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Until this weekend, I hadn’t revisited Portal 2 since the release of the Perpetual Testing Initiative. I vaguely assumed that user-built test chambers would fall, broadly speaking, into two types: so easy that they made me appreciate the complex genius of the originals, or so difficult that they made me appreciate the simple genius of the originals. Replaying Portal 2 at the end of 2011 also made me realise that the puzzles were the bits in between the prattling robots and the archaeological ascent through Aperture. I spent more time smiling than thinking with furrowed brow. Naturally, then, a set of user-made levels that form a story appeal more than standalone levels. Designed for Danger is such a thing and, from the little I’ve played of the eight levels, it’s high quality stuff.
Designed For Danger is a Portal 2 mini-campaign created by Patrick Murphy, which adds eight new levels and around 1-2 hours of gameplay to Valve's first-person puzzler.
These aren't just random levels, Murphy has actually carved a little alternate reality storyline out here, which, considering the pack is free, should make it worth a look for Portal fans starved of new content.
You can download the campaign below.
Update - While we're on the subject, I'm being pointed towards 12 Angry Tests, which looks even better.
Designed For Danger [Site]
Cortana bickering with Wheatley: think about it. The two are strong personalities in their own rights, but put together they make for some hilarious banter.
I would never have imagined Wheatley's deadpan humor to work so well under the seriousness of Halo's plotline, but apparently Toadking07 did and I'm all the happier for it.
Mark Oshiro does things. He has, in a sense, made a professional life out of being a fan. For several years, on his sites Mark Reads and Mark Watches, he has tackled fan favorite TV shows (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who) and novels (Harry Potter, His Dark Materials) one episode or chapter at a time. The catch is that he only reviews stories for which he is completely unspoiled. The results are generally hilarious, and Oshiro has developed a fan following of his own.
He has now added Mark Plays to the trilogy of sites, in which he experiences and reviews video games (again, games that he has somehow always managed to avoid spoilers for) one chapter or section at a time. And in fine fashion, the site has started with Portal and Portal 2.
Following along with the experience of an unspoiled, new player brings back fond memories of experiencing a game oneself for the first time. And Oshiro's chronic unpreparedness for the twists stories throw at him often rings familiar:
Look, this was a 19 level puzzle game. I THOUGHT YOU BEAT IT, YOU GOT CAKE, AND THAT WAS IT. And suddenly, I'm in passageways looking in on the very game I just played, and my mind can't handle it. That 19th level pulls your right out of the world you were once in, and you have to force yourself to accept that you've been manipulated, not only as Chell, but as the player.
Anyone who has ever enjoyed introducing their friends to a favorite game, and waiting with pent-up glee for the friend to hit THAT MOMENT OMG, will probably enjoy reading along, as Mark discovers more classic and current titles.
Just don't ever leave any spoilers. That wrecks all the fun.
Realm Lovejoy is an artist currently working at Half-Life and Team Fortress developers Valve Software. Having helped create student title Narbacular Drop, which later evolved into what we now know as Portal, she's also interned at Nintendo.
So, yeah, dream career path right there.
Among her current projects is Valve's DOTA 2, for which she's done stuff like character design, while she's also worked on games like Portal 2. Oh, and if you want someone to thank for the adorable art that ran during Steam's Autumn sale in 2011, Realm's your target.
You can check out more of her work at her personal site.
To see the larger pics in all their glory (or so you can save them as wallpaper), right-click on them below and select "open in new tab".
Valve artist Realm Lovejoy tweeted this video earlier in the week, saying "Look at what I helped unbox today at work". Which is a lot calmer than how I would've said it.
"Oh my GOD look at this just LOOK AT THIS" is all I'd be able to manage, before ducking behind a couch for cover. Just in case.
Yesterday, you probably read the first part of my chat with Valve’s Erik Wolpaw and Double Fine’s Anna Kipnis. If not, it’s right here- but FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. By which I mean until the Internet ceases to exist, which, you know, could happen someday. Anyway, in today’s installment, we branch out a bit from yesterday’s story-centric beat. Valve’s newfound love of wearable computing, virtual reality, heaps behind-the-scenes info on Portal, crowd-sourcing, and more are all on the docket. OK, there wasn’t actually any sort of docket involved. I’m not entirely sure why I said that.>