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Portal (video game)

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Modèle:Otheruse Modèle:Infobox VG Portal is a single-player first-person action/puzzle video game developed by Valve. The game was released in a bundle package known as The Orange Box for PC and Xbox 360 on October 10 2007, and for the PlayStation 3 on December 112007. The Windows version of the game is also available for download separately through Steam.<ref name="steam" />

The game consists primarily of a series of puzzles which must be solved by teleporting the player's character and other simple objects using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (the "portal gun"). The goal of each puzzle is to reach an exit point. The "portal gun" and the unusual physics it creates are the emphasis of this game.



A typical Portal level with both of the player's colored portals opened. The Weighted Companion Cube can also be seen.

In Portal, the player character is tasked to navigate through a series of rooms using the "portal gun" (Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device 04), a unit that can create an intra-spatial portal between flat planes; however, not all surfaces are able to accommodate a portal, and moving surfaces will automatically close any portal existing on them. The portal gun creates portal ends; although two colors of portal ends, orange and blue, can be created, neither is specifically an entrance or exit. Only two portal ends, one of each color, can be created at any time, and if subsequent portal ends are created, the previously created portal of the same color is closed. The portal gun is also used to pick up objects, though it can only throw objects a short distance (affected by the player's momentum). These objects ("Aperture Science Weighted Storage Cubes" or a "Weighted Companion Cube") can be used to depress large buttons to open doors or activate platforms, but barriers (known as "Material Emancipation Grills" or "Fizzlers") at the end of each test chamber or within certain test chambers prevent the player character from carrying such objects beyond these barriers. Passage through these fields also closes any open portals.

The portals create a visual and physical connection between two different locations in 3D space. Portal ends are restricted to planar surfaces, but if the portal ends are on nonparallel planes, bizarre twists in geometry and gravity can occur as the player character is immediately reoriented to be upright with respect to gravity after leaving a portal end.

Image:Portal momentum demo.png
An ideogram diagram representing how momentum through portals work ("flinging"), taken from the trailer for Portal. By jumping into the lower portal below, the character would be launched out of the upper portal and onto the higher platform.

An important aspect of the game's physics is "momentum redirection".<ref name="commentary" /> Objects retain their speed as they pass through the portals but their direction will be altered depending on the orientation of the exit portal. This allows the player character to launch objects, or even herself, over great distances, both vertically and horizontally, a maneuver referred to as "flinging" by Valve.<ref name="commentary" /> As GLaDOS comically puts it, "Speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out."

Although the player character is equipped with mechanized heel springs to prevent damage from falling,<ref name="commentary" /> she can be killed by various other hazards in the test chambers, such as turret guns and toxic water. She can also be damaged by objects falling through portals, and by series of "crushers" that appear in maintenance levels. Unlike most first person shooters, there is no set amount of health; suffering enough damage in a short time frame will kill the player, but the player cannot die from repeated exposure to small amounts of damagee. Unlike the main Half-Life series, the screen doesn't retain the red transparency over the player's view upon death.

The portal gun allows several possible approaches to completing the various test chambers. n their initial preview of Portal, GameSpot provided an example of a gameplay scenario:

Two additional modes are unlocked during the completion of the game. Challenge maps are unlocked near the halfway point and Advanced Chambers are unlocked when the game is completed.<ref> Craddock, David

.    Portal: Final Hands-on 
. IGN 

. Retrieved on 2007-10-05. </ref> In Challenge mode, levels are revisited, with the added goal of completing the test chamber either with as little time, with the smallest number of portals, or with the fewest footsteps possible. In Advanced mode, certain levels are made more complex with the addition of more obstacles and hazards.<ref name="eurogamerfi"> Bramwell, Tom

.    Portal: First Impressions 
. Eurogamer 

. Retrieved on 2007-10-05. </ref><ref> Francis, Tom

.    PC Preview: Portal - PC Gamer Magazine 
. ComputerAndVideoGames.com 

. Retrieved on 2007-10-05. </ref>

Plot synopsis

Image:Portal Chell.jpg
Chell, the player-controlled protagonist, views herself holding the Portal Gun through the portals she has created. She is equipped with heel springs on her feet to prevent damage from falls.


