Kotaku

Come Talk About the Epic of GLaDOS, Portal 2, at Kotaku Game ClubWelcome everyone to week 3 of the Kotaku Game Club's look back at Portal 2. In our third meeting we'll be talking about the game's story and characters.



Gameplay aside, the world of Portal 2 plays such a large role in making Portal 2 a rich experience, and I'm sure you all have something to say about the game's memorable story moments.



As with our past two meetings, the discussion today isn't chronological. There will be spoilers from the entire game, including the ending. Since today's discussion focuses on the plot, today's meeting will be especially jam-packed with spoilers.



If you're joining us for the first time, Our goal at Kotaku Game Club is to play games as a community so that we can share our thoughts as we're experiencing the game. We meet each week in the Game Club's comments section to discuss our experiences with our game of the month.



Our meetings generally start at 4pm Eastern every Thursday, and last an hour or so after the post is published. The Game Club is here to get everybody talking with each other, so don't be afraid to speak your mind and to start a dialogue with other posters.



As for our question of the week: Is there such a thing as too much GLaDOS?



In the original Portal GLaDOS accounted for 100% of your character interaction. (No, I don't count the turrets.) She was your guide and your nemesis for a few sentences between each puzzle. In Portal 2, her presence has grown, but her role has not. In fact, it's shrunk—GLaDOS never plays that double-role the same way. Shrunk into her personal story, GLaDOS, once an instrument of narrative utility, is now a superfluous flourish to the player's experience. So here's the larger question: Can a story that's compelling but tangential to your experience be as compelling as one that effects you directly?



Don't miss our last meeting about Portal 2 next Thursday! We'll be looking at the co-op levels and what makes them special. That's Thursday, February 2nd, at 4pm Eastern.


PC Gamer






Quantum Conundrum is being developed by Portal creator Kim Swift. It's a first person puzzler in which you play a twelve your old boy lost in his mad scientist uncle's underground laboratory. It's full of safes, switches, lava and vast gaps with no bridges. This would be a serious problem but for the fact that you can switch between five dimensions, each of which affects matter differently. By switching between world on the fly, otherwise immovable objects like safes can be tossed, stacked and even surfed to make it past the mad machines and laserbeams that every mad scientist installs in their homes as standard. It's all demonstrated perfectly in the walkthrough video above from Gametrailers, spotted on RPS. It's out early this year, and looks rather good, don't you think?
Kotaku

Remember that round three of Kotaku Game Club's Portal 2 discussion series starts tomorrow at 4pm Eastern!


Kotaku

The World’s Smallest Aperture Logo?Nanotechnology engineering student TheObviousTrap created a 300 nanometer thick Aperture logo in an undergrad class. Bravo!



"Obtaining the image using scanning electron microscopy is probably overkill but that was only equipment I had access to," TheObviousTrap wrote on Reddit.



Portal players will be familiar with Aperture—the in-game scientific corporation. Nanotechnology students will be familiar 300 nm thick creations.



Engineers make small things in class [Reddit Thanks C W!]


Kotaku

We're Talking About Portal 2 at This Week's Kotaku Game Club!Howdy folks, welcome to week two of the Kotaku Game Club's discussion series looking back at Portal 2. This week we're going focus on the game's mechanics: The building blocks that come together to make the game's puzzles.



Remember, since our Portal 2 discussions aren't chronological, there may be spoilers from the entire game today. So only join in if you've finished the game or have no problem hearing about parts of the game you haven't seen yet.



Here's a little rundown of the Game Club in case you're a first timer: Our goal is to play games together so that we can share our experiences and discover the game as a community. We meet each week in the Game Club's comments section to discuss our experiences with our game of the month, including its narrative and mechanical themes and our own responses to them.



The meeting kicks off at 4pm Eastern every Thursday, and lasts an hour or so after the post is published. The Game Club is here to get everybody talking, so don't be afraid to speak your mind.



Here's our question of the week: How does seeing a potentially game-breaking element like Portal 2's white conversion gel change the way you view the game?



If Portal 2 wasn't a well crafted game, the addition of an element like the white gel, which can potentially allow you add a portal to any scene, could have made every puzzle easy (or at least easier) to solve. At the very least, it takes control out of the hands of designer. Do you think that adding that potential adds to the game? Does make the game's design more transparent? Most importantly, do you even think about it while you're playing?



Next week we'll be discussing Portal 2's story. The discussion kicks off on Kotaku next Thursday, January 26th, at 4pm Eastern.


Shacknews - Shack Staff

With Portal, Valve took the mechanic of shooting--something we're very familiar with--and used it in a whole new fashion. Using a gun that opened portals, Valve created a geometry-based puzzle game, the object of which was to use the openings to navigate increasingly challenging test chambers. With that starting point established, Portal 2 hits the ground running.

