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December 09, 2008

Portal: Still Alive

I almost forgot. The pressure cooker has eased up a bit, momentarily, and I have had part of my weekends back. As a result, I grabbed the arcade version of Portal: Still Alive. It's generally pretty flexible on pick-up/put-down, so I managed to traverse it in little spurts. I took most of the Thanksgiving holiday off from work, so I finished it then. The game clocks in at around six hours, but I'm sure I did eight or more, due to my clumsiness and wooden reflexes (there are a few segments requiring quick reaction times).

Like most people reviewing it, I have to say that it was great fun, and felt really original, regardless of predecessors. It's not like I play a huge variety of games, so this felt new to me. What really made it was not just the mechanics of play, but the integration of the humorous 'story', such as it was. I laughed out loud several times. When I completed it, I felt such a sense of accomplishment, that I got a little knot in my throat during the closing song.

No, I didn't try for any of the achievements. That would have ruined my enjoyment. I did try to play through the first few test chambers again with the developer commentary turned on, but after awhile, it got frustrating that the developers would be drowned out by the in-game narration. Seems they thought very carefully about game design, but not about the developer commentary.

All told, I wish there were more clever, fun, short games like this.

Posted by dpwakefield at December 9, 2008 08:45 PM

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