Portal

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"Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, 'Well, at least I'm not dead. In a minute somebody is going to bang on the lid, and tell me to come out.'" - Rosencrantz
Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

There are spoilers ahead. Let me make this excruciatingly clear. The desire to talk about something you love is often overwhelming. There's that feeling that you need to share, that somehow, you need to preach the good news, like a first-century disciple who has witnessed miracles first hand. Most of the time, this is harmless well meaning propaganda. But there are times when the mere act of sharing is in and of itself too much information. Where saying too much will destroy the very experience one wants to proselytize.

Portal is such an experience. Go play it. When you're done, come back and read the rest. There are spoilers ahead.

There, now that that's over with, here's the thing.

Portal is the best game I've played this year. It may be the best game I've played in the last few years. I'll go so far as to say I'm looking at the release schedule and I'm not sure I see what's going to kick it off the top of the list for the coveted Julian Murdoch Game-of-the-Year award. (Hint: I can be bought. With cake.)

I say this with unmitigated respect for Ken Levine, and his brilliant piece of storytelling, Bioshock. I'm such a slavering fan of Bioshock that even my daughter's elementary school teachers are tired of hearing about it, and they don't even own a TV much less an Xbox 360. For nearly a year I have sung the praises of what Levine was trying to accomplish, and when the game delivered – and it did – I felt a vindication which caused me to evangelize the cult of rapture with the verve of a rabid monkey faced with a wall of sun-ripened bananas.

But having my expectations met is a very different experience than the feeling of discovering greatness with no expectations whatsoever. There have been very few experiences like this in my life.

Off the coast of Kona, Hawaii, while on a "pretty little fish" dive that was as routine as dirt, my wife and I were surrounded by a pod of two dozen dolphins. They played with us until we ran out of air. Then a humpback whale and calf swam by not 20 feet from us.

That's greatness without expectation

Driving across country after college, I parked half a mile off the freeway on a random dirt road to catch a few hours sleep. I woke to a sunrise over a thousand acres of windblown wheat, the sunlight reflecting off the dew, turning the world into a ground-trapped net of stars, shining brighter than any canopy of heaven.

That's greatness without expectation

And then there's Portal.

It may seem absurd to compare a three hour puzzle game with these images and shadows of divine things, but what they share in common is uncommon, and worth dwelling on.

I had no expectations of Portal. I barely had awareness of its existence, and I certainly would not have gone out of my way to buy it. My foreknowledge of the game was that it was "a puzzle game with the same gimmick that made Prey mildly entertaining." I had read virtually nothing about the game. I knew that it had been some sort of student project or something. (It is, in fact, the successor to "Narbacular Drop," a project launched by a group of students at DigiPen. Valve snatched up the team and clearly their brilliance).

Postmodern Deconstructionism

My experience on launching Portal for the first time is casual – the Team Fortress 2 server is full, my PSP is all the way across the room, my DS needs to be charged. The first few levels are amusing. The cleanliness of the art, the elegance of the construction, the crispness of the sound design, and the refinement of the controls are all enough to make it a pleasurable exploration of a cute one-trick-pony idea. By the third level, the gentle voice of GLadOS, the AI who is training me like so many disembodied drill sergeants have trained me before – is starting to be genuinely funny in a creepy Douglas Adams way.

At chamber 5 I realize she's more than programmatic, when she intones "As part of required test protocol, we will stop enhancing the truth in 3"…2"…" By now she's clearly insinuated that she's capable of lying, and there is something wrong with her - several times now she's had a verbal hiccup (in this case, fizzing out before the "... 1" but in retrospect it started on the opening screen of the game when the overhead lightbulb exploded.

At chamber 7 I get the first opportunity to get close to the other side of the facility - the rusty, vibrating orange mess that is back stage. In this case, it's just a view under the stairs.

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By chamber 8, the puzzles are now challenging enough and different enough (due to the introduction of vector and timing requirements) that the momentum of the game is established; I know I'm not going to be playing TF2 tonight. It's also here in the mid-levels that I have the first glimpse that there is something more to the game than just solving puzzles. The voice of GLaDOS starts taking on troubling overtones.

"Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official testing record, followed by death."

