Portal 2: My take

At this point, I think it’s pretty clear that nobody makes games quite like Valve Software. Where many studios seem to be slaves to their publishers, constrained by business decisions and coaxed into rushing sequels to make their overlords a quick buck, Valve coasts along on what must be a deluge of revenue from Steam game sales, free to allocate its time as its sees fit. That’s why the long-anticipated Half-Life 2: Episode III is still nowhere on the radar, and it’s why we had to wait three-and-a-half years for Portal 2. Just think… during roughly that same span of time, Infinity Ward and Treyarch have managed to churn out not one, not two, but three Call of Duty sequels.

Rather than prolonging franchises every year, Valve seems more interested in polishing individual games to a mirror shine. Now, I’m not saying games like the Call of Duty series are necessarily rushed and cheaply made. They are, however, comparable to a dinner at Denny’s. All the right ingredients for a tasty meal are there, but everything sort of tastes the same, and boy, it sure could stand to be cheaper. Valve games are more like dining at your favorite little restaurant with old friends. The place might not be open at 1:00 AM on a Sunday morning, but there’s less filler and much more fulfillment.

Portal 2 is the latest and perhaps best example of Valve’s modus operandi. The original Portal was a short, highly stylized, and risky experimental title that went on to earn accolades from critics and gamers alike. The sequel revives the same familiar setting and gameplay mechanics, but it energizes them with a much grander, broader scope and direction. Valve head honcho Gabe Newell perhaps puts it best in the game’s developer commentary: with Portal 2, his studio was aiming to offer “not more of the same but more of the new.”

Now, because much of what made Portal 2 great for me was following the story as it progressed, I don’t want to deprive you, our dear reader, of that enjoyment. So, I’m going to keep the rest of this blog post spoiler-free. I can’t very well explain why I like the game without going into more detail, of course, so there will be some high-level talk about the structure, gameplay, and so forth—just no specifics about the plot or anything like that. Trying not to gush over the story was much harder than you might think, but ruining the game’s surprises would have been a far greater evil.

For the duration of Portal 2‘s development, we were treated to pictures and videos of a game much like the original, except with new bits and pieces thrown in. We were shown a new character, Wheatley, the dim-witted artificial intelligence whose brilliantly written dialogue is voiced by the equally brilliant Stephen Merchant. We were shown the derelict and overgrown but still-functional test chambers, and of course, new gameplay props like the repulsion gel and excursion funnels, both of which can be manipulated with portals.

Here I was on Monday evening, then, looking forward to new puzzles and another helping of amusing writing but not a whole lot else. I was perfectly fine with that premise—I loved the first game and trusted Valve to make a solid sequel. Predictably, the first few chapters of the game turned out more or less like what I had expected. Going back to “thinking with portals” after three years took a little bit of work, but not too much, and I was having plenty of fun.

Then, suddenly and without warning, Portal 2 pulled the appetizer out from under my nose and served up the main course. The “more of the same” had given way to the “more of the new,” breaking the mold of the first game and throwing me for a loop. I was now progressing through a markedly different game that placed more emphasis on atmosphere, story, and exploration, forcing me to solve puzzles in new ways and enthralling me completely. After having smiled and chuckled my way through the first few chapters, I was starting to grin and laugh out loud.

Now that I’ve beaten the single-player campaign, I’m almost positive that Valve has created a new genre here: the story-driven action puzzle game. Other games have wedded story and puzzles before, as anyone who’s played Myst, Riven, and their somewhat lackluster sequels ought to know. Valve’s newcomer has a lot in common with Cyan’s masterpieces, I think: the atmosphere, the exploration, the fascinating and creative backstory, and the fact that it challenges players without making them kill their way through levels. Of course, Portal 2 is also very fast-paced and dynamic, and it trades new-age mumbo-jumbo for a slick sci-fi storyline, wry humor, and a universe that takes strong cues from the Cube movies. Oh, and let’s not forget the excellent acting—not just from Stephen Merchant, but from the entire cast.

One particularly commendable aspect of Portal 2 is the way it integrates puzzles into a broader game world with a stronger narrative. The challenges punctuate the exposition, and the exposition provides a break from the puzzle-solving. It all fits together very nicely. Also, instead of presenting players with a slow progression of increasingly difficult puzzles with new concepts dropping in periodically, Portal 2 mixes things up, serving up plenty of puzzles with very simple solutions that can’t be solved without some outside-the-box thinking. In other words, it’s less about slowly learning how to deal with the latest gameplay gizmo and more about being creative.

Despite the shifting difficulty and the new gameplay mechanics, Portal 2 never got difficult enough to frustrate me, nor did it get repetitive enough to bore me. I did smack myself upside the head a few times for not figuring out something sooner, though. I think the game’s overall balance speaks volumes about Valve’s ability to avoid pitfalls while treading on very much unproven ground. That, folks, is why games like this take three-and-a-half years to make.

I’ve seen people complain that Portal 2 is too short, too drab, and spoiled by the Potato Sack ARG gimmick. It’s true that, at about eight hours, the single-player campaign doesn’t break any records for length. It’s also true that the whole Potato Sack thing was awkwardly orchestrated and very much anticlimactic. I’m struggling to understand the rest of the negative feedback, though. Portal 2‘s clever puzzles and hilarious writing alone would justify the $50 asking price, and the expanded world and storyline add a whole other dimension to it—one that should be especially pleasing to fans of the original. Then there’s the co-op mode, which I haven’t even had a chance to play yet.

Really, next to the unending downpour of Call of Duty sequels, Gears of War clones, clunky RPGs, and unpolished indie games, Portal 2 is like a breath of fresh air.

Comments closed
    • roont
    • 9 years ago

    I was actually quite happy to pay the $44 on steam, considering that the next day I payed $69.99 for mortal kombat.

    • Pax-UX
    • 9 years ago

    The only bad thing about this game, everything was designed to be solved in a set way and only that way! There was no room for experimentation, ironic giving this is all about the Science… That disappointed me. Being cleaver is when you do something the game people didn’t think of, but Valve covered all the angles. That took away the reply as puzzles have a single solution. Plus the developer commentary is very weak… great game for a single play through, very little re-playability.

    • mslowe7187
    • 9 years ago

    finally finished portal 1 last night, loved it! i wish i had jumped on the discounted pre-order pricing that retailers had been offering on Portal 2…. I really want it but I don’t want to drop $60 on it

    • KeillRandor
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm – let’s see – shall I, or shan’t I?

    Can I resist starting an argument like this one?

    No.

    Puzzle != Game

    Puzzles are not, never have been, and never will be games in and for themselves. ‘Puzzle-game’ is technically an oxymoron – two applications of incompatible behaviour. (Like left-right / up-down). Of course, the reason it’s only ‘technically’ incompatible, is that there is ONE way in which puzzles can be used to enable and promote a game, without changing either – a race to complete a puzzle. That’s it. Since this ‘game’ doesn’t sound like a race, it’s simply a collection of puzzles MAYBE (since I haven’t played it) interleaved with a game – if there’s a WRITTEN story at all, instead of interacting with a story being told – (which is what puzzles entail).

    [url<]http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DarrenTomlyn/3291/[/url<] (Note: I'm currently working on the blog post about puzzles).

      • Cyril
      • 9 years ago

      You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into this, but I’m not sure I see the point of prescribing a new, purportedly more correct meaning to the word “game.”

      If I understand correctly, you seem to uphold the view that games are strictly competitive in nature and that the commonly understood definition (“activity engaged in for diversion or amusement,” according to Webster’s) is incorrect. However, even if you were to write the most compelling, persuasive thesis to support that argument, it wouldn’t change the fact that people understand each other when they talk about games. Fundamentally, that’s the whole point of words—to convey a commonly understood meaning.

      No amount of pontificating about correctness or incorrectness is going to change the fact that, if someone sees Portal 2, they’re almost guaranteed to refer to it as a video game. And if you write a blog post about Portal 2 wanting to be understood, you’re probably better off calling it a game than a “puzzle-driven entertainment experience.” 😉

        • KeillRandor
        • 9 years ago

        Well – if words were actually DEFINED and DESCRIBED (and so taught) in a manner that is consistent with how they have always been used, then it would be a start.

        Most of the problem we have with the words game, puzzle, competition(s), work and play – (you can add art into that but of course the problems with that particular word go back a lot further – (not sure why – the use of such a word/s has always been extremely consistent, so a definition can be derived very easily, (using the right language to describe it does help however))) – are actually VERY recent. Some aspects of the problems only exist because of computers themselves.