The game features only two characters: the player-controlled protagonist, named Chell, and GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, voiced by Ellen McLain), a computer artificial intelligence that monitors and directs the player. The only background information presented about Chell is given by GLaDOS; however, the credibility of these facts (such as Chell being adopted and having no friends) is dubious as GLaDOS is, by its own admission, a liar.


PortalModèle:'s plot, set in the Half-Life universe,<ref name="gamespotarticle1" /> is revealed to the player via audio messages from GLaDOS and side rooms found in the later levels. Valve's Aperture Science website, a piece of viral marketing from Valve, further reveals plot elements. The game begins with Chell waking up from a stasis bed and hears instructions and warnings from GLaDOS about her upcoming test experience. This part of the game involves distinct "test chambers" that, in sequence, introduce players to the game's mechanics. GLaDOS's announcements serve not only to instruct Chell and help her progress through the game, but also to create atmosphere and develop the AI as a character.

Although each test chamber contains cameras and frosted observation windows, Chell never sees another person in the facility, and the only interactions Chell has are with GLaDOS and talking robotic gun turrets. GLaDOS's sinister nature is revealed over the course of the game. Although it is designed to appear helpful and encouraging, much of GLaDOS's speech suggests insincerity and callous disregard for the test subjects. After the player completes an early puzzle, the AI declares that "you, subject name here, must be the pride of subject hometown here." Many of GLaDOS's statements are ironic and contradictory: she both hints that Chell will be killed at the conclusion of the test and promises that instead cake will be served and grief counseling will be provided. One of the tests involves what GLaDOS calls a "weighted companion cube", which is decorated with a pink heart on each face and serves several important functions in solving the puzzle. After GLaDOS emphasizes the cube's fidelity and importance for helping the player, GLaDOS declares that it "unfortunately must be euthanized" in an incinerator. If the player does not incinerate the cube immediately, GLaDOS begins taunting and prodding. When Chell does incinerate the cube (this is the only way to move forward in the game), GLaDOS says, "You euthanized your faithful companion cube more quickly than any test subject on record. Congratulations." In another instance, GLaDOS claims that because the usual test chamber is being repaired, Chell must instead navigate "a live fire course designed for military androids." She then "apologizes" for the inconvenience caused.

Besides dialogue from GLaDOS, Chell's situation is illuminated by passing through certain broken test chamber walls into the back areas of the facility. There, the player finds graffiti messages from some unknown benefactor(s). These "backstage" areas, which are in extreme disrepair, stand in stark contrast to the pristine test chambers. The graffiti includes statements such as "the cake is a lie" and a pastiche of Emily Dickinson's poem "The Chariot" mourning the death of the companion cube.<ref name="commentary">Portal: Director's commentary</ref>

After Chell completes the final test chamber, GLaDOS congratulates her as the platform she is riding begins to slide into a large furnace. As GLaDOS assures her that "all Aperture technologies remain safely operational up to 4000 degrees Kelvin," Chell escapes and makes her way through the maintenance areas and empty office spaces behind the chambers. Now, instead of guidance from GLaDOS, graffiti messages point her in the right direction. As Chell proceeds through the facility, GLaDOS attempts to dissuade her with threats of physical harm and misleading statements claiming that Chell is going the wrong way. Eventually, Chell reaches a large chamber and meets GLaDOS. After a piece of GLaDOS falls off, Chell drops it in an incinerator. GLaDOS then claims that Chell has destroyed her "morality core," which the Aperture Science employees allegedly installed into her after she "flooded the enrichment center with a deadly neurotoxin," and goes on to state that now there is nothing to prevent her from doing so once again. As gas begins to fill the chamber, Chell dislodges and incinerates more pieces of GLaDOS that control other aspects of her personality and she begins to behave erratically. After destroying GLaDOS, the resulting portal malfunction causes Chell and the debris to fly out of the chamber. Chell lands outside the gates of the facility amid the rubble of GLaDOS, "injured enough to pass out" but alive.<ref> Polokov , Kadayi

.    Untitled email from Portal developer 

. Retrieved on 2006-11-27. </ref>

The final scene shows a camera zooming through the bowels of the facility before arriving at a mix of shelves surrounding a chocolate cake and the weighted companion cube. The shelves contain various metallic "eye" components similar to GLaDOS's core chips, some of which begin to light up before a robotic arm descends and extinguishes the candle. The credits roll, and GLaDOS delivers a concluding report about Chell: the song "Still Alive", which implies that GLaDOS wasn't destroyed.