Chamber 15 is when the cake is first introduced. Until this point, GLadOS has been using nothing but the stick - threats of imminent doom, the notion that I will be "missed" after testing. But now, there will be cake at the conclusion of my journey.

Chamber 16 introduces the idea that it is androids who are tested in the facility, and thus, perhaps my identity is in question. It's also the first time I have any inkling that escape is possible. After my initial encounter with the first truly malevolent force - the sentries - I find the rats nest - a hideout for rogue androids.

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/RatHole.thumbnail.jpg) IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/RatSupplies.thumbnail.jpg)

And yet, what exactly am I - milk and beans? The toilet in the starting room? Clearly I'm some kind of human. Perhaps I'm an android in the Phillip K. Dick sense of the word - an engineered being so close to human as to be nearly indistinguishable. Or maybe that's just another mistake, and I'm nothing but another disposable human pawn caught in an android's wasteland.

Later in chamber 16 I see signs of sabotage - the telltale handprint of a runner and a malfunctioning box delivery chute. But then comes the great unveiling.

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/androidhell.jpg)

The story first generates an emotional response in chamber 17, with the introduction of the companion cube. While the puzzle itself is straightforward, the introduction of a physical object that I own creates pathos – goofstupid pathos, but pathos nonetheless.

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The game blossoms. At the point of connection with the cube, GLadOS informs me that "the symptoms most commonly produced by Enrichment Center testing are superstition, perceiving inanimate objects as alive, and hallucinations."

I suspect, with sadness, that some number of players, oblivious to the behind the scenes story, will simply play through to the end, allowing the cube, and then themselves to be incinerated, walking away thinking the game was cute, but no big deal. But as someone now tuned to the behind-the-scenes, I discover the Companion Cube chapel; easily the games weirdest, funniest, and yes, emotional moment. This space, besides denying the cake, worships the cube. The story of the chapel is of a longing for connection. The previous denizen clearly had only one emotional connection during their (one suspects short) existence. That this was the cube, an inanimate object, given by the tormenting GLadOS, The mis-en-scene is simply perfect. The pictures of real people with imposed cube-heads, the pleading of "why why why," the cherubic winged cubes – these all speak to the pain of a very real soul, while at the same time being ridiculous and funny and creepy all at once.

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/CubeTemple.thumbnail.jpg)

With this pathos established, I'm then forced to destroy my companion cube. – the first act of player-directed violence in the game.

On entering chamber 18, I'm reminded again that I will be given cake, but the glitch in GLadOS informs me that I will be baked. And then there will be cake. I immediately discover another nest, this one two stories tall, and with a door. Alas, a locked door, but now there is a sense that escape might be possible. This introduction of an actual door marks the turning point in the game. Getting OUT now becomes more interesting than moving forward, and the two challenging puzzles that follow feel more like escapes than solutions.

The games critical moment – the crux – comes when I head for destruction into the incinerator after the next chamber. Acting to save myself, avoiding the flames, signals the transformation or Portal from puzzle to Logan's Run. In my new roll as runner, I am increasingly reminded that I am not alone – previous runners have left signs, petroglyphs and overt directions for me every few minutes. And yet I never see a single piece of evidence that another person, android or even monster exists. No bodies, no body parts. Nothing but the mechanical apparatus of GLadOS.

During the behind the scenes run – fully the second half of the game – I'm taken through the supporting environments that are implied by the sterile testing spaces of the first half: cube delivery chutes, the back sides of piston rooms, power stations. The portal gun itself is required perfectly, leveraging all of the critical skills taught during the first half lab experience: fine targeting, portal flinging, timed shots and redirection. This keeps the gameplay pulling the story along, and vice-versa. It's a critical balance between fun and story that seems obvious in retrospect, but is all too often where a game completely fails.

The story that pulls the game along is subtle. Despite the implied presence, the facility is entirely empty. Every homage-to-Xbox computer is unplugged, yet the screens throb with endlessly displayed cake recipes. The only evidence of my predecessors is the occasional clipboard with a diagram of a previous test subject with "failed" stamped across it. Perhaps most importantly from a Half Life canon perspective, there are two opportunities to view the Aperture Science business plan, and their contracting rivalry with Black Mesa (the history of the firm is further expanded at the off-site Aperture Sciences website).