        The problem is that perceptions of the language did not match how the language was USED. Rather than correct this, however, such perceptions were then taught and informed about (in dictionaries/encyclopedias) instead. THIS is why we’ve now wound up with a situation where it’s completely all over the place as far as such consistency is concerned, and many words no longer really HAVE any consistent meaning as such – which is why a lot of (computer) games now, are not fully games at all – (IF at all, for a minority).

        The problem, is that over the past few centuries, WHAT the word game actually represents has been LOST.

        Why? Because they’ve become confused for their APPLICATION – and it’s this that has left room for them to be confused with other, similar words, that suffer the same problem, such as art and puzzle.

        This is not because of how the language is USED to communicate in general – but because of how the language has been studied and it’s meaning deciphered and stored and taught – (in dictionaries/encyclopedias).

        Many entries in such things are therefore completely wrong, and inconsistent with how the language is actually used.

        There is another reason for this problem, however, which affects the English language is a very fundamental way, of which the words game, art, puzzle, competition are also symptoms.

        All words are currently described and defined for what they represent in ISOLATION.

        The problem with this, is of course that not all words represent ‘things’ that can, and do EXIST in isolation – even types of words themselves. This means that many words in the language and their types are NOT being described and defined consistently either, such as:

        Noun, verb and adjective.

        This is, of course, what the first part of my blog is about…

          • Xenolith
          • 9 years ago

          People are referring to Portal 2 as a video game. If you want to communicate with people, call it a video game. Nice video for folks like you – [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY[/url<]

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            That’s because everyone involved in its creation, marketing, etc. perceive it as a video game too. Based on how the word game has been perceived and used over the past few centuries the word game has become defined by its application.

            When perceptions are inconsistent with how the language is used, and then affect the definitions of the words, which then affects how the words are used etc. – you get a feedback loop that causes a large amount of inconsistency, (and arguments), and that is not, at this time, being recognised for what it is.

            Video game is one such application that is fully inconsistent with the word game is used everywhere else in the language for example. (Game != art, and therefore cannot be defined by each other – it’s not video that enables these games, any more than pictures enable board or card games – its a computer that’s the medium here).

            But as I said, until the word game is described and defined for what it must represent based on how it is used, (and always has been used, because it’s still generally consistent with that), along with other, similar words such as puzzle and art, people will continue to get confused and argue about them forever – (which is what’s happened with the word art – and ‘video’ game is now part of the problem).

            Game, art and puzzle all represent DIFFERENT applications of DIFFERENT behaviour based on their use – but until they’re recognised for and by such a thing, arguments will continue and be meaningless since they won’t solve the problem.

            Like I said, this a grass-roots problem affecting the (English) language in general, not just the word game et al.. Without fixing the problems at that level, or at least mitigating the problem as best as possible – (just recognising the problem is a start) – no arguments or changes based on them will matter at all. We’ve got centuries worth of inconsistency to correct, so it’s guaranteed to take a generation or two/three even once the basic solutions have been put into place.

            • khands
            • 9 years ago

            Language is constantly evolving, new meanings being added to words and old meanings fading away. It is impossible to fix the english language save a world government body in charge of education.

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            If the dictionaries and encyclopedias/teaching materials were accurate and CONSISTENT (enough) in the first place, it would help!

            The problem is that such inconsistency at such a fundamental level just makes the problem worse for EVERYONE – it’s not about evolution – it’s about sheer inconsistency based on perceptions overriding the USE of the language itself – language ITSELF, becoming SUBJECTIVE – which is the enemy of ANY language.

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            Language is an imprecise, ever-changing thing, and words have shades of meaning that evolve and shift with time and use. You can’t anchor down words with precise, timeless definitions any more than you can anchor down a great flock of migratory birds. To do so would go against their nature utterly and completely.

            Rather than waste precious time trying to turn language into mankind’s first-ever flawless creation, why not recognize that our inherent fallibility is reflected in the way we communicate—just as it is in the way we perceive and shape and remember the world around us? Facing the uncertainty of human nature might feel like standing at the edge of a precipice, but trying to fix something that can’t be un-broken won’t make that precipice any less great.

            Why not just jump and enjoy your flight down like the rest of us?

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            You fail to understand the nature of the problem. It’s not about natural change and evolution based on how the language is USED – how it is used is paramount.

            The problem here is that the LINGUISTIC study and support of the language is FAILING TO DO IT’s JOB – FAILING to BE consistent with HOW the language is USED – which is leading to sheer inconsistency – SUBJECTIVE perceptions and definitions of language itself – the very THING, such linguistic support EXISTS to counter!

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            Don’t take this the wrong way, but for someone who advocates extreme precision in language, your writing is rather muddled and puzzlingly vague. Perhaps you’re the only one who’s really confused about the meanings of words here? 🙂

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            Warning: LONG

            No – I’m not confused – people are misunderstanding the basic problem. If you want, I’ll use a basic analogy to explain it here – (NOTE: some exaggeration may be present 😉 ), (hopefully this will work – it’s NOT perfect, but then nothing other than the exact problem itself, can be).

            But still, in order to understand the problem, and even the analogy – you need to understand the fundamentals of how language works and functions. Language is used to transfer meaning from one person to another/others. Our languages use a set system of sounds/images/movement to represent such meanings and information within a framework of rules. Within the English language this means different types of words representing different types of things, and types of words, sometimes even specific words, being used in a (sometimes very) particular order to transfer an overall meaning, based on the rules of the language itself Ok?

            Right then. Imagine the word GAME, is the word FURNITURE. (The problem with the word game, rather than puzzle is easier to explain).

            There are three things that matter overall for the word furniture and what it represents in ITSELF:

            A) What the word itself represents in isolation.
            B) How the word is related to the rest of the language
            C) How what the word represents is further applied by its use within the language.

            Now when words are used by people to communicate, they use them to transfer an intended meaning. If someone doesn’t know what the word represents, then we can examine its context, based on the rules of the language and the situation, to derive its meaning from. Language is useful and successful if another person can therefore understand this word for the meaning it carries – how exact this needs to be can vary, but rarely needs to be perfect or exact. (Again, the rules of the language can help with such a thing).

            Now, we immediately have two ways in which this word now exists – the person who used it, and the person who received it. If the two are not consistent enough, language cannot do its job. For this reason, the enemy of language is for it to be individually subjective – for each person to have their own, unique language, that no-one else understands, because it’s inconsistent, ok?

            Now, the English language is so widespread, (and has been for a while), that in order for the language to remain consistent enough for people to use it in such a manner, they need to be taught and readily informed (when necessary) about the language we use. Now, since the information people need to transfer (in whatever manner using language) is always changing, the language itself must also change and adapt. One of the main reasons WHY the English language has been so successful, is that it is able to adapt in such a way usually WITHOUT BREAKING THE RULES OF THE LANGUAGE ITSELF – (such as ‘verbing nouns’ (behaviour becoming a thing) or vice-versa etc.).

            Now imagine that the language is being used in such a manner that the word FURNITURE represents what it is recognised to represent at this time:

            (Wikipedia): Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities etc..

            Now imagine that someone starts to think that the word furniture has something to do with ‘single’ since that’s what he always hears when talking about the furniture his friend has…

            Now imagine that enough people start labelling their items of furniture by the words ‘single, double, arm, high, front, back, bedroom, kitchen’ etc., so furniture becomes known by such an application. Then imagine that some people only really recognise the furniture they use when at home, and not at work – the difference between ‘their’ furniture, and someone else’s, or ‘work’ furniture, and ‘home’ furniture. Now, since everyone has a good idea still of what the words mean, it’s not a problem.

            But then furniture also starts to become labelled and known by its materials, and its colour and shape – even though the language itself treats them entirely SEPARATELY. And then, over time, the actual FUNCTION furniture is supposed to have, and be defined by and represent, is slowly being lost.

            EDIT: (I forgot a stage).

            Now imagine that as its function is being lost, the construction methods etc. used to enable such a function are also being considered to be furniture… So rather than being a thing – it’s now being thought of as an action or behaviour. The word furniture then gains an additional use to represent such a thing in ADDITION to it’s original definition.

            So, all of the people studying the language have been recording all of this, and have now used all of the above in describing what the word furniture itself represents. Even though some of it is against the basic rules of the language itself.

