Kotaku

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]


Kotaku

Okay prepare for something a bit incredible, but also very, very strange. This is a scene from Toy Story, reanimated and rebuilt using Source Filmmaker. It starts off weird, then it gets kinda hilarious, then it gets weird again.


I can't really explain why, but I totally love it. The fact that it's so jarred, and such a bizarre clunky parody is what makes it all work.


Toy Soldier [GlinkoPlayman]



Mark Serrels is the EIC for Kotaku Australia. You can follow him on Twitter!
Republished from Kotaku Australia.
Kotaku

Portal's Still Alive, Performed Live On...CBS NewsNot a headline you were probably expecting to see in 2012, since the song wore out its welcome just as 2008 was coming around, but the world is an amazing place.



Jonathan Coulton performs "Still Alive" [CBS]


Kotaku

Team Fortress 2 Gets Zombies in Halloween-Themed "Scream Fortress" Event Just a few months after cold, unfeeling automatons came to Valve's hit co-op shooter in Mann vs. Machine, the publisher's unleashing waves of the undead on Team Fortress 2.


According to Polygon, an update to the Team Fortress 2 website announced a two-week Scream Fortress event that will herald the return of necromancer Merasmus, who seeds all kinds of dark magic over the game's usual match types. The new Wave 666 map will be where showdowns against zombies happen and players will also be able to get enchantments that will summon ghosts as part of the event. How long until we get zombies vs. robots, y'think?


Scream Fortress [Team Fortress 2, via Polygon]


Kotaku

Team Fortress 2 is Celebrating Halloween (Again)Like clockwork, the coming of Halloween also signals the coming of some special Team Fortress 2 stuff, heralded today by the release of a new comic and teases for a showdown between the mercs and Merasmus.


Doommates [TF2]


Kotaku

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.


Wheatley is 343 Guilty Spark - Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition [YouTube]


Kotaku

Why Propose With a Diamond When You Could Propose With Portal's Companion Cube?


We've seen Portal proposals and Portal jewelry before. But putting them together into a Companion Cube engagement ring is a new one on me.


The ring is stainless steel and, yes, the cube is a tiny exact replica with its little heart on every side. It was custom made by bmf jewelry for Justin Palmer, who did indeed propose by asking, "Will you be my partner in science?"


She said yes.


Portal Companion Cube Engagement Ring [Custom Made via The Mary Sue]


Kotaku

The Strange Beauty of Killing Zombies In Horrible Ways


Halloween is on its way, and while ghosts and ghouls may have been the undead horrors of decades past, here in 2012 it's all about the zombies and their ilk.

What better way to get in the mood for spooky doom than with this weirdly lovely, thoroughly instructive image from Left 4 Dead 2? See zombie, apply flamethrower. Now that's useful advice for the ages.


Click the image to expand to its full hi-res gory glory.


Open Up [Dead End Thrills]


Kotaku
I Hate That I'm Addicted To Boring Video Game ChallengesI'm having the same, recurring nightmare of late. It's one of those stupid ones where something that's normally inane and innocuous becomes unreasonably horrible.Here's what happens: I'm in Pandora, out on a mission—to kill someone, probably—when I notice something. Maybe it's a a box or a locker. And the second that I notice that, everything else fades away: there is only the lootable object.


Here's the problem: Borderlands 2 has a ridiculous number of lootable things. Like, they're just everywhere. And even if I loot them, next time I boot the game up, there they are again. Full. Waiting to be opened. So I do it again, and again, and again. It never ends.


Picture this: a frenzy with badasses flanking me left and right, friends down and needing reviving, and what is my dumb butt doing? Getting shot in the face while elbow deep in shit: bullymong scat is also lootable.


It didn't used to be like that. But then I took a look at Borderlands' challenges, which award you badass tokens that you can redeem for stat upgrades. One of those challenges is called "Open Pandora's Boxes," and it involves opening any and all lootable objects.


It's so simple, and I can get perks for doing it—so of course I indulge. Under normal circumstances, Borderland's challenges, like those in many games, are okay: they encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try new things, or they reward you for something you already do. I can get behind the well-crafted challenges.