Eventually, I emerge into the room containing GLadOS herself, and she reveals herself to be a machine – perhaps just like me. The story told in the 5 minutes I remain in her demesne is quite simple – that she desires to kill me and that she has most likely killed everyone else in the facility. But she is, as she has been throughout the journey – disembodied, insane and ultimately helpless. She lacks any way of projecting herself into the physical world beyond the limited resources of the testing system.

So she resorts to insults and manipulation, going so far as to insist that I'm adopted.

The destruction of GLaDOS mimics the destruction of my Companion Cube. Here at the end of the game, I realize that I am alone, as much as GLadOS is alone. Throughout the journey, there have only been two actors: myself and GLadOS. The facility is abandoned (perhaps she gassed them all, or perhaps its connected to the imminent destruction of City 17? But then where are the bodies?) I have already killed my only companion. So my act of self-protection is the destruction of the only other soul I have ever known, to pursue the dream of the runner.

And that dream does come true after GLadOS implodes, thrusting me into the blue sky and clouds of the outside world.

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/outside.thumbnail.jpg)

But I'm still fundamentally alone. Even when there turns out to be cake in the end. And my companion cube.

If all of this close reading sounds absurd, it's because it is. The game is ultimately literature of the absurd, as clearly as Kafka's "Metamorphosis" or Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions" or perhaps most directly Tom Stoppard & Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." Yes, it's funny – capped off by the fabulous song from Jonathan Coulton. But funny doesn't mean light, or stupid, or indeed unimportant.

Portal is an object lesson in interactive storytelling. We in the media are so fond of shaking our heads, scratching our beards and looking for the "art" in videogames. Well it's time for us all to shut the hell up. This is it. It's in this finely crafted, lovingly rendered piece of short-story literature.

Honestly, I'd be surprised if the authors themselves see it as the accomplishment it is. It's a simple set of mechanics, a few pages of sound-booth dialog, a handful of textures and repetitive level designs.

But then, a novel is only made up of 26 letters, black ink and white paper. And most artists of lasting brilliance don't recognize the importance of their own work. And how many now-revered musicians and painters died unknown and broke?

Portal is a seminal work of storytelling. Yes, we as gamers are so starved for intelligence and subtlety that we grasp at the thinnest straws of intelligent storytelling, but that doesn't matter.

Portal is the real deal.

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Comments

Give rabbit a break, he's old and his memory isn't working well.

Portal is the first time in a long time that I've finished the game, a smile on my face, feeling greater for the experience of playing it.

Another option for papercraft cube (this one placed lovingly on my desk in front of me):
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=430

hungSolo wrote:

...what is essentially a slick tech demo...

I've seen this comment in a few places and I don't understand. Why are some people calling this a tech demo? Simply because it's short? It's a well crafted story told in a minimum amount of time. We don't call written short stories demos for a full blown novel. To me, calling it a tech demo takes away from Valve's accomplishment. When Valve released The Lost Coast, that was definitely a tech demo because of the new HDR effects, commentary system, and high res textures. It was created to show off these new Source features. Portal, as short as it is, is a full blown game in my eyes.

beanman101283 wrote:
hungSolo wrote:

...what is essentially a slick tech demo...

I've seen this comment in a few places and I don't understand. Why are some people calling this a tech demo? Simply because it's short? It's a well crafted story told in a minimum amount of time. We don't call written short stories demos for a full blown novel. To me, calling it a tech demo takes away from Valve's accomplishment. When Valve released The Lost Coast, that was definitely a tech demo because of the new HDR effects, commentary system, and high res textures. It was created to show off these new Source features. Portal, as short as it is, is a full blown game in my eyes.

Go read the other Portal thread or the developer commentaries in the game.

Maybe the phrase "tech demo" has some unintended malicious connotation. The point was, I think, to introduce players to this game mechanic in a tidy package. In another team's hands, it might very well have been just another tech demo, but we were lucky enough to get something much better.

beanman101283 wrote:
hungSolo wrote:

...what is essentially a slick tech demo...