            And yet, there is one other problem. How the word has been USED, has NEVER CHANGED, except for the additional use and definition – but that is fine – it’s consistent with the language – using the word as a verb to describe such behaviour. All of the above words, however, have always been used in COMBINATION with the word furniture, and therefore have never affected it’s definition!

            Until now. Finally, at long last, because of all the information distributed through all the dictionaries and encyclopeidas, and all the reference material, and the teaching, and all other methods of checking and learning what the word furniture represents, the definitions and descriptions of words there finally start to change too. Not much at first, but then by a great deal. Why?

            Because the word furniture has now become so subjective in people’s perceptions, that the reason for the TYPE of word it represents, has now been lost as well – how this word is related to the rest of the language – the anchor this word had within the language as a whole, has now been broken – by thinking of furniture based on it’s colour, and art, and behaviour and creation, it has now ceased to be recognised as representing physical objects at all. Unfortunately, each dictionary now has their own specific definition of the word – some based on colour, some based on materials, some based on applications etc.. Some based purely on behaviour. None of which truly represent what the word furniture represents based in its full and total USE.

            But because of all the reference materials, although the word can, and still IS being used in a manner that is consistent with it’s original definition, no-one fully understands why or how any longer – because it’s been drowned out by all of the subjective ideas and perceptions of what it represents – many of which are completely inconsistent and incompatible with how it is used in such a manner, but such a thing is no longer being recognised.

            The word furniture is, finally, USED in a manner, that is now fully SUBJECTIVE. The word furniture has become completely ISOLATED within the language as a whole – how it’s related to the rest of the language isn’t understood, and the difference between what the word represents, and how it is applied is not being understood either – therefore there is no way for anyone to actually figure out and derive such a definition from, anymore… (Or so it would appear). Furniture, colour, single/double, wood/metal are all examples of words whose individual meaning is slowly becoming lost or confused and inconsistent and subjective aswell – all because of the word furniture.

            NOW, do you understand the nature of the problem? And also its solution? First we need to figure out what it is the word truly represents, independently of any application, and also the type of word it is. We can study what it is used as representing, to see of there is any underlying similarity by which it can be defined, and then use that in relation to it’s word type and the rest of the language to figure out the best method of actually describing it for what it represents in a manner that show HOW it is related to things such as ‘single/double/colour/shape/sculpture’ etc.. – where one word stops and another begins. Once we have a consistent (as possible) definition for ALL of these words – (only one in isolation is not going to help) – then we can help to solve the problem through education and reference materials etc..

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            So you’re saying the meaning of words is becoming obscured because linguists don’t quite put the right descriptions in the dictionary?

            Dictionaries aren’t rule books for language, though. They’re loose reference guides at best. Human language happily evolved over tens of thousands of years without reference material, and the rather recent appearance of overwhelming literacy (at least in the developed world) isn’t going to turn language evolution on its head as people look up to a few pedantic prescriptivists to define everyday words for them.

            Of course, that hypothetical scenario seems to be what [i<]you're[/i<] striving for, since you've come up with your own definition of "game" and are going around the Internet telling people to adopt it. 🙂

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            Actually I just realised I forgot another extra stage in the description – that people that create and design and sell furniture then label and define it based on their own subjective perceptions as-well – which also then gets added to the melting pot. (I shouldn’t multi-task when writing things like this should I :p ).

            The rule of LINGUISTICS is the study of language so those who use it can do so in a better, more consistent manner, whilst (in addition) learn about language in general and understand it in a more fundamental way.

            Without CONSISTENCY LANGUAGE CANNOT FUNCTION.

            But people are NOT CONSISTENT – people are individually subjective by their very nature, and so the languages we use automatically work against our very nature. The sheer scale and scope of the English language today, means that without ANY CONSISTENT foundation upon which to build, it will CEASE to EXIST – it will fracture completely into localised, subjective languages – indeed, it is possible that this has already started to happen with the influx of people learning it as their second language – especially in the far east.

            The BASIC RULES of a single language CANNOT AFFORD TO BECOME SUBJECTIVE.

            But guess what words are ALSO being affected by this problem we have here – simply because those who have studied and teach the language have not DESCRIBED or DEFINED them in a manner that is FULLY consistent with what they MUST represent based upon their USE?

            Noun. Verb. Adjective.

            THAT is how deeply this problem affects the English language. The word game, and related words, (such as puzzle, and art), and their relationship with the English language is being affected by this directly – (noun and verb).

            This has NOTHING to do with my OWN SUBJECTIVE OPINION. It based on the factual account of how the English language itself is USED. THAT is what DEFINES words – NOT PERCEPTION, which is why we’re all in this mess in the first place! All of these words have become recognised, understood and described and DEFINED BASED on such PERCEPTIONS!

            One problem with the word game, related to the analogy above, is that we’ve lost touch with its equivalent of ‘chair/table/bed’ etc. – the basic ‘things’ that define the word for what it represents – which every game in existence contains or uses as part of their application, and can therefore be used to define the word, based entirely upon such USE.

            P.s. have actually read my blog (I gave the link before)?

            • Applecrusher
            • 9 years ago

            Ill be honest, I got bored of reading these things after your first paragraph.. buuut.. From what I caught you are trying to argue that Portal is not a game because it is a puzzle. Does this mean Tetris is not a game also?

            And would that mean that no console games are games as they all have us trying to figure things out to some point even if its something simple like shooting a baddie?

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            To be honest – backing up a bit – I think I can explain a little better – (as I said, I’ve been busy – and multi-tasking this kinda thing doesn’t help 😉 ).

            The problem we have is not how the language is used to COMMUNICATE in itself.

            The problem we have is in how we use the language to describe what OTHER WORDS in the language represent, in that it is based on SUBJECTIVE perception, rather than a full objective understanding of what the words MUST represent, based on how they are used – not just in ISOLATION, but in RELATION to each other. The latter is especially problematic – (which is why nouns, verbs and adjectives are affected) – when dealing with words that do not fully EXIST in isolation to begin with! (All types of words are related to each other in many different ways, which is why the English language can adapt and grow so easily).

            The problem, as I said, is with linguistics – in that dictionaries/encyclopedias etc. ONLY define words for what they represent in ISOLATION.

            What the words game, art, puzzle, competition, work and play (as nouns), represent, however, does NOT exist in ISOLATION at all – EXCEPT within the language itself when being used, in a manner consistent with the type of word they are – (a noun). But because what these words represent CANNOT exist in isolation, we therefore have a problem.

            Without describing this type of noun for what it represents in relation to another type of word, in a manner that is consistent with how they are USED, all such definitions of these words mentioned are usually therefore either completely inaccurate, or just incomplete. Again, without this type of noun giving them the foundation of what they represent in relation to the rest of the language, such words cannot be fully recognised for what they represent, either in isolation, let alone in relation to each other – which is the problem we have here – since there is nothing to relate them TO or BY.

            What this type of noun represents, and in relation to what, should be EXTREMELY obvious based on the words it covers:

            Flight is an application of fly.
            Movement is an application of move.
            Speech is an application of speak.

            This type of noun represents an application of what it is that verbs can be described as representing.

            But how both this type of noun and verbs are described and defined, is a BIG problem. Why? Because they only use single words to do so – passing the definition of a TYPE of word to another single word in ISOLATION – using words such as event and state for this type of noun, and occurrence, action and state for verbs does not work.

            There mere fact that they use the word state to describe BOTH verbs AND this type of noun, should give you some idea of the problem, yes?

            The problem is that we need to describe what verbs represent in a manner that allows to describe this type of noun in a manner that is consistent with how the words are used.

            My suggestion, based entirely on my own opinion of how the language is used, is to use the word BEHAVIOUR, in isolation.

            Why? Because ALL of the words used to describe these two types ultimately comes back to the same description:

            Things that happen.

            One of the reason WHY we’re having problems with these words, is because game, art and puzzle also have a use purely as a ‘thing’ too – and therefore people can get confused between the two uses of the word thing in such a manner.

            Because of that – we therefore need a replacement description for ‘things that happen’ because the other use of the word thing is not a problem. And we need to be able to use it describe this type of noun in relation too.

            BEHAVIOUR, is, in my opinion, the only suitable word, based on what it represents when used in isolation. Yes, it can be further applied by it’s use within the language, but that’s not a problem unless you get confused between the two – (again, definitions for applications).

            So verbs can therefore be described as representing behaviour (things that happen) in themselves, in isolation.

            And this type of noun can be described as representing applications of behaviour.