Aperture Science, Inc.

Image:Aperture Science.svg
Aperture Science logo

Aperture Science, Inc. is a fictional research corporation featured in the Half-Life series and is the setting for Portal. Information about the company is revealed through Portal and the website aperturescience.com created by Valve for the game. The website contains a link to a removed YouTube video which apparently showed David Copperfield's "Portal" Trick.

According to the fictional company's website, accessible using login information that appears within Portal, the business was founded in 1953 by Cave Johnson, to make shower curtains for the U.S. military. However, after becoming mentally unstable from mercury poisoning in 1978, Johnson created a "three tier" research and development plan to make his organization successful, and become a strong competitor against Black Mesa for GSA funding. The first two tiers, the "Heimlich Counter-Maneuver" and the "Take-A-Wish Foundation", were failures and led to an investigation of the company by the U.S. Senate. However, as the investigative committee heard of the success of the third tier, the "man-sized ad-hoc quantum tunnel through physical space with possible applications as a shower curtain," they immediately gave Aperture Science "an open-ended contract to secretly continue research on the Portal" and the committee was recessed permanently.

The portions of the Aperture Science Enrichment Center that Chell explores within Portal suggest that it is part of a massive research installation. At the time of events depicted in Portal, the Aperture Science Enrichment Center facility seems to be long deserted, although most of its equipment remains operational without human control. It is not clear when these events take place in the overall Half-Life time-line. At one point, GLaDOS states that "the world has changed since [the player] last left the building," claiming to be the only thing standing between "us" and "them," yet does not elaborate on the details.

However, the apparent "abandonment" of the facility may not have been entirely intentional on the part of the Aperture Science staff. In the final area of the game, a red phone with a severed wire sits on a desk near GLaDOS, which the in-game commentary reveals was meant to be used by Aperture employees as a way to make an emergency call in case GLaDOS began taking over the facility. The commentator then notes that, clearly, this fail-safe did not work as planned. GLaDOS herself mentions the possibility of her having flooded the center with a deadly neurotoxin.

Aperture Science, Inc. is also mentioned during Half-Life 2: Episode Two, in which a ship belonging to the corporation, the Borealis, is said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, along with part of its drydock. During its development, Half-Life 2 featured a chapter set on the Borealis, but this was abandoned and removed prior to release.<ref>Modèle:Cite book</ref>


Image:Portal Game.svg
Similar logos as seen in-game describing the content of a level.

Portal is Valve's professionally-developed spiritual successor to the freeware game Narbacular Drop, the 2005 independent game released by students of the DigiPen Institute of Technology; the original Narbacular Drop team are now all employed at Valve.<ref name="narbdrop-confirm"> Things are heating up!

. Narbacular Drop official site 

. Retrieved on 2006-07-21. </ref><ref name="gilombardi"> Berghammer, Billy

.    GC 06:Valve's Doug Lombardi Talks Half-Life 2 Happenings 
. Game Informer 

. Retrieved on 2007-09-27. </ref> Certain elements have been retained from Narbacular Drop, such as the system of identifying the two unique portal endpoints with the colors orange and blue. A key difference in the signature portal mechanic between the two games however is that PortalModèle:'s "portal gun" cannot create a portal through an existing portal unlike in Narbacular Drop.

The Portal team worked with Half-Life series writer Marc Laidlaw on fitting the game into the series' plot.<ref name="1upinterview"> Leone, Matt

.    Portal Preview 
. 1UP.com 

. Retrieved on 2006-09-11. </ref> Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek of the classic gaming commentary/comedy website Old Man Murray had been hired by Valve and put to work on the dialogue for Portal.<ref name="gilombardi" /> GLaDOS was central to the plot, as Wolpaw notes "We designed the game to have a very clear beginning, middle, and end, and we wanted GLaDOS to go through a personality shift at each of these points."<ref name="rbs wolpaw interview"/> Wolpaw further describes the idea of using cake as the reward came about as "at the beginning of the Portal development process, we sat down as a group to decide what philosopher or school of philosophy our game would be based on. That was followed by about fifteen minutes of silence and then someone mentioned that a lot of people like cake."<ref name="rbs wolpaw interview"> Walker , John