I've seen this comment in a few places and I don't understand. Why are some people calling this a tech demo? Simply because it's short? It's a well crafted story told in a minimum amount of time. We don't call written short stories demos for a full blown novel. To me, calling it a tech demo takes away from Valve's accomplishment. When Valve released The Lost Coast, that was definitely a tech demo because of the new HDR effects, commentary system, and high res textures. It was created to show off these new Source features. Portal, as short as it is, is a full blown game in my eyes.

Am I the only person who was completely uninterested until level 19? I played through wondering what everyone was raving about thinking, "You guys are high."

Yes, the last level made it all, but had I not had the Goodjer Enabler Squad backing me up, I might not have ever made it to there. Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, or the bulk of the humor escaped me, but I think it's a fun game, but it's not game of the year material.

After I incinerated my companion cube the voice told me I destroyed my cube in record time, and my quick decision to do so set me apart from other testers, who apparently took more grief in the inevitable destruction of their cube by delaying the process.

After I heard that I got really upset with myself. I was actually disappointed I didn't take longer to contemplate the fate of my cube. I did in fact throw it in the incinerator in a matter of seconds, as I was eager to move forward and see the next level. I didn't stop to think I would be losing my cube forever. Later in the game the loss of it hit me pretty hard. Especially when I was toiling away in the escape....

Yeah a game made me feel that way, that's pretty special.

It's a perfect dark comedy, or a finely pared down tragedy, any way you want to slice it "Portal" is tremendous.

Rabbit is clearly drinking the orange-colored kool-aid.

Oh, yeah! Rabbit, what rating do you give Portal?

souldaddy wrote:

Rabbit is clearly drinking the orange-colored kool-aid.

... says the man with the Master Chief avatar

hungSolo wrote:
souldaddy wrote:

Rabbit is clearly drinking the orange-colored kool-aid.

... says the man with the Master Chief avatar ;)

Oh, Souldaddy drinks the kool-aid too. He just drinks the game fuel, olive drab colored kind.

Bourbon wrote:

After I incinerated my companion cube the voice told me I destroyed my cube in record time, and my quick decision to do so set me apart from other testers, who apparently took more grief in the inevitable destruction of their cube by delaying the process.

After I heard that I got really upset with myself. I was actually disappointed I didn't take longer to contemplate the fate of my cube. I did in fact throw it in the incinerator in a matter of seconds, as I was eager to move forward and see the next level. I didn't stop to think I would be losing my cube forever. Later in the game the loss of it hit me pretty hard. Especially when I was toiling away in the escape....

Yeah a game made me feel that way, that's pretty special.

It's a perfect dark comedy, or a finely pared down tragedy, any way you want to slice it "Portal" is tremendous.

A little secret to make you feel better (and make you hate GlaDOS even more). No matter how long it takes you to decide to incinerate your companion cube, GlaDOS still tells you that you did it the fastest out of all of her test subjects. My second time through I deliberately waited 15 minutes to incinerate my CC and she still congratulated me. Depending on your feelings towards the game, you may believe that she only has one message due to Valve not thinking someone would wait that long, but I prefer to think they intended GlaDOS to say such a hurtful thing no matter what because she enjoys making you feel terrible about what she forced you to do. Since she has no way to directly harm you, I think Valve may have created the first truly Passive-Agressive Boss in video game history :).

That's how I read it too, Gamerotaku. She pulls stuff like that on you all the way through the game.

I love this game. I expected to, though. I play a lot of puzzle games, so this one isn't probably the revelation for me that it is to some of you who only play other genres. But it's one of the best out there, IMHO, just for pure gaming enjoyment. Not just the "playing" of the game, but playing with it like a toy. I spent a signifigant amount of time setting up Escherian settings like putting an exit on the ceiling and an entrance on the floor right below it and stepping in so you can fall infinitely like one of those places when they put aim mirrors at each other to reflect their reflections back at each other. Or aiming one of each into a corner so you can watch yourself do laps a la Prey is fun, too.

I'm not quite done yet, so I'll defer discussing the ending to you guys while trying to avoid more spoilers.

Nice write up Rabbit, with you 100%. Portal was something of a revelation, didn't expect much from it, seeing as HL2 and TF2 were such 'big games' in the orange box already. After playing it, and running around the office and asking other people if they were 'still alive' and finding they felt the same way about it, we sat down and scribbled a missive to Gabe at Valve thanking him for the game - not something I'd ever have expected a group of grizzled industry vets to ever do.

i really enjoy reading rabbit's perspective's particular this one. he has a special power to illuminate the less noticeable if not most unique and defining elements of gaming.