            But the English language also treats behaviour in isolation, (as verbs), which also causes problems for this type of noun – since it’s not treated the same way, and used independently of anyone/subject/object taking part/being affected by such behaviour. Because the English language is built around subjective representations of people – (you, me, we, them etc.) – without any specifics on how such behaviour affects anyone or thing – by leaving such a person or entity out of the definition entirely, we have additional problems with people subjective perceptions affecting what people think these words represent – or rather WHOSE behaviour they think such words represent applications of.

            This is one of the main reason why people have trouble understanding the difference between game/puzzle and art, for example.

            This is a summary of part 1 of my blog – I suggest you continue from part 2 – it’s a lot easier from there on in…

            • David
            • 9 years ago

            It’s consistent enough for our needs. We have to good fortune of being able to use context to keep from needing such deadly precision in every aspect of our use of language.

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            I don’t think it is.

            Why?

            Because I see what’s POSSIBLE, but ONLY if games are understood for what they truly are, in RELATION to puzzles, art and competitions, not INSTEAD of, which is happening at this time, in a completely inconsistent manner.

            We don’t define up as down, or left as right, or light as heavy for a damn good reason – because doing so would make such words useless.

            But that is ultimately the scale of the problem here.

            We’re defining things we DO, by and as things that happen TO us.

            Think about that.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 9 years ago

            Brevity is the soul of wit

            • travbrad
            • 9 years ago

            I’d rather live in a world where we use the word game to describe a puzzle, than a world where we randomly capitalize entire words.

            • Xenolith
            • 9 years ago

            You didn’t watch the video, did you. Stop being pretentious and self-righteous. Language is an art not math. All sorts of literary greats use the language wrongly. Proper form doesn’t matter as long as you communicate.

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            See my reply above. It’s not, fundamentally, about the general USE of the language.

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            Yes it is. Use defines the language. “Glasses” aren’t necessary glass either, but that’s what people have used to say, so that’s what it is now. A computer mouse wasn’t a mouse either until some publication declared it one. Today, if you search for “mouse”, a computer mouse actually comes out above the actual thing.

            This is the evolution you perceive as a problem. But the worst of all, worrying as it may be, is that you think puzzles and games are mutually exclusive. As if nobody has ever had fun finishing a jigsaw, or as if people couldn’t derive enjoyment from figuring out practical riddles in Tomb Raider, for that matter.

            [b<]A game is something you interactively engage in, for none other than fun.[/b<] That's what it is. (Unless it's an animal, at which point it's somebody you kill for fun. The end result is the same, fun.) If you have to solve a mental challenge to get there, that doesn't negate the fact it was fun. Portal is a puzzle game. I said fun so many times that I'm starting to believe it's Friday.

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            No No No.

            Time for a lesson in linguistics:

            Use ONLY defines a word when it’s NOT INDIVIDUALLY SUBJECTIVE – which is EXACTLY what the word game has become.

            The reason this has happened is simple – words have become DEFINED, NOT BY USE – BUT BY PERCEPTION. This is the VERY THING that everyone involved in the study, teaching/education/information ABOUT language exits to COUNTERACT – (i.e linguistics itself), and because this very thing is the very nature of humanity itself, ANY such language HAS to counteract this in order to EXIST AS a language for communication from the moment of its creation.

            Example:

            As you demonstrate above, games are currently PERCEIVED as being PLAY – (noun) – something we do that is non-productive, and therefore done for the purpose of enjoyment instead. MANY dictionaries and encyclopedias/lessons etc. TEACH that games are in fact, play:

            My Mini Oxford English Dictionary:

            Game n. 1 an activity done for amusement or sport. 2 a period of play, ending in a final result.

            But why is this a problem?

            Because based on how the word game is USED – games are/can be played for WORK. (There are many professional sportsmen and women, as-well as the military and police that play games for such a reason). Many people are also starting to realise that games can exist for productive reasons (work) such as education etc.. (‘Serious’ games). (Just like music/concerts etc.).

            The description of playing a game, must therefore mean that the word play as a verb, and the word play as a noun, have NO relation to each other in regards to this particular word – (or indeed music/concert etc.).

            Basic, simple and OBVIOUS – yet the dictionaries are WRONG, and this is a large part of what’s CAUSING the problem!

            Work and play, as nouns have NO PLACE in the DEFINITION of the word game, or music, or concert, or puzzle, or art, or competition etc.. What do you notice about all these words? They’re not just nouns – they’re ALL the same TYPE of noun… (Hint!)

            Games have existed for many MILLENNIA – maybe as long as humanity itself – but the problems and inconsistencies WITH the word are VERY recent – (past millennia at most). Why? Because that’s when people started getting confused between its DEFINITION and its APPLICATION. Computers have only accelerated the problem, placing more power in the hands of fewer people who do not fully understand or know themselves – but dictionaries/encyclopeidas/teachers etc. are the primary reason why it’s spread as far as it has over the past few centuries.

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            Capslock doesn’t make you right. Tell us the definition of game then, because you can believe me, the dictionary is correct.

            By your twisted stupid logic, we should call videogames “videoplays”, and trust me, theatres everywhere would object if you were to take away their favourite word and twist its meaning simply because you don’t agree with everyone else on the planet.

            Use defines the language.

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            (Doh – keep forgetting that we can use italic tags here – doh – sry for the caps :p ).

            So defining a bird as an animal that is flying overhead would be correct then, would it?

            No, of course not.

            Why?

            Because separating definitions of words from their applications is important for a damn good reason – because it reflects how the universe works and therefore how it [i<]should[/i<] be perceived, even if not or especially because it's not on an individual basis, and therefore our language would need to reflect that in order to be accurate and consistent - and therefore able to do its job. But this is the problem with the word game - it's become recognised and defined by its [i<]application(s)[/i<], not [i<]what[/i<] its an application [i<]of[/i<]. Imagine defining and perceiving furniture by 'single, double, arm, wood, metal, blue, red' etc. Would that work? of course not - without chair, table, bed etc. it's meaningless. [i<]This[/i<] is what has happened to the word game, and more - (it's worse!) The problem with the word play, is that it's [i<]not[/i<] an application of game at all or vice-versa - it's being applied in and for [i<]itself[/i<] upon what the word game represents in [i<]addition[/i<] to such a thing, by an individual person. Games have (probably - at least for as long as we are aware) - [i<]always[/i<] been used for training purposes - work - especially for the military - it's what the original Olympic games were for. And guess what? The original Olympic games [i<]are[/i<] games. As I said, unfortunately, games have become [i<]perceived[/i<], recognised and understood not for [i<]what[/i<] they are, but for how they are applied. The main way in which this has happened, is by the media being used. Since the media (card/ball/dice/board etc.) has nothing to do with games in themselves, and are separate words used in combination, they therefore have nothing to do with what the word game itself represents. Their job is merely to enable a game to exist - nothing more - and games exist [i<]independently[/i<] of any such media. Unfortunately one of the symptoms of games being known by their application (of which the media used in the most prevalent), is that people are no longer even recognising such media consistently. [i<]Video[/i<] is NOT the medium used to enable this type of game. A [i<]computer[/i<] (of whatever kind) is the medium - it is what the [i<]player[/i<] interacts with in order to play a game with and enable it to exist - the video, like a picture on a board or playing cards is merely art, in and for itself, that the medium itself further uses to enable the game, and is usually specific to the individual application - and therefore has no place in its definition [i<]as[/i<] a game in general, merely helping to define it as a particular game if possible. I could give you a simple four word definition of the word game - but the fact that it took me three whole blog posts (fairly long detailed ones at that) to explain exactly how and why such a definition works and fits what the word game is used to represent - aside from inconsistent perceptions, (and explaining how and why they are inconsistent perceptions) - I don't know if it'll do much good by itself. If you'd like to understand the background for this definition, then I suggest you read my blog - it's what it's for... [b<][i<]Structured, competitive, story-writing[/i<][/b<] [url<]http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DarrenTomlyn/3291/[/url<]

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            [quote<]Time for a lesson in linguistics:[/quote<] Where [i<]did[/i<] you study linguistics, by the way?

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            Given how basic, simple and fundamental this problem is – a) the English literacy level 2 course I took last year, (and a conversation with the teacher), and, before that, to check the basic foundations of the problem, a conversation with Dr Anthea Fraser Gupta at Leeds University (I used to live in Leeds – now in Leicester). She took one look at what I had told me it was right – (again it was so basic and simple, she couldn’t find anything wrong with it), and then told me to go to University – but I had to move, and I’ve been busy with other things, and it’s too late for next year now…

            As I said – if definitions of words are obviously inconsistent with how they are used, then the definitions are wrong, even if it’s what people currently perceive the words to mean. THIS is the problem we have with the words game, art, puzzle, competition(s), play, (not so much work), even the word toy seems to be suffering, along with noun, verb and adjective – (though in a slightly more limited manner).

