fact that it’s about 80% tutorial level and yet I loved every moment of it. GLaDOS is delightfully sociopathic, and I fell into the trap of really loving the Companion Cube.

I wondered if there was more to the Companion Cube that we were told, considering GLaDOS’s apparent distrust and dislike of it, and the fact that she’s not exactly a trustworthy source of information. Why tell us so many times that it wouldn’t talk, and if it did, to ignore it? This resulted in me coming up with a wild theory about other test subjects being turned into companion cubes, which was expanded upon in a Game Theory episode. It made me want to cuddle my Companion Cube more and never go past that awful level ever again, let me tell you.

Image result for companion cube

I loved the cleverness of the puzzles and the slowly unfolding bits and pieces of story. Of course, the idea of having a portal gun was just as delightful to me as thinking that I could master the Force or make things zoom into my hand if I waved a knitting needle at it and said some words in Latin. It would come in handy, to say the least.

All in all… This was a triumph.

Image result for portal cake

What about you? Have you played Portal? Did you like it? What are you thoughts on the Companion Cube? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Still one of my favourite PC games. I tend to run through at least once a year. In many ways I preferred the original to the sequel. It was like nothing I’d ever played at the time; the portal mechanic was new & exciting and the humour was perfect.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t like Portal as much as its sequel because it’s a little too short, thus not giving the setting time to develop, and dealing with that vaporizing energy pellet is annoying. Other than that, it’s a solid, well-written game that, unlike Braid or The Witness, I could recommend to someone who isn’t a puzzle game fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t played the sequel, so I can’t really compare the two, but it is a pretty short game. And you’re right that it’s a good one for a wide audience to pick up! First-person shooter/platformers aren’t usually my thing, and even I enjoyed myself hopping around in the facility 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. portal was good, portal 2 was epic. Glados was hilarious, and the final showdown was so cool. Hopefully can make time to play it again one day and try the coop.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Portal was a huge surprise the first time I played it. Loved every minute of it and have played it through several times since. Got a question for everyone here though: I distinctly remember the “advanced” version of Test Chamber 18 having caged turrets, but cannot seem to find any evidence of it. Anyone else remember running into that?


  5. Heh heh, I actually had a bad experience playing Portal for the first time at a dinner party. It’s a suuuper long story. But ever since then I’ve not looked back. But not due to the game… rather the social awkwardness it lead to 😛


  6. I haven’t played the original, but I do own Portal 2. I played it for a bit, loved it, then kinda forgot about it. I’m aware of all the GLaDOS memes and whatnot floating around the internet though! Also, the song during the credits is pretty hilarious (“Still Alive” I think it’s called). I’ll play it eventually. My primary gaming concern at the moment is taking down a Kate Mulgrew voiced dragon lady… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg I know. That whole game can really give you the creeps if you think about it for too long… I think there’s an audio file not included in the game of Caroline saying she really didn’t like “this,” and apparently there’s another one that you can’t even find online of her… screaming.

      Nope nope nope……

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I barely touched any of the games in Orange Box, but the purchase was worth it for Portal alone. Clever puzzles, a witty antagonist and an awesome ending tune.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Portal 2 took the franchise so much further, in my opinion. The different paint colors with superpowers made it so much more exciting. Loved the first Portal but Portal 2 put it to shame!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Portal was really beauty in simplicity. The basic mechanics and limited amount of characters really let the complexity of puzzle design and the sheer amount of character in GLaDOS shine through.

    I feel in a lot of ways, it was really GLaDOS that made the game. You could have had most of the experience without her, and it would have been a fun but forgettable puzzle platformer, but the excellent writing behind her really elevated the game well above the rest, and made it into something special.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right. Without GLaDOS (who reminds me of SHODAN, now that I”m watching system shock), Portal might not have had that “X” factor that really made it stand out. I’m a fan of puzzle games, so it was nice to see how the game’s minimalism both worked for and enhanced the mechanics!

      Liked by 1 person

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