From Pro Gamer to Pro...Poker Player?It's a question proper athletes face all the time. What do you do when you hang up the cleats/boots? Well, if you're Griffin "Flush_Entity" Benger, former pro Counter-Strike player, you make the move from video games to online poker.

Which sounds a little random, seeing as one involves furious mousework and fast reflexes while the other relies on cool heads and a honed bullshit reflex, but apparently it's a natural progression.

"I used to be a professional gamer", Benger tells PokerListings. "I played Counter-Strike for a living, so I transitioned into poker because it has a lot of the same skills, mostly being able to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time."

"But it's a pretty natural transition and a lot of people were doing it. Once I got into poker I became really obsessed with it. It's really one of those games where there's always room to get better, and that was one of the problems with Counter-Strike, I got to a point where I couldn't really get much better."

That...actually makes sense. I mean, I'm sure the fact there's a ton more money in poker helps, but the ceiling's got to be a lot higher for getting to the top of the food chain.

Counter-Strike Champ Griffin Benger Wins Millions at Online Poker [PokerListings]


There's a Portal Cartoon Being Made. It Looks Incredible.Given the fact Valve isn't in the business of making its own animated films (outside of TF2 advertisements), fan Alex Zemke is doing his own Portal flick. And going by the screens he's released so far, it looks as good as you'd hope the real thing to look.

The movie is called Companionship, and before you sigh that it's just a "fan" project, know the guy is a professional animator, whose credits include Disney movies like G-Force and The Smurfs and games such as Uncharted 2 & 3.

While it's still obviously early days, so much so there's no footage, these test renders and preview images are exactly what you'd want from such a project.

Portal Short Chell Test Render [DeviantArt, via Game Informer]

There's a Portal Cartoon Being Made. It Looks Incredible. There's a Portal Cartoon Being Made. It Looks Incredible.


The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever SeeToy company threeA held a signing and showcase event over the weekend in Hong Kong, and present at the show were our first good looks at the studio's upcoming Portal and Halo figures. We also get a look at their second Metal Gear effort as well, following on from the enormous Metal Gear Rex.

Halo Reach's Carter was there, in both painted and unpainted versions. Also there were Portal 2's co-op robots, both unpainted but still looking great. And rounding out the reveals was our first look at Metal Gear Ray, threeA's follow-up to Metal Gear Rex (which was also there, and showing off its light-up weaponry).

The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See


Cave Johnson Returns in New Portal 2 DLC TrailerPortal 2's creation suite is coming to the PC and Mac this May. To celebrate, here's a trailer, starring JK "Cave Johnson" Simmons himself.


Homemade Portal Pinball Will Teleport Into Your Heart Action & reaction. Angles and speed. Momentum and inertia. Pinball is a game of physics. So is Portal. And that's what makes this homemade Aperture Science pinball table so great.

Reddit user iliveon built the working table with friends and says the goal is to get a pinball stuck in each portal. It's clearly a labor of love and could only be improved by having GLADoS making fun of you as you played.

via Reddit

Homemade Portal Pinball Will Teleport Into Your Heart Homemade Portal Pinball Will Teleport Into Your Heart Homemade Portal Pinball Will Teleport Into Your Heart Homemade Portal Pinball Will Teleport Into Your Heart


Portal 2 Level Creator Hitting PC And Mac This MayValve will release free Portal 2 downloadable content titled "Perpetual Testing Initiative" for PC and Mac on May 8, the publisher said today.

Valve says you'll be able to "easily create, share, and play Portal 2 puzzles" with the new DLC, which lets you publish maps directly to Steam. Other players will be able to browse, vote, and download user-created maps to play in their own versions of the game.

For more on the upcoming level editor, check out our earlier coverage.


Looks Like Left 4 Dead 2 is Running Officially on LinuxWhen tech guru and Linux fan Michael Larabel visited Valve yesterday, he promised more info and pics than simply saying Steam was coming to Linux. Looks like he's come through.

Larabel has posted images of Left 4 Dead 2 running natively on Linux, and says a release of Steam itself - likely in the form of a beta at first - should be later this year.

In addition to Left 4 Dead 2, selected because of its "stable code base", he says Valve will be bringing other titles to the platform as well.

We're still waiting to hear back from Valve for an official comment on the matter.

Valve's Gabe Newell Talks Linux Steam Client, Source Engine [Phoronix]


Valve's Gabe Newell Prefers Fans To Make Half-Life Movies, Not HollywoodJamie Russel's "Generation Xbox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood" revealed why the Halo movie failed. But Microsoft isn't the only company interested in crossmedia platforms for one of their most beloved franchises.