            Since games can be played (verb) for work (noun) – the word play (as a noun) has no place in its definition. Game is merely one word with which we have problems – I’ve now figured out the root cause of a lot of the problems, again, by studying the words and how they are used etc., and that is why I’ve written my blog – (since I can’t go to Uni).

            So:

            The root problem is that people are not perceiving words for what they must represent based on how they are used.

            One of the main reasons for this is that they are being perceived by their application, rather than their definition.

            The word STORY, at this time, suffers from this problem – it is perceived, and then defined, as something (a form/arrangement of information) that is [i<]told[/i<]. And yet we use the word [i<]tell[/i<] in combination with the word story in common use in order to give it just such an application - meaning this definition is inconsistent with its use, and therefore WRONG. A story, does [i<]not[/i<], therefore have to be [i<]told[/i<] in order to exist within the language. So why does that matter? What use or role does the word story have within the language due to such a new definition - what new capability does it add, and why is it so useful, if not important for describing the word game (and others)? It was trying to answer [i<]that[/i<] question that led me to where I am today - (and what the first part of my blog is there to answer).

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            [quote<]As I said - if definitions of words are obviously inconsistent with how they are used[/quote<] But they're not. You've seen the dictionary definition, and you've seen how the word is used. Perfect match. [quote<]Since games can be played (verb) for work (noun) - the word play (as a noun) has no place in its definition.[/quote<] I bet. Next thing I know, you will tell me "gameplay" is actually a phantom word, a figment of our collective imagination, and no such word should exist. Edit: Cocks can be sucked for work too, however I don't see how that disqualifies the possibility of a purely recreational pastime. Your logic is too personal, it's largely an opinion, that's the main flaw.

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            WHAT?

            Game – game is defined as play (noun) – but can be played (verb) for work (noun) so is inconsistent. Simple.

            If you deny that games can be played for work – then explain how games exist for education and training purposes – regardless of being ‘fun’. The behaviour games represent an application of exist independently of being fun or play (noun) – since that requires a SUBJECTIVE application of what those two words represent upon such an activity. (big hint).

            Story – I gave you that on a platter, and have no idea how you cannot recognised the problem with that. (No idea what the context of your first sentence is btw).

            Gameplay is a combination of game (noun) and play (VERB!) – to represent a further application of such behaviour – to represent the act of playing (VERB!) a game in a single word. Play as a verb is unrelated to play as a noun for this type of word. (I play (verb) music/concerts for work (noun) fairly often).

            This is based entirely on a study of how the language is USED – and recognising the difference between behaviour, in itself, and its application.

            Game, art, puzzle, competition, work and play (as nouns), along with party, accident, flight, speech, movement etc. all represent applications of behaviour. The problem is that that is not how they are defined or recognised, even though:

            Flight as an application of fly
            Speech as an application of speak
            Movement as an application of move

            Should be as OBVIOUS as it gets.

            This is NOT SUBJECTIVE.

            Of course, we can do the same with adjectives too:

            Agility is an application of agile
            Strength is an application of strong etc.

            Are nouns, verbs and adjectives currently perceived, recognised and understood by such a relationship – NO!

            WHY?

            Because they are only described/defined and perceived in ISOLATION. But NONE of these words EXIST in ISOLATION.

            THAT is why they FAIL, and why you have problems.

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            I think that, at this point, you’ve written more words in the comments for this blog post than I did in the blog post itself. I didn’t capitalize quite as many as you did, though!

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah, well, as I stated at the beginning – my blog covers all of this in full detail…

            • David
            • 9 years ago

            The definition of “story” has no mention of being “told”. At least not in my dictionary. If it did it would be a poor definition. And there are definitions like that, I grant you. But the problem is not widespread or detrimental.

            You pointed out earlier how English is so widespread because of it’s ease of use. This muddling of definitions/meanings that plagues you has been going on since long before English became so widespread. You point this out yourself as well.

            So, has English suddenly become exponentially more difficult?

            • KeillRandor
            • 9 years ago

            story = narrative (or equivalent) in EVERY dictionary or encyclopedia I’ve ever read – and that’s a lot given I’ve been doing so deliberately as part of my research into this problem.

            narrative = a story that is being, or has been, TOLD.

            narrative = application of story, not story in itself.

            story = an account of events, either real or imaginary, (created and stored inside a (person’s) memory).

            (Note – to understand the use of the word account, think ‘memory bank’. The parentheses are there because that part of the definition only applies when used in isolation, (which, because it’s an intangible thing, is possible), and it can therefore be applied as and to, and be referenced to and by elsewhere in other forms).

            I could list all the definitions and what’s wrong with them – (have already done that (edit: *for myself) as part of my research) – but I’ve never bothered to to do so because it’s pretty pointless to list the same or similar problems like that – I just use a couple as an example instead.

            Don’t get me wrong – if I was doing a proper academic study, I probably would, but I’m not…

            EDIT:

            It’s not that English has become more [i<]difficult[/i<] per se, only that, as it has become more widespread, and more people are learning it as a second language, the amount of effort it takes to keep the foundations of the language itself consistent enough for it to function on such a scale, increases. And as I've pointed out with nouns/verbs/adjectives - if the foundations are not quite in place to begin with, then any problems they cause are going to get bigger and make the amount of effort needed even greater. If the problems with the basics of the language arn't fixed soon - I expect it to only take 4/5 generations now before it fractures completely - it may even have started already... The words game, art, puzzle etc. are merely symptoms of this problem at the minute, but the cracks are there, and probably getting bigger...

      • internetsandman
      • 9 years ago

      Forgive the blunt reply, but you sir, are the Hitler of grammar nazis.

    • thanatos355
    • 9 years ago

    I almost peed myself laughing when I got off the elevator and saw the [spoiler<]bsod on the wall displays[/spoiler<]! 😀

    • dashbarron
    • 9 years ago

    I read this:
    [quote<]At this point, I think it's pretty clear that nobody makes games quite like Valve Software. [/quote<] And then this: [quote<]Rather than prolonging franchises every year, Valve seems more interested in polishing individual games to a mirror shine. Now, I'm not saying games like the Call of Duty series are necessarily rushed and cheaply made. ...Valve games are more like dining at your favorite little restaurant with old friends. [/quote<] And I had to stop for a moment because I respectfully disagree with you Cyril. Valve does fun, interesting things, and while they have the cash-cow Steam to keep them going for many years (and only get more impressive and powerful) I cringe when I think of their products and the development cycles for these products. You said it, and lets face it, Valve drags their feet releasing things and it is definitely not always to a "mirror shine." You want a just example of a company that does that? Blizzard, mirror shine. Valve has already released a patch to fix several critical bugs in Portal 2 causing games and systems to crash. Not just a bug where the music was quirky or some graphics were rendering poorly, but complete instability and a game that's not really playable. Thank you beta testers. And then there's Half Life and a dozen other games never seeing the light of day. Combine this with the L4D-2 money-whore scenario a lot of people saw, and the fact that a lot of their games are basically shooters with a few tweaks to the core game-play and a different story (yet everyone plays them continually for their multiplayer, not for their story) their mirror shine and quality image seems to diminish when at least I look and see what exactly they've accomplished. --And lets not go into the DRM problems, Steam connectivity fiasco(s), and everything else that comes with the burden of using such a "great" ubiquitous overlord program. I'm not saying Portal 1 or 2 or a handful of other games they made aren't awesome, because they have and are. But Valve has a lot of games which seem repetitive and are combined with slow release cycles, and the super fast ones we have to question the validity of their claims to a new and quality game (L4D 2, which was suppose to be an DLC, then expansion, now sequel). I start to think of them less has a heroic company which takes time to polish games of high quality with new concepts and gameplay, to a company which is riding the Steam cash cow, taking their sweet-ole time because they can, and a company like Apple if you will, putting spit-shine on old ideas and calling it new.

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 9 years ago

      EVERY developer has to deal with bug fixes after release, including Valve AND Blizzard.