I'm on the fence regarding integrating the portal tech into the HL standard universe. On one hand I could see them doing a full level with it similar to the whacked out GravGun levels in HL2/HL2E1 but on the other I could see it being a real gameplay changer and possible breaker. That said, I would like to be able to run with my portal gun.

Before I dive back into Ep2, I must add my praise to the heap. When the Orange Box unlocked, I only had about an hour to play, so I started with half an hour of Ep 2, and then tried a half hour of Portal. I'm loving Ep2 in the same way I've loved every installment of HL, but I finished Portal before returning to Ep2. And I want to play it again. I have no idea how this plain, stark, simple game got its hooks into me, but when the non-stationary platform was whisking me toward the fiery "party" I felt a panic like I haven't in a long time. Oh no! What do I do now! This can't be how it ends! (Knowing full well that this ending was set up by the entire game to that point, made the panic all the more palpable.) And then I remembered the portal gun, and the game really took off.

The whole thing gives me the same vibe I get watching The Day the Earth Stood Still and contemplating the implications of a benevolent robot that is capable of destroying worlds. All of Portal could have been a simulation by GladOS. The signs of life could have been placed. The weighted companion cube could have been just like any other weighted cube. But it wasn't really... was it?

Gordon Freeman has long been the poster boy for allowing players to project their psyche into a game world. But I think this little rorschach of a game is going to pass into the annals of legend right alongside its franchise brother.

It's good for all of us, except those who are dead...

Re: Android - I'm not that dunderheaded, I do realize the connection to the comments GLaDOS makes about the level in question. But the comments make me as the player question my identity at that point. And of course, the "live fire" stuff continues on up until the end, no?

I'll also admit it wasn't until the SECOND run through that I made the direct connection between the opening/closing android comments on that level.

Gameraotaku wrote:

A little secret to make you feel better (and make you hate GlaDOS even more). No matter how long it takes you to decide to incinerate your companion cube, GlaDOS still tells you that you did it the fastest out of all of her test subjects. My second time through I deliberately waited 15 minutes to incinerate my CC and she still congratulated me. Depending on your feelings towards the game, you may believe that she only has one message due to Valve not thinking someone would wait that long, but I prefer to think they intended GlaDOS to say such a hurtful thing no matter what because she enjoys making you feel terrible about what she forced you to do. Since she has no way to directly harm you, I think Valve may have created the first truly Passive-Agressive Boss in video game history :).

So, did you really think you'd get a different response after waiting 15 minutes? That says a lot about how well this game works on several levels simultaneously. As a video game, it's quite likely that you could get a new response, it doesn't take much work on Valve's part and makes it that much more immersive. Personally, by that point I was starting to see it as an interactive comedy sketch. GLaDOS's comment is a great punch line and you never want ambiguity in your punch lines, so the possibility of an alternate outcome never occurred to me. On the other hand, that means I'd closed my mind off to the wonderful possibilities of a multiple-path video game. Could be an effect of the sterile, paranoid atmosphere of the previous rooms.

Well, the first time I completed the Companion Cube level, despite an uncomfortable feeling about it, I euthanized my CC within about 30 seconds. The second time I went through the game I was specifically trying to listen closely to everything GlaDOS was telling me. She has about 3 or 4 different lines she says if you wait long enough to incinerate the CC ("3 out of 4 Scientists think the CC wont feel MUCH pain when it is incinerated", "If the CC could talk, which it CAN'T, it would tell me to go on without it", etc). I was hoping she would mention that I took a long time, to dispel the guilt I had over killing the CC so quick the first time. I was also kind of curious to see if I waited long enough if the CC would actually say something :).

Gameraotaku wrote:

Well, the first time I completed the Companion Cube level, despite an uncomfortable feeling about it, I euthanized my CC within about 30 seconds. The second time I went through the game I was specifically trying to listen closely to everything GlaDOS was telling me. She has about 3 or 4 different lines she says if you wait long enough to incinerate the CC ("3 out of 4 Scientists think the CC wont feel MUCH pain when it is incinerated", "If the CC could talk, which it CAN'T, it would tell me to go on without it", etc). I was hoping she would mention that I took a long time, to dispel the guilt I had over killing the CC so quick the first time. I was also kind of curious to see if I waited long enough if the CC would actually say something :).

