By Shamus Posted Saturday Jul 22, 2006

Filed under: Game Reviews 16 comments

Via Cineris I find this gem:

It’s a new game from Valve. Judging from the movie, it seems very much like Half-Life in style and concept, but there are some great new ideas in here as well. This isn’t just fighting monsters with better bump-mapping using weapons with fancier particle effects. This is a real gameplay innovation. The ability to carry around a portable hole is nothing new: Just ask Wile E. Coyote or The Beatles. But the ability to create two holes in any arbitrary surfaces at any orientation that will then become seamlessly linked is something that’s never been explored in a videogame. What happens if I put a hole in the floor and one in the wall? If I jump into the hole in the floor I’ll be falling feet-first through the hole. After I pass through I’ll be traveling sideways through the air, coming out of the wall. The ability to create holes on the floor and ceilings leads to placing one above the other and falling forever. You can toss objects through these holes to manipulate the world and circumvent obstacles.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Something new for a change.


Since the game is from Valve, it will require Steam., their proprietary virus content delivery system. I have made it clear in the past that I am not a fan of Steam.

Dear Valve: I have some money right here. I would like to buy your game, but I want nothing to do with Steam. I’m not a pirate, I’m just a customer who is really interested in your product. Is there any way I can get the game without Steam? No?

Then piss off. I care about my computer more than I care about your company or your games.



From The Archives:

16 thoughts on “Portals

  1. HC says:

    It’s based on a student game called Narbacular Drop, which is free to download – assuming their server is still up when you try to do so. Lately it’s been going down on a daily basis for bandwidth overage, but they’re on a daily plan, so the morning is usually good.


  2. Nathan H. says:

    I want to play that game so badly… because I know it will hurt me. It will give me migraines. It will punch me in the kidneys just because it can. Hell, some of the example levels they show will give me a fatal brain hemorrhage. And I want that hemorrhage so bad.

  3. The idea that you can’t even invoke the game, running locally, without a network connection, is completely preposterous.

    The only thing that will make Valve see reason is a drop in sales, so boycott away!

  4. Nathan H. says:

    You can play Steam games locally, without network, at least as of a six months ago or so (last time I played a Valve game.) You need a network connection to “authenticate” any new games you buy, but after you log in that once, you can select “play offline” and never need to connect until you want to buy a new game, or patch an old one.

    Now, don’t get me wrong… I stopped using Steam because I hated it. But it’s not 100% evil… just 45% or so.

  5. Jono says:

    Just frikkin’ wow. When can I play it?!?

    I’ve always wanted the chance to create extradimensional holes like that. And it looks like they did a really good job with the physics involved.

  6. Church says:

    Y’know, Portal is coming out for the xbox360. You can have all of the fun of playing the game with none of that Steam nonsense. Unless whatever supernatural being that created the universe hates us.

  7. Johan says:

    “If at first you don’t suceed, you fail”

    I’m glad video game companies are also able to create games with a little humor, me likey.

  8. Kizer says:

    A bit old now, but if you’re interested you can play a flash version of Portal at nearly any flash game site, such as http://www.armorgames.com It’s not the same game, but it’s still fun and features a lot of the same innovative gameplay.

  9. Caution: Extremely Hot says:

    I am curious about this. What if you put your “way out” on th e ceiling and your “way in” on the floor directly below? Will you be falling forever in one room?

  10. Shamus says:

    Caution: Yes. In fact, there are puzzles that require you to do this to gain speed, and then (while arcing through the air) put the exit portal someplace else (like a wall, thus rocketing you to a previously unreachable place.

  11. mixmastermind says:

    Man, there is some hostility towards Steam in this article.
    Angry, angry stuff.

  12. Steve says:

    Best. Game. Ever. I had so much fun with this game and movie was hilarious. Glados was a great villian but I gotta say best joke was a little office with a projecter saying “Black Mesa! Dollars and SENSE!” :D.

  13. rdemetri says:

    I agree with you Shamus (about Steam) I did, however, bite the bullet and instalkl steam for F:NV … mostly because I didn’t know until right before I got the game that it was Steam-mandatory… shame on them…

    Anyway… Here is hoping that Skyrim does not involve Steam. Maybe Bethesda will not be like Obsidion.

  14. Jjkaybomb says:

    Man, it is wiiieeerrrd to read this post. Seeing the incomplete version of Portal is one thing, but you railing on Steam? After all the even more horrible DRM thats popped up in the future that you rag on? Bizzare…

    1. M says:

      I know right? Also, Portal/Portal 2 Spoiler Warning would be the BEST.

  15. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I just stumbled on this article and hindsight is hilarious. Everything from Shamus blasting Steam (I’m sure it had it coming back then) when he now uses it as part of a favorable comparison of Valve to EA, all the way to one of the most recent comments “Anyway… Here is hoping that Skyrim does not involve Steam. Maybe Bethesda will not be like Obsidian.”

    I wonder if he feels that way about Skyrim on Steam now given that Steam Workshop has made modded Skyrim into an unprecedented and broadly accessible experience (even if I still find myself using Nexus).

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