      • Applecrusher
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]You want a just example of a company that does that? Blizzard, mirror shine. [/quote<] Funnily enough the only 2 companies I buy almost every game off.. I wonder why? [quote<]Valve has already released a patch to fix several critical bugs in Portal 2 causing games and systems to crash.[/quote<] Of the 15+ people on my steam list who have been playing steam not one has complained about crashes.. And having to wait 2 days for a patch? That's better than most other games! [quote<] basically shooters with a few tweaks to the core game-play and a different story [/quote<] There is HL and portal for story.. What other games do they have that are single player and how are these two even similar? Heck even L4D and TF2 - their current MP shooters - are massively different in game play and graphics. And are you really crying because they went after a bit of cash in L4D/2 when I swear there were 4 COD games and expansions released last week?

        • dashbarron
        • 9 years ago

        [quote<]Heck even L4D and TF2 - their current MP shooters - are massively different in game play and graphics.[/quote<] That's kind of the point I've always made is that a lot their games are similar in terms of core concept; in fact, 75% of the games they make are FPS with basically the same gist behind it, just different skins, change the clip, ammo, color of this gun, etc. Yes, you might not be fighting giant hairy monkeys in TF2, but wielding a gun and blasting zombies in L4D despite a different atmosphere and skins just doesn't seem all that different. Swap out Nazis for Commies, or terrorists, or zombies, or aliens, or giant hairy monkeys, slap on a different skin with a different voice actor, and call it a day. Using the same ideas to build games which don't deviate from their main formula doesn't really make them a heroic and ingenious company to me. It makes them a company that can get their fans to buy all of their games, because their fundamentally the same with different graphics and "tweaks" to gameplay, and maybe a storyline if we're lucky (heck, if you exclude the comics which some people don't even know about, there is virtually no story-line in the L4D series). [quote<] And are you really crying because they went after a bit of cash in L4D/2 when I swear there were 4 COD games and expansions released last week? [/quote<] Good that you mention COD, more rampant FPS goodness (I see a theme, CS much?). At least there is more of a difference between L4D2 and COD then there is between TF2 and L4D2. And anyone who was a fan of the original L4D was bitter over the stunt they pulled with L4D2, who wouldn't be? They promised free content and next thing you know we have a "sequel" with a new price tag in under a year; that's your heroic and ingenious company you are rooting for. It was different from the original, but worthy of a sequel title and the double-digit $$ in less than a year? Probably not. I don't even like or care much about the L4D1/2 and play it purely for social reasoning. If anything, I'd say I have and get a pretty good outlook on Valve by not being totally engrossed in their machine. Yes, I like some of their games, but I'm not so flavored I can't find gross faults in them. It sure seems like a lot of people have all rose-colored glasses when looking at them.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      silly dashbarron, Valve is perfect. everything they do is amazing, and the best ever. Having any opinion otherwise will lead to you being told you’re a fool, come join in the collective stupidity, and ask no questions.

        • dashbarron
        • 9 years ago

        At least I have a friend in you, SSK. Want to play some L4D later? Maybe some Portal 2 coop, I heard it’s fun.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          lol. i don’t think i have you on my steam, do i? add me, i’m sweatshopking

    • isotope123
    • 9 years ago

    “Valve has created a new genre here: the story-driven action puzzle game.”

    Sorry man, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out first.

      • Applecrusher
      • 9 years ago

      Oot is much more of an RPG than an Action game..

    • KoolAidMan
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll be surprised if I play a better game this year. Single player and co-op were both A+, and new maps will probably get released. So happy with it.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    Valve seems to be emerging as the new Blizzard of old. I’ve found myself agreeing more and more with their decisions and how their games are turning out. Honestly though, there isn’t a whole lot of real competition… everything is a CoD clone.

    • Forge
    • 9 years ago

    Cyril, I finished the co-op, but I’d be happy to run through it again if you’re interested.

    The nice thing about Portal 2 versus Portal 1: It’s just long enough that you don’t remember all the puzzles clearly on the second play through.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    Awesome post, Cyril. You hit it. I loved it at every point especially the “ad” after getting out of the elevator, still playing it and not in a hurry to finish it.

    • Joerdgs
    • 9 years ago

    I finished both the singleplayer and co-op, and I’m now going through singleplayer again with commentary mode. Portal 2 is a paragon of game design! I loved everything about it, from the puzzles to the story, from the characters to the atmosphere. Singleplayer takes about 7 to 8 hours, and the co-op about another 6. This isn’t short at all, Valve paced it excellently for a large audience. And I think we’re far from done, I bet they has plenty of free content for us down the road (those complaining about the priced cosmetic items can go F themselves). Once the Source SDK update hits, the community will probably create a ton of new challenges too.

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks, Cyril. Now I [i<]really[/i<] can't wait to fire it up. I had it preloaded before launch, but the newborn at home had different plans for me this week. This weekend is almost here though. Praying for rain...

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    Really, next to the unending downpour of Call of Duty sequels, Gears of War clones, clunky RPGs, and unpolished indie games, Portal 2 is like a breath of fresh air.

    ^ That comment hits it on the head. I find that Portal 2 was a good game, that is elevated to “great” game status because of how crappy its competition is on the market.

    • Galvnze
    • 9 years ago

    I’m a casual gamer at best, but I really appreciate the “mirror shine” of good games. Kinda of like a guy who never goes out to eat, but when he does, only to the best restaurants (I really like your analogy Cyril). So leading up to the days before Portal 2 was released, my appetizer was playing the first Portal over and over again, just because it has that replay value and I really wanted the storyline to be fresh in my mind (because that’s the case with the developers as they’re making it). Man… I was so glad too. The connections between both games was striking, and the only thing that kept me from playing it through to the ending that morning was body fatigue. Naturally, 8 hours later, I was on it again, unshowered, in yesterday’s clothes, and laughing my arse off the whole day.

    Playing this game was like watching a whole new season of your favorite TV show come on, and you are there watching with thousands of other people. The internet, for the first day or so, produces no links to anything you find in the game, because no one has seen anything yet as they are still playing it with you. Even if you wanted to consult YouTube for a hint (which was out of the question for me), you couldn’t. Now that most everyone has beaten the game, the internet is rife with spoilers and hints, and I’m glad that I’m immune to all of that now, though there are some easter eggs I can’t believe I missed.

    The appeal of Portal 2 for me, is the artistry (writing, design, humor, etc) without all the gory violence. I like that stuff too, but I like not having it as well. And after reading about all the people who are playing the game together in co-op, like dads and their kids, I feel like gaming has been moved forward one more step, if not several. It’s like a Pixar movie that you participate in. Someone with intelligence sat down and thought about what I might like to play, and without ever really talking to me, delivered exactly the kind of experience I was hoping to have as I watched that crappy timer count down to zero Monday night. I could care less about that ARG now, but I see why they did it. In all, I will gladly wait another 3 and 1/2 years again if they will make another one just as good. Hats off to you Valve, for making a great game (and no I’m not buying any hats for $3).

    • mslowe7187
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe I’m taking crazy pills, but I’ve always had a hard time getting into valve’s games. I bought the orange box and got a good ways through both Half Life 2 and Portal, but never finished them. Both are great games, they just never kept my attention. I didn’t really enjoy the Left 4 Dead series either. I figure if I wanna shoot zombies, I’ll play zombies on Black Ops. Portal 2 looks quite good though, I might have to pick it up when it drops in price. Great review Cyril.

    • Jahooba
    • 9 years ago

    This review hit the nail on the head. As you start to play you’re kind of getting ready to be beaten up with some crazy new puzzles, and the first chapter kinda holds your hand.

    But then the game story really ramps up and you can’t wait to see what surprises are around the next corner. The puzzles aren’t hard, but they’re really clever. I remember once or twice thinking: this is impossible, it doesn’t make any sense! And then it will dawn on you a few min later how to do it and you’ll feel pretty dumb you didn’t figure it out immediately.

    There’s such high production value (everything runs, works, and looks beautiful) and charming science fiction story that you’re sad when it ends! It’s the kind of game you wish you could just spend a month in, solving limitless puzzles and reveling in how clever you are that you figured them out.

    I would love for this game to have a DLC section with just tons of levels that would be separate from the single and multiplayer sections. I would buy map bundle packs in a second.

      • Joerdgs
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]I would buy map bundle packs in a second.[/quote<] I don't think you'll ever have to buy map bundles. Once the Source SDK update hits, everyone can make maps for this game. Valve never charged for separate maps in TF2 or Left4Dead, and I don't think they ever will.

    • yogibbear
    • 9 years ago

    Guys you HAVE TO play the co-op part pf this game. It was another 5 hrs for me and some random on the internet that busted through it last night. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Some really interesting additional level to the puzzles.