It would've arguably been an (even) better game if they'd rewarded your behavior. The commentary doesn't say much at that point, just that they're teaching you how to use an incenerator and heightening the emotional stakes a bit.

And man, if the CC actually talked after a half hour or something, it'd be the best easter egg ever.

Excellent review, and I just finished the game myself. I loved it.. incredibly refreshing. A non-combatant FPS puzzle game with a twist and a subtle sense of humour. Can't beat it.

rabbit wrote:

Re: Android - I'm not that dunderheaded, I do realize the connection to the comments GLaDOS makes about the level in question. But the comments make me as the player question my identity at that point. And of course, the "live fire" stuff continues on up until the end, no?

I started playing Portal by putting the controller in my wife's hands. She got really good at it over the first few levels, in fact she was able to fling herself quite well in the first ten levels or so. Her comment to me though was why can't they make the game in the third person, and I just said that all of their games have been this way... always.

Later that night, after she got bored, I finished the game by myself in a frenzy and I'm a little disappointed that I did... No matter.

I'm sure that I'm not the only person that made the effort to place a few portals in a corner and admire my character model a bit. What struck me is the fact that there is nowhere to see your reflection in the game, no where at all. So many shiny surfaces, but no reflection there. The only way to see yourself is from the side, or running into the distance. What an existentialist trip to chase your own image throughout the entire game, never knowing even who "you" are. I'm not too much of a cynic to think that this must have been purposeful.

I remembered later in the game that one of the little intelligences asked me what was wrong with my legs. What was wrong with my legs? I have these little metal shock-absorbers, I jump funny, and I'm always on point with my toes. Am I a re-purposed cripple?

Also, what magic in making the game a closed loop. This prevents the damaging technology of this "weapon" from getting out into the rest of the HL universe.

TheWanderer wrote:

What an existentialist trip to chase your own image throughout the entire game, never knowing even who "you" are. I'm not too much of a cynic to think that this must have been purposeful.

Dude. Score.

Also: Has anyone actually left the game open in front of the companion cube incinerator for hours to see what might happen?

I spent a few brief minute making sure that there is actually INDEED no way to keep the cube, open the door, and abscond with the cube without having to incinerate it. I thought that maybe GLaDOS was egging me on to destroy it, similarly to how it was taunting me about the unsolvable level earlier.

Hemidal wrote:

Am I the only person who was completely uninterested until level 19?

Yes, you are.

Hemidal wrote:

I played through wondering what everyone was raving about thinking, "You guys are high."

I read this sentence wondering if you had a soul.

Hemidal wrote:

Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, or the bulk of the humor escaped me, but I think it's a fun game, but it's not game of the year material.

Blasphemer. When the gaming rapture happens and Gabe Newell brings the faithful to paradise and the non-believers to hell, you will be....
missed.

I loved this game. I've played through it 3 times now, trying to get all the achievement. I also played through once with the commentary on (you can't unlock and achievements in commentary mode).

I bought the Orange box for Team Fortress 2, but barely have 3 hours played of that. Portal is just too good.

For me the subtlety of the story was handled beautifully. This is the best game I've played since Half Life 2.

It's extremely good. I'm completely burnt out on shooters, and enjoyed Episode 2 but just played it in Simple difficulty and have no plans to do it again on higher setting. Portal was a breath of fresh air. Though the puzzles were not Einstein-level physics conundrums, you did have to stop and think for a moment, and I really enjoyed the general atmosphere and goofy, yet creepy humor.

As for the protagonist, you can see yourself by placing the portals and *she* seems to be an east-asian-looking young woman with some sort of shock-dampers attached to the sides of her lower legs. Also, when you get shot by the sentry guns you apparently bleed something coal-black, and all the handprints of the other escapees are all black. One voiceover by GladOS claims that subject will be very glad about your, i.e. success. I assumed that the protagonist is a cybernetically and/or genetically enhanced human.

McChuck wrote:

/.

Oh noes! Man the battlestations! The server is under attack! I might have to focus on work this morning!