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frankzappa

Portal

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2: Portal

Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve

Well, it was going to be no. 1 or 2, wasn’t it? And how could it not be? Valve’s sublime first-person puzzle game that broke the laws of physics, made us fall in love with an inanimate cube, and had everyone making stupid jokes about cakes and lies for a year afterward. And that song.

Famously born from a student project called Narbacular Drop, the Portal team was staffed with those students, led by Kim Swift, and with writing from Eric Wolpaw. The result was something utterly astonishing.

Even more remarkable to reflect upon today, it wasn’t even given its own distinct release. Portal arrived via Valve’s Orange Box, the ‘other’ game alongside the hugely anticipated Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Team Fortress 2. About three hours long, with no pedigree, it was almost like the bonus freebie chucked in. But despite the obvious massive success of the other two components, it was Portal that would leave the deepest impression on the world of videogames.

Fire one portal on a surface, a second on another, then walk through one to appear out of the other. Now apply that to so many inventive puzzles, while being berated by a detached, cruel robotic voice, sarcastically criticising your attempts.

We’ve picked Portal rather than Portal 2, about which there is certainly room for good argument. Portal 2 is a much larger and even funnier game, with multiple characters, menacing potatoes, and new puzzle types with magic paints. It’s absolutely, unquestionably, an incredible game. But there’s something that just feels more special about the original. It’s so perfect, so neatly contained, the exact right length for what it wants to be, with it’s amazing mid-point twist and sense of powerful escape. And yes, oh yes, that song. That amazing song.

rockpapershotgun.com

Puzzle Games 2.jpg

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