Portal 2 tricks you into thinking you'd never leave the unfriendly confines of the Aperture Science labs. Then the game blossoms, blowing down the very walls needed for its portals and opens up into a fantastic adventure. Breaking out of the test chambers feels liberating, answering the question: "what could I do with this portal gun in the world outside a test chamber?"

Peeking behind the curtain at Aperture Science offered an intellectual story that fits the puzzling pace just right. It's fun sci-fi, just campy enough, without becoming so silly it can't be taken seriously.

The crowning achievement of Portal 2 is its co-op mode. Working with a second player more than just doubled the complexity of the game. Solving a puzzle with a friend offered the same surprising, euphoric feel of the original Portal. For that feeling alone, Portal 2 stands as one of the high points of 2011.


The Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year awards are based on a weighted scoring system between all staff writers and editors [here's how it works!]. Last week we revealed our "Honorable Mentions," which include the titles that did not quite make our overall 'Top Five Games of the Year.' This week we reveal that Top Five list, with our Overall Game of the Year award being announced on January 20.

Kotaku

Remember Game Clubbers, we'll be continuing our series on Portal 2 tomorrow at 4pm Eastern. Be there!


Kotaku

Mass Effect, Portal, and More as Things of Pixelated BeautyWhat Mass Effect, Portal 2, Deus Ex, and BioShock have in common are memorable worlds and visual flairs. Not sacrificing either, artist Pieceoftoast traded the games' high-def graphics for pixels. The result is stunning.



Seeming to channel Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, the art not only captures the feeling and mood of each game, but also their settings. Have a look in the above gallery. Beautiful stuff.



~pieceoftoast [DeviantArt via Video Game Nostalgia]



Mass Effect, Portal, and More as Things of Pixelated Beauty

Mass Effect, Portal, and More as Things of Pixelated Beauty

Mass Effect, Portal, and More as Things of Pixelated Beauty

Mass Effect, Portal, and More as Things of Pixelated Beauty


Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences released its list of nominees for this years Interactive Achievement Awards. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception leads with a dozen nominations, and shares a Game of the Year nod with Portal 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

GameSpot reports that Drake's latest outing isn't quite to the levels set by Uncharted 2 in 2010, which earned 15 nominations. Portal 2 earned 10 nominations, while L.A. Noire followed with nine nominations -- but no GOTY nod.

This will mark the 15th Interactive Achievement Awards, to be held on Thursday, February 9 at the D.I.C.E. Sumit in Las Vegas. Check out the full list of nominations at the link above. Plus, be sure to check out our own ongoing Shacknews GOTY reveals, and keep up with our Staff Favorites that didn't make the cut.

Kotaku

It's Time to Review Our Portal 2 Testing with the Kotaku Game ClubWelcome back everyone! Today is our first Kotaku Game Club meeting of 2012, and the opening discussion of our series on Kotaku Game of the Year Portal 2.



Since this month's game was released last May, we've changed the traditional Game Club formula a little bit. Instead of basing discussions around chronological portions of the game, this month we'll be looking at different design components of the game each week. Today we'll be discussing puzzle & level design.



With that in mind, a reminder that every meeting this month may include critical spoilers. If you're playing Portal 2 for the first time, I'd say you should get through the game and come back.



If you're one of the many Kotaku readers whose New Year's resolution was to join the Game Club before, here's a quick crash course: Our goal is to play games together so that we can share our experiences and discover (or rediscover) the game as a community. We meet each week in the Game Club's comments section to discuss our experiences with the chosen game, including its narrative and mechanical themes and our own responses to them.



Our meetings start at 4pm Eastern every Thursday, and last an hour or so after the post is published. The goal of the Game Club to get everybody talking, so don't be shy about putting out your ideas - That's what we're here for.



So here our puzzle-centric jump off question for the week: Is there any single learned skill that you think should have been more reinforced or explicitly taught?



Every puzzle in Portal 2 has a purpose: Each room either teaches a new technique or asks you to combine some of the ones you've learned until that point. As a result, our progression is very transparent. While there is something magical about the way Valve combines those learned ideas into complex puzzles, that intricate progression is built around the idea that, once you've finished a puzzle, you fully understand all the moving pieces.



That's not necessarily true, though. You can get stuck, get confused, and then suddenly solve a puzzle without fully understanding how you did it. If that happens, the lesson is lost: If a similar concept is introduced in later puzzles, you approach it as if you never even tried that earlier, which can cause more confusion. Can we identify those instances and see if there's a way that they could have been prevented?



Next week we'll be discussing the mechanical elements of Portal 2 (how gels work, etc). Let's meet here on Kotaku next Thursday, January 19th, at 4pm Eastern.


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