Archive for Portal

Oooh I’ll get by…

Posted in Gaming, Random Rolls with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2011 by Cassie

I’ve had a hard few months.  Lyme disease isn’t exactly fun stuff, but what can you do?  It’s not going to last forever so I’m just going to take it for now. 

There are days when I can’t get out of bed.  I literally lie there pressing play on the same movie over and over.  But I’m not here to dwell on symptoms, I’m here to dwell on the support system which has shown itself since this happened.

I’ve had relatives all over the place offering help, visiting and sending cards and little gifts.  My room is filled with small objects given to me by people who want me to know they’re there for me.  I cherish every single one.  It’s amazing to know how many of my relatives have gone through things with similar symptoms and similar consequences. 

I’ve heard from only two “real-world” friends, but not very often.  I’m not upset about it, life happens and people move on.  They’ve been supportive when we’ve spoken though.  And once I can leave the house they’ll be there.

The real surprise has been my online friends.  They’re always there.  I have four friends on Steam who have been absolutely amazing, and one more Steam friend who has been great too.  Just to clarify, I separated them because the group is of five of us and the other doesn’t know the other four.  I had two of these five people give me new games, both because I’m down to my last chunk of emergency fund and also because they thought I would enjoy them. 

These five people have been exactly what I need.  They’re like a drop of normalcy when most of my days are not.  They’re concerned, but won’t pry if I ask them not to.  They’re patient and kind, and a little inappropriate when it means a laugh.  They don’t make a big deal of the fact that I’m a chick playing Left 4 Dead, which you’d be surprised how many people do.  One of them is even waiting for me to finish single player Portal 2 so that we can both discover the Co op together.

So all in all this experience of being ill has sucked, but it’s been one of the most valuable experiences of my life.  It’s been amazing to see the friendships I’ve found, and I couldn’t feel luckier to have them.  So I guess I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.  (Cheezy ending, had to be done.  Sorry!)

Cheers!  –Cassie

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Thinking with Portals

Posted in Gaming, Random Rolls with tags , on March 3, 2011 by Cassie

I would like to talk to you about portals.

Imagine a device that allows you to open a wall, and through that opening is almost anything you want.  You choose where it opens up.  What an amazing thing.  How would you use this newfound power?  You could open a door that leads directly to your office, make that commute instantaneous.  You could eliminate the stairs when making that dreaded trek from the basement all the way upstairs to get the copy of Bubble Bobble that you left in your bedroom.

Well someone has created that world.

A few years ago Valve released The Orange Box.  This box contained five different games, all amazing in their own way…but none changed the way we think like Portal.  Legend has it that Portal was concieved and developed in part by a group of students, then picked up by Valve who developed it to what it is today.  I recently bought The Orange Box for the XBox 360, and though I already have it for PC and I’ve already finished Portal twice, I couldn’t be more excited.

For those of you who don’t know, and if you don’t I sincerely pity you, the basic plot of Portal has you run through a series of tests with the unseen GLaDos as a moderator.  I think it goes without saying that there are spoilers ahoy.

***(minor)SPOILERS AHOY!!!***

The thing with Portal is that you literally have unlimited possibilities for defeating this three hour (on average) game.  I’m playing it for the third time and I’m still coming up with new stuff…and not only that, it still fools me almost constantly.  Sure, you feel totally superior in the first few chambers, but slowly your badassery is wittled away by GLaDos and her funhouse.  There’s a point where there’s a chainlink fence with a locked gate…everytime I end up there I get stuck.  This door won’t open, what is happening here?  Why can’t I get it open?  Why haven’t they given me a weapon with which I can beat it down?  Then I kick myself as I fire a portal through the chainlink and sheepishly toddle through the one on my side. 

***SPOILERS END HERE***

Portal forces you to think differently.  This being my third time, I’ve been spending an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out the shortest possible route through each level.   I’ve also been having a lot of fun.  I find myself giggling at my director’s backhanded remarks and empty promises.  I find myself walking by the obvious, and rethinking the simple. 

So now when I have to get downstairs I contemplate the simplest way of getting there with the fewest amount of portals possible.  All because of this intoxicating game.

How about you?  How are you getting to work tomorrow?  How are getting to the store?  Forget your car.  There’s an easier way.

You see?  Now you’re thinking with Portals.