.    RPS Interview: Valve’s Erik Wolpaw 
. Rock, Paper, Shotgun 

. Retrieved on 2007-10-31. </ref>

Chell's face and body is modeled after Alesia Glidewell, an American freelance actor and voice over artist.<ref> AlesiaGlidewell.com: Voice Over & Motion Capture for Games

. Retrieved on 2007-10-13. </ref> Ellen McLain provided the voice of the antagonist GLaDOS. Erik Wolpaw noted that "When we were still fishing around for the turret voice, Ellen did a 'sultry' version. It didn’t work for the turrets, but we liked it a lot, and so a slightly modified version of that became the model for GLaDOS's final incarnation."<ref name="rbs wolpaw interview"/> Mike Patton's voice also appears in the game performing the growling and snarling of the final core-chip of GLaDOS. The Weighted Companion Cube inspiration was from project lead Kim Swift.<ref name="rbs wolpaw interview"/>

The closing credits song, "Still Alive", was written by Jonathan Coulton and sung by Ellen McLain as the GLaDOS character. Wolpaw notes that Coulton was invited to Valve a year prior to the release of Portal as the team knew they wanted to involve Coulton in some fashion; "Once Kim [Swift] and I met with him, it quickly became apparent that he had the perfect sensibility to write a song for GLaDOS."<ref name="rbs wolpaw interview"/><ref name="portal the skinny"> Coulton , Jonathan

.    Portal: The Skinny 
. Jonathan Coulton's blog 

. Retrieved on 2007-11-01. </ref>

Project lead Kim Swift stated that future Portal developments will depend on the community's reactions, saying, "We're still playing it by ear at this point, figuring out if we want to do multi-player next, or Portal 2, or release map packs."<ref name="eurogamerfi" />

Critical reception

Portal was a surprise favorite of The Orange Box, often earning more praise than either Half-Life 2: Episode 2 or Team Fortress 2, and has been praised for its unique gameplay and deadpan humor.<ref> G4 Review - The Orange Box

. G4TV  


. Retrieved on 2007-10-19. </ref> The game has been criticized for sparse environments, and both criticized and praised for its short length.<ref> IGN: Portal Review

. IGN  


. Retrieved on 2007-10-19. </ref> Aggregate reviews for the stand-alone PC version of Portal gave the game an average rating of 90% based on 20 reviews through Game Rankings,<ref> Portal Reviews (PC)

. Game Rankings  


. Retrieved on 2007-10-22. </ref> and 90/100 through 21 reviews on MetaCritic.<ref> Portal (pc: 2007): Reviews

. Metacritic  


. Retrieved on 2007-10-22. </ref> Portal was awarded the Good Game game of the year award in 2007<ref>http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s2115530.htm</ref> and given the title of "Best Game of 2007" by the "A. V. Club".<ref> A. V. Club Best Games of 2007

. A. V. Club 

. Retrieved on 2007-12-24. </ref> It also received the "Most Original Game" award.<ref> X-Play Best of 2007: Most Original Game

. G4 

. Retrieved on 2007-12-19. </ref>

The game also generated a fan-following for the Weighted Companion Cube<ref> Alexander , Leigh

.    Gamasutra's Best Of 2007: Top 5 Poignant Game Moments 

. Retrieved on 2007-12-19. </ref> — while the cube itself doesn't talk or act in the game, fans have created plush<ref>http://jetlogs.org/2007/10/29/companion-cube-plushie-sewing-pattern</ref> and papercraft<ref>http://jetlogs.org/2007/10/14/weighted-companion-cube-papercraft/</ref> versions of the "character", as well as a tribute website. Because of its popularity in the game, Valve's Director of Business Development Jason Holtman has confirmed that a Weighted Companion Cube desktop toy will be released by the end of 2007.<ref> Francis , Tom

.    Valve Confirm Companion Cube Toy Before Christmas 
. PC Gamer 

. Retrieved on 2007-10-15. </ref> Weighted Companion Cube fuzzy dice are available through the Steam store.<ref> Steam Updates: Friday, November 9 2007

. Valve 

. Retrieved on 2007-11-09. </ref> Both GLaDOS and the Weighted Companion Cube were nominated for the "Best New Character Award" on G4; with GLaDOS winning the award for having "lines that will be quoted by gamers for years to come."<ref>http://www.g4tv.com/xplay/features/54802/XPlay_Best_of_2007_Best_New_Character.html </ref>

See also


<references />

External links

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