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Thursday, April 21, 2011


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Adeon Writer

So the tagline "Now you're thinking with Portals" can be up there with most of the other cryptic Zen sayings. :) Sweet.

That said - I hope you last to the end. It's a VERY large game, and it can get pretty hair-pully-outy toward the end, particular the climax but, preserver and the ending is is so jaw-droppingly awesome, it's totally worth the time and sweat.

I'm now running though the 2-Player component of the game with my SL-partner, which has it's own separate storyline and is very charming in it's own way... and crazy with 4 portals.

Hamlet Au

Wow, Adeon, I can't wait. I'm at the part where I escape from GLaDOS with the help of the little UK robot. (Or as I call him, "Ricky Gervais on a rail.")

Talvin Muircastle

His name is Wheatley.

And I just died for the first time in the climactic scene, because I ran out of time. Going to take a little fretting to get this just right. :)


The Buudhist who would give you a "smackdown" is not truly practicing Zen.


Not to be rude, Hamlet, but how much time do you spend on gaming vis-a-vis other activities? As a habitual gamer, I found that Portal 2's rooms lent themselves very well to exactly the kind of analysis you describe, separating out all the elements (etc). And I don't even play first-person shooters (or puzzlers) most of the time.

In particular, one thing that stood out as different from the first game was that very often, especially in the early game, the only course of action is the correct one. If you're supposed to make an extremely long jump, the designers only place a very small portal-able launch surface, and only allow you to do the initial launch from a given height (by reducing the height variation in the room and using railings, etc.), such that it's virtually impossible to fail. I suppose this lends itself to the sort of "zen" experience that you describe... until the player realizes that they're being led around by the nose. Valve's designers are brilliant when it comes to this kind of psychological... well, trickery is probably too negative a word. Subliminal hints, perhaps.

The game does open up a bit in the later levels, though. Less handholding, which is nice.

Hamlet Au

"I suppose this lends itself to the sort of "zen" experience that you describe... until the player realizes that they're being led around by the nose."

Oh I know Valve is leading me by the nose -- or "gently nudging by the hip" is maybe a better way to put it -- but in the most zen levels, it doesn't feel that way. I actually think the later levels, after you (spoiler alert) escape the testing area, require more linear logic. After awhile I start automatically looking for the angled panel that should be inevitably portaled so I can make a big jump of some kind.

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