Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SCIENCE Strikes Again!!!

Hey all you Authentically Geeky pals and gals, Big G here,

I am certainly not going to be the only person blogging about this particular subject in the next few weeks, in fact I'm sure the internet is about to be rife with enough fan-boy drool to fill an Olympic pool; but I would feel remiss if I did not celebrate the arrival of the video game that I have been fantasizing about for almost a year now since I first hear of its development. The game I speak of is the most highly-anticipated Portal 2 from Valve Studios.

For anyone who may not know, Portal is a game that came packaged with the infamous "Orange Box", a collection of games from the Valve studio that included what most of us bought it for, all of the Half-Life video game franchise including Team Fortress and TF2.

Despite buying the pack for other games, all gamers love a free gift and most of us took some time to look into this unassuming little video game; and were instantly and wonderfully thankful that they did.

Portal is an instantly immersive experience. It immediately grabs your attention and draws you into the game by having the game play start with a slow fade into a first-person perspective as if you had just woken up, but found yourself in a room you don't recognize. Then it hits the ground running, telling you that you're part of a testing group, that you must make your way through several rooms as best you can, and that the test has already begun. This immersive introductory technique is favoured by Valve and has been used in all of their story based games right from their very first game, Half-Life; and it is only one of the many reasons why Portal is instantly engrossing.

Portal is a weird game. The writing is subtle, sarcastic, and hilarious; delivered by an omnipotent voice from the sky that watches your testing and constantly keeps you guessing with half-truths and outright deception. Yet despite a friendly yet malevolent narrator, there are no enemies. It's just you and the puzzle slowly coming undone (for now...)

As you play through the early levels you assemble a gun that shoots portals. One trigger makes a blue door, the other trigger makes an orange door. Place the two doors where ever you like and you can walk through one and instantly come through the other. What's more, momentum is preserved through the doorway, so if you jump off a cliff and land in the blue portal, you will come rocketing out of the orange portal. The possibilities for game play are nearly infinite.

Yet in another weird twist, the game play of Portal was by industry standards pretty low; most players play through the game in around 6-10 hours in the first try; some as low as 2 hours! This compares to an average roll-playing game with 60-80 hours of game play!! Or the possibilities of online play which could concieveably extend game play indefinitely, as seems the case with World of Warcraft!!!

But this too was part of the charm of Portal. It felt refreshing to make it through a game quickly, in about the same time it takes you to watch a movie. Portal didn't feel like it stole part of your life, in fact the opposite, it's entirely unique game-play , intelligent writing, and quick yet rewarding puzzle based game play made it unique in an industry of cohorts eternally attempting to redefine the "shoot bad-guy" concept.

And now here comes Portal 2...and I'm so excited, that I just can't hide it. The Portal 2 blog
and the Portal 2 Website both have up to date information about the sequel. This game will not only be approximately four times as long as the first, but will also feature a new co-operative 2 player mode, and that it will be completely cross-platform through Steam, meaning a PS3 user can play with a PC or a Mac user, etc. And all I can say is yeah, F$%K YEAH!!!

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