Valve seems like an easy choice for a Hollywood spotlight. The fictional universe and its characters are intriguing, and the fanbase is already established. We love soaking up new information, pictures, comics, rumors, animated shorts, cosplay...basically anything related to the Half-Life franchise.

So why hasn't Valve taken the opportunity yet? It's not as easy as picking up the phone and saying, "Hey, Hollywood person. Make my movie. *click*" Obviously Valve doesn't want someone to trample over their property. Speaking with Russel, Valve's mastermind Gabe Newell explains what the company's history with Hollywood has been so far:

Mostly people were just trying to vampire off of the success and popularity of the property, without any real understanding of what made it an interesting or successful property in the first place. The sense that we had was that if we went down the traditional route of licensing a property to a Hollywood studio, we would be losing control at that point. The fans were going to be ill-served 90% of the time. (Russel, 288)

"[Our customers] are telling us we don't have the luxury of just being a games company anymore."

And then sometimes the software developers get pitched with ideas so far off the map of actual Half-Life lore that it baffles them:

"This writer was trying to convince us that it'd be cool to have this new modern cavalry with these Kevlar-armoured horses charging across this field. It had absolutely nothing to do with what made Half-Life and interesting entertainment experience for our customers. It was just bizarre." (Russel, 288-289)

So why not just avoid the realm of film altogether? It seems Valve has their hands already full with development on future iterations (hopefully with 3s in their titles). Newell says they don't have that choice anymore.

"It's pretty clear that our customers are cross-media consumers. If they like a game, they want to see a movie; if they like a movie they want to be able to run around and shoot rockets off in those spaces. They are telling us we don't have the luxury of just being a games company anymore." (Russel, 289)

Then what's the solution? Newell thinks it's to reach out to the fans. Fans who understand their games, and appreciate the context enough to not take creative liberties by adding wacky things like Kevlar-clad horses. Valve has always been open to their community playing with mods and inventing new features for their games. So why not for a movie?

Valve's dedication is to their gamers, says Newell. Building these pieces of entertainment isn't about creating huge blockbuster openings (like Hollywood's method seems to be), but rather to service their customers. He even brings up the infamous Star Wars films helmed by George Lucas as an example:

If Lucasfilm had taken all the assets they had created for Star Wars: Episodes 1, 2 and 3 and released them to the fan community and said ‘you guys go and make three 90-minute movies', in aggregate the community would have built better movies than George Lucas did. I'm not being hyperbolic at all. I mean literally they would have made better, higher quality entertainment than he did. The key is to connect the dots for the community in terms of giving them the tools that they need. If you can mod a game like Half-Life 2, there's no reason why you can't mod a movie like The Phantom Menace. (Russel, 290)

"The key is to connect the dots for the community in terms of giving them the tools that they need."

Eventually, enlisting in fans is going to be the norm in the future. Eventually Hollywood will come around to it. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But Newell is firm in his belief that it's at least the right way.

"What's going to happen is that the Hollywood guys will start to realise that the creation of entertainment isn't a one-way experience where they have all the professional tools and giant budgets and everything flows downhill from there to the consumers. If they're collaborating and co-operating with their fanbases to create these entertainment experiences, you will see the same kinds of things occurring - most of it will be terrible but some of it will be brilliant." (Russel, 290-291)

Team Fortress 2's Sandvich is a delicious treat that helps your Heavy class gain health mid game.

As lowly, non-minigun-wielding citizens, we at least have the option of a sugary sandwich to eat. And I guess you can do so with a belt of bullets around your shoulders.

Rosanna has baked a bunch of other equally delicious looking treats in her series, Nerdy Nummies, which you can scope out on her Facebook page to find images like this one down below.

This Sandvich Won't Replenish Your Health, But It Does Look Delicious

"Surfing" is a strange little quirk that's long been available in the Counter-Strike series. Those wondering if it'll make the jump to the latest version, Counter-Strike: GO, yes, it has made the jump.

Player MitchellS has ported venerable CS map surf_greatriver_remix to Global Offensive, and has made it playable for those in the beta. You can see it in action in the video above.

"Surfing" dramatically changes the way you play the game. Join a surfing server and the corridor shooter you're used to playing disappears, replaced with something much faster and chaotic.

Port of the classic "surf_greatriver_remix" to Global Offensive [Game Banana, thanks Moskeeto!]


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