Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Then There Will Be Cake, and Other Things I Learned From My New Favorite Game of All Time

Started playing PORTAL the other day, on this XBOX 360 thing I keep in my house. Went into it totally blind, not knowing a thing about it. Now I can’t stop playing it, thinking about it, dreaming about it. Haven’t had a game get this far into my head since the early days of TETRIS, when I played 8-hour day after 8-hour day and I’m not kidding about that.

PORTAL only takes a few hours to finish, but I haven’t had such a thrill actually solving something in so, so long. Most discs I stick into the Wii or 360 offer a lot of play, but not much game. They don’t ask much of you. This is different.

Here, I’m a chick in an orange jumpsuit, and wake up in a room with some computerized voice talking about the test environment, and how I’ll get cake if I do well. I have to get out of the room, and into the next, and into the next, and so on, using only the objects inside and a special gun that creates these portals leading into other parts of the room. (Hard to explain, so maybe watch the video.) The last room I solved took so much out of me I started sweating, and then stood up and cheered for myself when I solved it.

Also, it’s funny.

Apparently there’s a kind of cult around PORTAL, too, but as much as I love it, I’m not getting fuzzy weighted companion cubes for my car mirror. I’m just not.