Portal - gaming stuff again

Keith, and anyone else who games. Just completed the excellent Portal from The Orange Box on Xbox 360. But I feel a failure…people say it takes up to 3 hours to complete.

It took me 6!

Am I slow, or are the people who completed it so fast just half my age?

It’s a fabulous game. My kids gave me the Orange box for Christmas. My oldest played it completely through while I was with them on Christmas day. I haven’t beaten it on my 360 yet though. The biggest problem is that the game gives me motion sickness. A first ever event for me. The interesting thing is that Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 have the same effect on me, so it must be something to do with Valve’s engine that causes the problem.

Despite the motion sickness Portal is an amazingly well done game with some very very clever writing in it.

Did you hear the FANTASTIC end song? I absolutely adore it… “I’m still alive” la la la la etc. Brilliant. I really did love Portal. It’s such old-school gaming: a really simple mechanic that enables the developers to create different rooms from the same basic blocks creating interesting puzzles. Unlike in many games, where you blast your way through in the hope that the next level will look more interesting, or new, in Portal it was just about the puzzles. And the humour. As in old-school games, the basic (but addictive) gameplay was enhanced by the ongoing humour.

The companion cube was my favourite of course. Which you killed.

Honestly, I could enthuse about Portal for a while…

Anyway, as for the 3 hour thing… I don’t know how long it took me to complete without launching the Xbox, but your 6 hours is probably quicker than mine. They always say “takes 10 hours to complete” or whatever, but that’s assuming you’re a hardcore gamer with no other life and you don’t need any trial and error. Or maybe I just am a dunce.

rhacer - my better half (one day someone will invent a really good word for someone-who-to-all-intents-and-purposes-is-your-wife-even-though-you-are-not-actually-married) gets motion sickness when playing FPS games, too. Though she gets it with all FPS games after a while, not just Valve games, though some are worse than others. Or maybe that’s just her way of getting out playing in co-operative mode with me… Hmm.


The ending song IS brilliant and funny!

I’ve always thought that “significant other” covered a whole lot of circumstances when it came to relationships! I play HOURS of Halo and Call of Duty 4 and have never gotten sick, but something about the Valve games sends me over the edge after about 20 minutes. Even though I get sick, I AM going to beat every game on that disk, I’ll just have to do it in small chunks.

I wrote a brief blog entry on my MySpace page about the joy of beating H3 on Legendary difficulty with my eldest boy. Co-op modes in games are a wonderful invention!

Looks like I need to shrink the image size of my avatar!


I didn’t actually get a chance to listen to the end song all the way through. I will at some point - but only If I’m minded to try to beat the end Boss. I presume I’d have to play that level again to get end song, or do I?

Motion sickness. Half Life and Portal certainly have fast movement, very responsive to the controllers. That may be what causes the queasiness. Turning, looking up or down, jumping, all of them happen fast. So if you’re not used to it, it could be weird. I wonder if the effect would be worse playing on a big screen while standing? He, he!

As for women and FPSs, I saw a programme about secondary school kids trying different skills. They both tried logic learning such as maths, and working with 3D model making on the computer. The boys scored higher on the 3D modelling, and the girls on maths logic. Turns out that the girls found it much more difficult to visualise 3D space. Which may go some way to explain why fewer women like 3D games like first person shooters and RPGs. That’s not to discount the fact that they may just hate the violence and the scares…

The song at the end is viral. It’s embedded itself into my mind. I find my mind plays back pieces of the song at the oddest times and places. “Cake” evokes completely new imagery. :slight_smile:

The end credits are on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=RthZgszykLs

I have to concede with the others; the game is brilliant. As is the song, of course. I’m very happy that the developers not only weaved a narrative and script in amongst the puzzles, but a wonderfully funny narrative and script as well. I’ve been playing some of the advanced chambers since completing the main game, and it’s not nearly as much fun when you don’t have GLaDOS and her comments along the way. I even shot one of the surveillance cameras just to hear her voice at one point.

Why can’t more games be funny like Portal? So many games, especially recent ones, take themselves so damn seriously. It rarely works, partly because the ham-handed way the developers establish the mood, and partly because the game mechanics undermine the seriousness. I tried Call of Duty 4, for instance, which gets in your face with all the really! Important! Politics! But at the same time, if you’re shot, you can just duck behind a rock for a few seconds, and all your wounds have miraculously healed. It’s ridiculous. You wouldn’ think war would be hell in a world where people are as prone to real, physical danger as Itchy and Scratchy.

Humor is the main reason I like Giants: Citizen Kabuto. The gameplay itself is so-so, but the cutscenes make the game worth every penny.

Bungie’s good at that, too, or at least they used to be, as I haven’t been able to play Halo 2 or 3 due to not having an Xbox. The Marathon trilogy, Myth: The Fallen Lords, Myth II: Soulblighter, and Oni have great humor throughout, as well as being serious where it’s needed.

There’s a fairly funny scene that i understand was taken from a Red vs. Blue episode in the second Chapter of Halo 3. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth tracking down.