There are two ways to play portal: 1. Shoot portals and solves puzzles 2. Analyze the game from a critical perspective, questioning all facets of the game. I had previously played Portal before, but had never really “played” it. On the first day of class Professor Sample stated that many people play video games, but very few understand them. Taking that message into account, I approached the game from an analytical viewpoint hoping to get something more than entertainment out of it. I succeeded.
I initially realized that playing the game on a Mac was horrendous. I am not sure if the specs of my MacBook Air were not good enough, but the game was at times hard to control and lag. While this did not deter me from playing the game, I began to ask “Why are games like these most commonly better developed for game stations (Playstation, Xbox, PC) than portable devices? As someone who had only played it on the PS3 it never occurred to me that there were other versions of the game that were not as easy to play, or looked as good. This could perhaps speak to the capitalistic behavior that has infiltrated the video game industry: “console games are higher priced and should be prioritized”.
A surprising finding within Portal was the “low-key” cruelty experienced in the game. Usually when playing a game I always observe events from my perspective, yet never take into account the character’s perspective. With Portal, I was able to realize that positioning yourself in the character’s seat unlock hidden meanings. Chell , the main character, is often told that there are consequences for failing and that she should not do so. This torture accompanied with the constant warning signs/depictions of possible dangers that one may encounter in a chamber (as seen below) demonstrate the darkness found in the rated “E for everyone” game.
The shocking realization further leads me to question every single other game I have ever played. Were there many signs/hints/hidden meanings that I did not pick up on simply because I just played the game instead of trying to understand it? Would I enjoy Black Ops 1 less if I was placed into the shoes of the consistently tortured Mason?
Through keen observation and change of perspective, I was able to see two different sides of Portal. The greatest satisfaction came from seeing two different sides of the same narrative, physical space, without having to jump from one portal to another.
#Portal #FirstPerson #futuristic #GLaDOS #POV