"Hurly Burly," for instance, requires me to shoot bullymong projectiles out of midair—it's not something I would seek to do on my own, and it's a difficult thing to do, so I appreciate it's inclusion. Games like Left 4 Dead 2 in particular have countless number of amazing achievements and challenges: CL0WND has you honk the noses of 10 clowns, which you do by meleeing, (silly but amusing!) and Chaos Generator requires you to have all of the generators running at once in "The Sacrifice" (extra challenge, because each generator gives you a wave of zombies!)


But why give me incentive to do something that's not fun or meaningful? It's one thing to open a chest with guns in it—who doesn't get a little wide-eyed and single-minded when they see a chest? Chests are great. I want to open chests. There might be awesome guns in there.


But why give me incentive to do something that's not fun or meaningful?

The only reason I open the toilets scattered around the game is because I need ammo: a necessity, but not something I enjoy doing necessarily. But the second you introduce an achievement or a challenge, everything changes—regardless of how enjoyable it actually is to do. I'll do it anyway—and I think game designers sometimes abuse this compulsion.


For example, there are countless games with achievements like "kill x number of enemies with y gun." The issue is that the reason I don't use the gun in the first place is because it was awful or because there's a better gun. But instead of giving me a gun that's fun to use, I get a challenge to use the gun instead. So I'll use it, but I'm not going to be happy about it.


Stop that, game designers. It's a shortcut. You get me to do what you want, but it's not because you designed something worthwhile. You know you've got something on your hands when the player gravitates to do something, to experiment, without being explicitly told to do so. Not that I'm saying that's easy to design or anything—if it was, I'm guessing that more games would achieve it!


It's not all mechanical stumbles—sometimes, the problems rewards pose are more ideological. Bulletstorm has a special system called "skillshots", which give you extra points depending on how creatively you kill your enemies. The points flash up on the screen, and the whole idea is to try to one-up yourself with more elaborate kills as you go along. It turns out that the love of points above all else can be betraying. Brendan Keogh puts the experience of playing Bulletstorm best when he says:


It's all good fun. It's all satisfying and violent and everything you want from a shooter. But then my partner walks into the room while I am playing and sees what I am doing. Or I write it out in an essay like I just did, and it feels kind of… wrong. Whereas most shooters attempt to justify the endless violence with some kind of framing narrative or an unredeemably evil enemy, Bulletstorm is more honest. It is a murder simulator, and it doesn't try to be anything else.


Similarly, I get uncomfortable thinking not so much about what the game has me do, but the way in which it has me do it: points. Points change things, give me incentive, yes—but more alarmingly, in this case, points help dehumanize what's happening on the screen all the more. In Brendan's case, being rewarded for killing creatively turns out to be revealing inasmuch as it is betraying: it forces him to wonder if he enjoys the murder and the mayhem after all.


Bulletstorm doesn't tell me that I should feel bad for what I do in violent videogames. On the contrary, it tells me without a flicker of irony or doubt that this is and should be enjoyable. Actually, that isn't quite accurate. Bulletstorm doesn't tell me anything; it forces me to admit that I enjoy this. It's a strange, non-judging passive-aggression. Oh, you like murdering people in gory ways just for more meaningless points? That's nice. Here is a guy you could decapitate for twenty-five points. You don't have to, but I think we both know you want to.


The game acknowledges that we like what it has us do, doesn't it? Maybe points have nothing to do with it. Or maybe points just end the charade and make it all blatant. Where does the sadism begin, organically with the player, or via the encouragement that the reward brings? Are we just kidding ourselves by trying to draw a distinction?


Reward with caution, game designers: challenges, achievements and the like change everything, but not always for the better.


Kotaku


Do you need an Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device? Of course you do!


Sure, there's a life-sized replica out there in the world, but for those of us with smaller living rooms (and smaller budgets), this miniature edition, from ThinkGeek, is just the ticket.


This model, admittedly, can't actually make a wormhole in your wall. But it does come with the lights and sounds you need to feel like it actually works.


You could even put a potato on those arms. A baby potato, admittedly, but still.


Portal 2 Miniature Replica Portal Gun [ThinkGeek, via Twitter]


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