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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Insomniac with The Narrator: Portal

Insomniac with The Narrator now with the Lawblog stamp of approval.

Who is excited for Portal 2’s release? You could say I’m losing sleep over it, but let’s be honest, I lose sleep no matter what. The game looks like it will be awesome. So I thought it would be a perfect time for me to play some Portal to get a refresher of the mechanics and simply enjoy the game.

Not sure Portal is the right game for you…….take this quick test.

Do you like cake? (The dessert, not the American alternative rock band from Sacramento, California.)

Do you find homicidal robots to be entertaining?

Do you like euthanizing inanimate objects?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then boy do I have a game for you.

In Portal, you are Chell (a female character…LADIES!!!), a test subject used to perform experiments which I am pretty sure have not been approved by an institutional review board. Chell is a quiet one in that she doesn’t speak throughout the game. In fact, very little is explained to you in the game about the character and how you found yourself “doing science.” The only information you do get comes from a questionable, to say the least, robot. Think H.A.L. She tells you that you are adopted and do not have any friends. What a stupid bitch.

GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is in charge of doing science at the Enrichment Center for Aperture Laboratories (also known as Aperture Science). This is a robot with a sense of humor. GLaDOS gives you a simple task. She wants you to complete several experiments with the promise: if you don’t die, you will get cake. So your options are CakeorDeath.

What kind of science are we doing? It’s all in the title, baby…PORTAL science. Using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device or Portal Gun, we need to make our way through various experiments (Puzzles). I could really put this portal gun to practical use so scientists get on that. I could really use a quick exit from family reunions.

I complete the experiments and I’m being transported to some delicious cake when I start getting lowered into fire. GLaDOS reassures me that the portal gun will remain operational even in extreme heat so I needn’t worry about damaging Aperture Science equipment when I’m dying. FUCK THAT NOISE! I portal the hell out of there and start working my way through the backrooms and underground passages of Aperture Science, often seeing repeated marks on the wall “the cake is a lie.” I get that you went crazy and started writing things on the wall, Kelvin, but how about something like this, “The cake is a lie. The robot is going to lower you into a fucking fire after last experiment.”Just sayin’!

Finally reaching GLaDOS.

Hold up, could I take a timeout real quick to go on a rant about sexism in videogames? It is no secret that games over represent the male perspective, especially in the action/adventure genre (I guess Portal is more a single-player puzzle-platformer, but we can argue details later). This game is kind of neat in the fact it is an all female cast. Sure there are only two characters and one doesn’t even speak, but still. It is refreshing to see a game with all female characters that doesn’t involve beach volley ball. So let’s see how these ladies handle business.

Portal has a very dark sense of humor that I enjoyed. After you beat the game, you get to listen to GLaDOS sing the Jonathon Coulton song “Still Alive” that was written just for the game. You should get most of the jokes from reading this recap and watching the previous video but it is enjoyable either way.

Alright, I decided to start rating games that I recap.

Portal gets points for being funny and original. It loses a little for being extremely short and lacking replay value.

I give Portal 3.8 driving caps out of 5.

Portal 2 comes out today. If you can’t wait, go and buy it (you may already have). I’ll have to wait until Gamefly sends it to me. FYI, I’m still waiting on Dead Space 2 and refuse to take it off the top of my queue.


  1. This was a triumph.
    I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS

  2. Portal is amazing. And I'm also waiting on Dead Space 2 from Gamefly.

  3. I'm so excited for Stephen Merchant in Portal 2 (today!!)

  4. Principal EnchmanApril 19, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    PORTAL 2 wooooohooooooooooooo! (Too bad I won't have a chance to play it for another couple of weeks.)

  5. I remember bugging my Rock Band fake band when this song was released for free to play it three times so that we would have the top score for it.

    Go Portal 2!

  6. Portal has no replay value? Madness!

    and that's ignoring the crazy modding scene that you gotta get on.

  7. Sharktamer,

    I wouldn’t say it had no replay value. I should have stated that it had limited replay value. My reasoning is that once you solve a puzzle it is kind of done. I can’t unlearn the answer to the puzzle.