    Single player experience = amazing, brilliant, unexpected. I thought Valve would fail to make me enjoy Portal 2 as much as the original. But they made it BETTER. It also has one of the coolest one mouse click bits ever.

    Co-op = whole new level of awesomeness relying on your teammate to time their moves with yours to get things done.

    People whinging about the DLC obviously don’t have the game. None of it does anything, half of it can be unlocked by simply playing the game. Stop being such lame cry babies about DLC that no one cares about. It is merely there as an option for the people who want those things and they want them now. I played the co-op through once and finished with a hat a flag and all the emotes. So I have NFI why people are whinging about DLC that you don’t need to buy.

    • pot
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t like the EIGHTY dollars of day one DLC. Is every Valve game going to have hats now? I enjoy the game, I just think that the amount of DLC is overboard and may be a sign of the future for Valve.

      • ericfulmer
      • 9 years ago

      How does this meme remain? It is like going to buy a new car, an award-winning car with great features, performance, styling, etc., then complaining that in the parts department there are hats, license plate frames, key chains, sun screens, steering wheel covers that you have to pay for separately! Yes, it is a silly, revenue-generating scheme, but there is no way it detracts from the quality of the game itself.

        • nanoflower
        • 9 years ago

        I wouldn’t put it quite that way. It’s like buying that brand new award winning car and finding that they’ve installed commercials for add ons to the car on your built-in GPS/DVD player that start up every time you start the car. 🙂

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        excepting they wasted man hours designing hats, when the could have been added more puzzles. vote me down for this, it’s rational, and clearly logical. show your fanboy colors.

      • grantmeaname
      • 9 years ago

      Then don’t buy it.
      Also, it’s $35.
      Also, sweatshopking, making an alt account is against the forum rules.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        well, you’d be surprised that a lot of people share my opinion. I have no alt account, sorry, bro.

        I’d like to also say, that when did it become that having an criticism results in a rabid “then don’t buy it retard!!!!!!11111”. your counters aren’t based on anything. if you want a circle assist group then go to one. nobody says you have to have open dialogue with people with different opinions.

        I’ve said that i liked the game, and had reasonable issues. the double standards and fanboism are my biggest issues, feel free to address, otherwise, take a hike.

      • Goty
      • 9 years ago

      Do the items available to buy AT ALL affect the gameplay? No? Sounds like you should stop crying about it, then.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        that’s an opinion. I don’t understand what you’re thinking posting such a thing, or where your attitude comes from.

          • Goty
          • 9 years ago

          The statement that the items you can buy don’t affect the gameplay is an opinion? Do you need me to lend you a dictionary?

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            Obviously that’s not what i was referring to. You’re aware more than one sentence in your previous post? If you apply my statement to one of them, it makes no sense. If you apply it to the other, it makes sense. which did you think i was referring to? ummm the second one, maybe? saying because it doesn’t affect gameplay doesn’t mean he shouldn’t care. YOU don’t care. maybe I like hats, and think they should have included them.

            • Goty
            • 9 years ago

            If you really think that’s a valid point, then here’s a phrase you should look up while you’re at it: reductio ad absurdum.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            it’s a valid point. I’m familiar with the term. The game was too short, and should have had people making more GAME, and making LESS hats. OR, if they’re going to make hats, then they SHOULD have been in the game for 50 friggin dollars.

            • Goty
            • 9 years ago

            So you’re not upset about the inclusion of the hats, but about the value represented by the content of the game for the requested price. Since, again, you have a CHOICE in the matter in that you can choose to NOT buy the game, you don’t really have a reason to complain. If we lived in the sort of society where you could be forced to buy and play the game against your will, you might have a case. Seeing as we don’t, however….

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            First sentence = correct, but : Once again, you fail to understand what criticism is. Obviously i have a choice to purchase or not. In your mind, reviewing anything is unnecessary, because if you don’t like it, just don’t buy it. But how do you know if you like something or not, if you haven’t bought it? you read a review. but, you’re saying people shouldn’t have negative opinions of products, which means you only want to see positive reviews, which means that there is no standards for anything. Do you understand my point now?

            • Goty
            • 9 years ago

            I have never once said or implied that people should not have negative opinions of products. The only thing I’ve said is that you and pot here are acting like a couple of petulant, spoiled children because *gasp* Valve included [i<]hats[/i<] in the game that have zero affect on gameplay and are completely hidden away in a menu so that you don't even have to look at them again after you figure out what that menu contains. Long story short, you two (and the thousands of idiots on the internet like you) are complaining about something [i<]completely[/i<] inconsequential. You're like a patron at a fine restaurant who complains that your napkin was folded incorrectly. Get over yourself.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            that my friend, is where we disagree. First off, you’re not being very nice. All your insults do is give me the moral high ground. Which, btw, i’m happy to take.
            Second, games are getting SHORTER. all of them. across the board. when some of us ask “why are we paying the same amount, when we’re not playing the same amount?” you call us spoiled whiners. A common argument is that the costs having increased. Maybe. However, i’d likely counter that the source engine, and the portal build of it, have for the most part, already been made, and paid for. They simply didn’t care enough to produce enough of a game, and have enough people like you, who are happy to pay more for less.

            I’m not complaining about the hats, which I’ve said a few times, I’m complaining that the game was so short, and they had people making hats, rather than making levels. You call me an idiot, but you fail at reading comprehension.

            and for the record, you state that people should only make negative points about things that impact gameplay. plenty of reviewers review things that don’t impact gameplay. so you DO imply that people should not criticize products, unless they meet your specific criteria.

            Perhaps, goaty, you should follow your own final advice. I don’t have all the answers, but your superior attitude is not justified.
            “I would rather have an inferiority complex and be pleasantly surprised, than have a superiority complex and be rudely awakened.” -Vanna Bonta

            • torquer
            • 9 years ago

            I agree with SSK here. Every time someone criticizes something popular, someone says “well don’t buy it.”

            So what you are saying when you make that statement is that your enjoyment or support of said product or idea is purely binary – meaning you like it with all your heart, mind, and soul, or you hate it.

            Interestingly, it is entirely possible to like a game but to suggest you would like it more if X, Y, and Z were done different.

            The more logical counter to SSK’s argument would be to question whether the dev time/dollars, had they not gone into fluff DLC, actually translated in more actual game content. Only Valve knows the answer to that.

            I love the Internet.

            • Applecrusher
            • 9 years ago

            [quote<]The more logical counter to SSK's argument would be to question whether the dev time/dollars, had they not gone into fluff DLC, actually translated in more actual game content. Only Valve knows the answer to that.[/quote<] But on that same note it takes little to no time to create hats where creating more levels would take weeks if not months. Would you rather it be delayed and cost more? [quote<]why are we paying the same amount, when we're not playing the same amount?[/quote<] You are not. Portal was much cheaper than most games I have seen recently.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            45$? for a pc game? that’s full price, don’t be silly. there have been more expensive games, but that doesn’t change the fact that this game costs a fair bit.

            For your delayed point, no, i’d rather it cost the same, and provide a reasonable amount of content.

            • Applecrusher
            • 9 years ago

            Here in Australia it was $45 as well. Every other game from a major dev costs $70+ here. I think its a fair drop in price for us.

            Maybe Valve were just nice and gave us the same price as the rest of the world for the first time ever?

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            they seem to have, but it really makes sense. Your dollar is quite high, higher than the USD or CAD. Why would you pay more?

            • Applecrusher
            • 9 years ago

            We still do for every other game. And Petrol. And everything.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            well, that’s not too bad then. over here, in canada, it’s pretty much full price. We typically pay more than our US counterparts, even though our $ is higher too, but i think we get a better deal than you do.

            • torquer
            • 9 years ago

            I know I’m going to get downranked into oblivion for this, but I’m a little concerned that Valve is becoming the Apple of developers. Don’t get me wrong, I like Valve and have been an avid fan of Half-Life since the original came out forever ago. Steam is a great piece of software and I generally won’t buy a game unless its on Steam.

            That being said, Valve has figured out how to milk the whole DLC thing and run the hype machine like nobody’s business. Is that bad? No, not necessarily. This is America and I applaud anyone who can make a buck after tapping into trendiness.

            But, as a Half-Life fan I’m sad to see great games like Half-Life get put on the back burner in favor of DLC-whoring games like TF2, Portal 2, etc. The fluff is nothing but dollar signs and just another good reason to focus less on great traditional games and more on stuff like this that pads their bank account. As stated in the blog, this basically lets Valve make games and content that they want, not necessarily what their hardcore fans want.

