Looking Back On The Greatest Game Ever Made…Probably

Posted by on Wednesday, 23rd March, 2011

Back in 2005 a development team know as Nuclear Monkey Software was busy developing a little game called Narbacular Drop, for their senior year at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond USA. Little did they know where this would lead them, or what would happen as a result.

Narbacular Drop was a simple physics based puzzler, which was set in a dungeon that you had to escape. You played the character Princess No Knees, (who was called this because she couldn’t jump), the task was to solve the puzzles set before you, using red and green portals, there were only six levels, but it gave us a glimpse of what was to come.

Soon after the games release, the whole team were approached by Valve and were soon working behind closed doors at Valve’s studios, working on one of the greatest games ever made.

So what made this game so good then?

Well to start off with, it came as part of a compilation know as The Orange Box, which consisted of, Half Life 2, Half Life 2 Episode 1, Half Life 2 Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and the game in question,  Portal.

Most gamers had heard of or played Half Life, but Portal came as a bit of a surprise and although we knew that it was going to be a physics based puzzle game, what we didn’t know was that would include such a great story, characters and dialogue.

What really made the game so great was your relationship with GlaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), the psychotic AI character that would guide you around the test chambers and provided you with excellent comedy moments and quips the whole time you were playing, this also enabled you to build a relationship with your nemesis and start to understand the situation you were in.

The simple mechanics and slow build up in the game were also a strong point, steadily  guiding you from one test chamber, to the next ever increasingly difficult one, becoming challenging,  never too difficult that you gave up but giving you just enough to provide those ever constant Eureka moments.

This process continued throughout the whole game, up until the point that GlaDOS utters the memorable phrase “assume the party escort submission position”, and from that point on the whole game and your understanding of it was turned on it’s head.

I will not give any more plot away, from fear of spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t played the game yet (and if you haven’t shame on you!).

Which brings me nicely around to 2011 and the soon to be released Portal 2, back in 2007 we were unprepared for the gaming goodness that was Portal, but in 2011 we know all about it, so the question is, will they have done enough to flesh out the sublime three hour original into a full retail title? I have faith in Valve and think that they will, but the only sure way to know, is to play the game and unfortunately we will have to wait a bit longer for that, roll on the 21st of April.

Here is a little something to leave you with and hopefully put a smile on your face and don’t forget to enjoy the cake.

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5 Comments

  1. TheDaddy says:

    Not so much a side story, as set in the same universe, don’t worry Woody, I will let you off, as they say, horses for courses.

  2. Jack says:

    I love portal as well just don’t think it’s the great game ever. No game is! Also I heard that Portal is a side story of Half Life 2.

  3. woody says:

    Isnt it strange. ‘probably the greatest game of all time’ and i believe u Stu. I just cant raise any interest for jumpy FPS puzzles.

    Have assumed turtle position in anticipation of a kickin.

  4. Ph1ltheee says:

    “never too difficult that you gave up”

    Umm, I gave up…..must get onto you tube to find the answer to the one level that I just can’t finish – heard so much about the plot, that I’d like to see it!!

    Great article Stu.

  5. Bongo the Sane says:

    I didn’t know the back story. Interesting.

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