Portal

Portal is one of the only games where the antagonist is the biggest standout aspect of the game.

You wake up in a strange test chamber, and your mission is to progress through the series of rooms in the facility. While you are navigating the array of challenges, you are being directed by a super-intelligent computer named GLaDOS. In the beginning she seems innocent enough, with her calm, monotone and positive remarks. But she slowly starts to show her deranged side, and you begin to fear GLaDOS more than anything else.

Take these quotes as examples of GLaDOS’ madness:

“Cake, and grief counseling, will be available at the conclusion of the test.”

“Please note that we have added a consequence for failure. Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official testing record, followed by death.”

The dialogue is a masterful blend of sarcasm and malevolence, and makes GLaDOS a character you love to hate. As much as you fear GLaDOS, you can’t help but laugh at some of the things she says.

You have to take various things into account to advance through the enrichment center, such as portal placement and angle.

To progress through the test chamber, you have to use portal guns to navigate past each room. You can have two portals active at any one time, and what enters one portal comes out the other. This leads to some very clever puzzles and levels. The game play is a mix of slow and fast pacing. It’s slow because you can take as long as you want visualizing how to use the two portals at your disposal to escape from the lab, but it is also fast because once you start using the portals you have to act quickly in order to execute your plan.

While not a feature-length game, Portal shows the power witty dialogue, solid and fun game design, and interactivity have when combined together. The game has created a catchphrase instantly recognizable among gamers; “The cake is a lie.” The end credit song, “Still Alive”, has also become infamous in pop culture.

There are so many reasons why Portal is a brilliant game, but our concern here is why is it a work of art? The game developers used a high-tech lab facility and player’s impulses to craft one of the most brilliant personalities ever seen, in any medium. And the funny part is that character happens to be a computer. A really evil computer, that is.

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