            God bless em for being great entrepreneurs and great marketers, but color me disappointed as a fan of some of their oldest IP.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 9 years ago

            [quote<]but I'm a little concerned that Valve is becoming the Apple of developers.[/quote<] You're saying that like it's a bad thing. They both make very high quality product while raking in the cash. Good for them. By the way, nobody is forcing you to buy the DLC and none of it affects the game. I don't understand all the complaining, except that this is the internet and some nerds need drama to fill their boring lives. It isn't a big deal, relax.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 9 years ago

            Also, over one week later and it is still one of my favorite games in ages. I got a PS3 copy early and finished it, registered it on my PC so I’d be ready to play it again when it unlocked there, and was anticipating a unanimous outpouring of good vibes when everyone else finally got a chance to play it.

            I shouldn’t be surprised that there was still a very vocal minority of QQers out there that just [i<]have[/i<] to complain about something that really isn't worth complaining about. Jesus.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            He does go onto to describe why he thinks it might be a bad thing…. was it too long or something?

            You’re still missing the point. I don’t think ANYONE IS CONFUSED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE TO BUY THE DLC. WE’RE AWARE IT’S OPTIONAL. Man. why can’t some people friggin read the posts they reply to? seriously, it’s ridiculous.

            “I don’t understand all the complaining, except that this is the internet and some nerds need drama to fill their boring lives.”
            that’s because you didn’t read the rest of the conversation, and just jumped in adding nothing, but whining (see “and was anticipating a unanimous outpouring of good vibes when everyone else finally got a chance to play it.”, this is the binary response he was talking about.) because some people don’t LOVE portal 2. we both said we liked it, just that it could have used some x, y, or z. I don’t really know what to say to you KAM, except read the rest of the discussion, as your points have already been made.

            • torquer
            • 9 years ago

            I have an iPad and an iPhone 4 (have had several iphones actually), so I’m not an Apple hater. However, Apple has made so much money doing things their way that they are at the point where they can say to their customers “hey, you can’t have this thing you want (Flash is a great example) because we know better and you’ll buy our stuff anyway.”

            Valve seems to be headed down the same path. Sorry guys, no Half Life Ep 3 for you, we need to focus on more fluff DLC to push.

            I realize that in the Internet world of blind fanboyism it can be difficult to accept the non binary logic of being a fan but still levying warranted criticism. Yes, I’ll vote with my wallet by choosing not to buy, and I realize that its a pointless statement because millions will buy the fluff DLC, but I still wish Valve would put a teensy bit more effort into supporting fans of real game content for its big IP franchises.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 9 years ago

            There are over 250 employees at Valve with numerous teams working on different games. The idea that Portal 2 or TF2 DLC is delaying Episode 3 in any way has never seriously crossed my mind. It is a notion I can’t take seriously.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            lucky for valve.

            • torquer
            • 9 years ago

            You have a valid point if you are saying I should not suggest correlation between the two when I can’t prove it. However, as much as I suspect the two are related, you dismiss the notion out of hand. Bottom line is Valve is a business and they’ve found cash cows in fluff DLC. To suggest that they aren’t investing resources in what generates the most revenue is ludicrous.

            HL2 Ep 3 will make money but it likely won’t make nearly the cost/revenue ratio of DLC. I can’t blame them – its a smart fiscal move. But that doesn’t soothe my disappointment.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 9 years ago

            [quote<]To suggest that they aren't investing resources in what generates the most revenue is ludicrous.[/quote<] And to suggest that they don't have the manpower to invest resources into both DLC and Episode 3 without sacrificing is both ludicrous and presumptuous. 🙂

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            well, with portal, either they didn’t have the man power, or they just didn’t care.

            • torquer
            • 9 years ago

            Its all a system of priorities. If Half-Life was a priority, it’d be out by now. Priorities are generally dictated by cost/profit ratio, so its reasonable to assume they are dedicating resources where profits are highest for the least effort – DLC. If Half-Life was equally profitable its reasonable to assume they’d add resources to complete it.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 9 years ago

            I would be much more likely to blame Left 4 Dead 2 development for delaying Episode 3 than some Portal DLC

    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    To me, it felt like the whole game was showing you new stuff, building up to a point where it would combine all these elements and really let you explore the possibilities in the final section. But it ended right before it got to that part, and much of the cool stuff from the trailers was used once or twice and dropped.

    In fact the trailers are the whole problem: they showed cool and interesting solutions, with acrobatics like midair placement, that made me think “Wow I want to get to that part in the game and feel awesome pulling that off”. But Valve never included half the levels shown nor the actually challenging segments. The rooms were also more anti-portal walls than portal walls, feeling like each puzzle was restricting you to a set solution (that may have been true before, but it at least felt like you had freedom).

    Can’t fault the dialogue or story directly, but the story made having good levels hard as some sections were very restricted to fit in with the plot. Particularly when “test chambers” stopped and you were in a generic industrial environment with spread out tiny puzzles that didn’t feel as meaningful as progressing through chambers.

    Games should be about making the player feel amazing after taking the time to learn the basic controls and the level devices. For me Portal 2 was all isolated setpiece tutorials and no “now go explore”.

      • Vasilyfav
      • 9 years ago

      Blame the console players for this. Challenging levels aren’t there because they’d be much harder to do with a controller than a mouse. Also because the vast majority of console players are retarded underage kids, who are cretinized by the american education system and lack problem solving skills, they wouldn’t be able to solve them even with a mouse.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t agree. I think they just didn’t bother.

        • bill94el
        • 9 years ago

        Actually this can be fully blamed on the Eastern Europeans, Canadiens, Mexicans, Asians (playing anything besides an MMO) and any other poor people outside of the US that can’t afford a decent gaming PC. These cretins need to have some personal responsibility and get a real job so they can buy a mouse. Then we can all enjoy less dumbed-down games on a proper PC.

          • Cyril
          • 9 years ago

          FYI…

          [url<]http://www.game-newswire.com/index.php/the-news/232.html[/url<] [quote<] SAN RAMON, Calif. – August 2, 2010 – The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), a nonprofit corporation dedicated to driving the worldwide growth of PC gaming, today unveiled its Horizons Hardware research report, an exclusive research study encompassing major aspects of the PC gaming hardware industry worldwide. . . . The Asia Pacific region continues to be the world’s largest hardware gaming market with approximately 33% market share followed by Western Europe and the United States at 24% and 22% respectively. The rest of the world follows with 21.5%. Growth is expected to continue through 2014, largely driven by the Asia Pacific region.[/quote<]

            • bill94el
            • 9 years ago

            Thanks Cyril. My post was only meant to be an outlandish reply to an asinine assumption.

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            Still… 😉

            • bill94el
            • 9 years ago

            touche…point taken

        • mslowe7187
        • 9 years ago

        oh get off your high horse. Tons of gamers prefer playing some games with a controller. I’ve played Portal with both a controller and KB/M and didn’t think any of the levels were any harder with a controller. I didn’t think the game was that hard at all. IMO it was more clever than difficult. I play games primarily on consoles too! Imagine that, a console gamer who thought Portal 1 was pretty easy. I must be a retarded cretin who lacks problem solving skills! Man I guess I better give my MBA back to my university!

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          portal is not hard. console vs pc has nothing to do with the difficulty. laziness, and a general trend to make games more accessible are the blame.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    [i<]I loved first game[/i<] I loved lamp. Now that that's out of the way, let me first say, I loved Portal 1, and I really want to play Portal 2, but $50 just seems a bit steep at the moment. $30 I'd be all over it. Also, I think this game would've been infinitely better with Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington as the main characters, and Ricky Gervais as GlaDOS.

      • Applecrusher
      • 9 years ago

      Think of it as $5 an hour for the most fun you will have in a game for a long time. Then you get Co-Op on top.
      If you liked the first one then you will not be disappointed.

      • Chun¢
      • 9 years ago

      I got it for 5 bucks off during the pre-sale, but when Activison is asking for $60 bucks for inferior game play that doesn’t last as long, 50 bucks for Portal 2 seems like an even better deal.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      GlaDOS is fine as she is.

        • ClickClick5
        • 9 years ago

        Potatoes included.

      • phez
      • 9 years ago

      I agree. Portal 2 is a great game, no doubt. But it has zero replayability.

        • Applecrusher
        • 9 years ago

        I am half way though it a second time with dev commentary.

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