A Look at Portal

In my playing of portal, I found that I was able to get through several of the puzzles quickly and without much confusion on what I was supposed to do.  The clip that I have here, is the end of what was at least an hour of me swearing because I couldn’t figure out how to launch myself, and then when I did eventually figure it out, being very frustrated at my terrible aim.

I didn’t know a lot about portal before playing, other than the memes, and I am hesitant to read my fellow players blogs because I want to avoid spoilers about how to go about the remaining puzzles.  

I found that it was really easy to forget that this was a game with levels.  While there is a very helpful screen that tells you what to expect from the level you’re on, and what level you’re on, I found myself going “Ok, so when does the tutorial end?”  I think that is actually pretty brilliant of the game’s designers to do, because when given the context of the game and the fact that you are a test subject going through these levels of a lab.

The puzzles themselves, while sometimes difficult, are really well thought out and creative.  They don’t seem to repeat much about the puzzles other than the tools that you have to solve them.

The entire atmosphere of the game is very well suited to the games over all purpose.  I kept wondering why there weren’t observers in what looked like observation rooms. As well as the erie music that played in the background.  I also frequently wanted to destroy the little radio that kept playing “peppy music” because it was annoying me, and frankly creeped my out more than the disembodied voice of the monitor.

Because I am still playing through the game, I have a lack of knowledge about what happens at the end of the game, I suspect there might be more after the 19th level, solely because I’ve heard the term “The Cake is a lie” so much, and after being promised cake at the end of the game, I can only assume that is what it is referring to.  I also believe that the robot killed all of the other people in this lab, because of the lack of other human beings anywhere in this game.

When playing this game, I could see how it was so popular, because I liked a challenge, and I liked feeling like I had one up on the robot that was guiding me through the game.  

I also had the pleasure, while I was playing, of my two roommates (both of whom have played) laughing at me as I got frustrated with several levels.  They did point out to me, however, that I could destroy the cameras, which was immensely satisfying.

I do have some questions about the main character, however.  I understand why they’re silent and nameless, because it’s meant to be the player.  I also understand why they are in a jail jumpsuit. What I do not understand, is why they have no shoes.  I get that they have long fall boots to prevent fall damage, that was a clever way for the game Devs to avoid that, but why no shoes?  I have seen people (myself included) stub and break their toes on the dumbest things. You can not tell me that the protagonist wouldn’t have accidentally dropped the big block thing on their toes at least once.  Or even accidentally tripped on their way through a portal. I find the lack of shoes completely unrealistic and I hope that it is addressed in the second game (which I also plan to play at a later date.) Also, what would have happened if the player had fallen out of a portal the wrong way?  The game always rights itself, but I have to think that if it were me, I definitely would have fallen on my head sooner rather than later.

I think the game is well designed, and I say this because I absolutely hate FPS.  I can’t stand it, I always get nauseated when I play them because my eyes believe I’m moving but I’m not.  I can never play for more than an hour at the most when I play games like this. However, Portal for some reason did not give me the same feeling of motion sickness.  I think it has to do with the fact that the game would always make sure I was right side up when coming out of a portal, so I don’t have time to feel the motion sickness.

I enjoyed playing the game more than I thought I would, and I sincerely look forward to continuing to play.  I wish I had played sooner, but I am glad that for the most part, the game has stayed un-spoiled to me.

Leave a Reply