We aren’t the only ones!


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Eric Wolpaw Discusses Portal 2

Kotaku has a video that shows Erik Wolpaw, the writer of Portal, discussing portal 2.

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Criticizing Game Criticism


Don’t know how many people will actually see this, but I hope at least Professor Sample does.

A game designer by the name of Dan Cook maintains this blog called lostgarden where he talks about the sorts of games he makes, in terms of the process of development and design, as well as what he would like to see out of the industry in the future.  We’ve talked about game criticism and the study of games the whole semester, and I believe we even touched upon the idea that games need some sort of “art critics” to be considered art.  However, Cook wants critics who understand the process of game development, and will push the medium forward.  Not simply “this feels right” or “I don’t like this” but hard evidence.  Not just “well this seems like film” but “this is how video games are.”  He actually makes a nod to Koster in his article, which made me feel excited and informed.
Still, people are starting to get pretty fired up about his claim that one should be a game designer to give a good critique of games as a medium.  What I assume he means is that you need to know how a medium works in order to critique it.  While I have not been the producer for any CDs, I can play reasonably well, and thus can offer a much deeper critique than someone who does not know a fortissimo from an accelerando.  Even if you can not play music, it is helpful to know musical terminology, the essence of what goes into the craft, when trying to critique it.
The comments are getting pretty flame-like, but I would like to see what other people have to say about this, especially Prof. Sample.  Please read the comments on the post before commenting, if you choose to do so, and keep it civil.

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Tetris Portal Hybrid

Tetris Portal HybridDe-stress a bit from finals and just laugh at how awesome this is!! There is a playable version online if you actually want to play. At least you can’t lose! XD

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Exhibit Contribution #2

For some reason (probably because we are all on the site at the same time), nothing I try to add to The Portal Exhibit is showing up! Very frustrating. So, I am going to put what I wrote on here to “call dibs”. I wrote the exhibit description for Marketing and Game Industry Context.

From its humble beginnings as an accompaniment to four other games bundled together within The Orange Box, Portal quickly gained popular approval and a large fan base after its release in late 2007. Realizing its potential to become a phenomenon within videogame culture, Valve Corporation began a marketing campaign to attract seasoned gamers and newcomers alike. Videos, merchandise, events—the list of promotional materials was extensive. Additionally, offering Portal at discounted rates for a short period of time, or offering it for free if purchased with other games, was but one of the numerous strategies employed by the Valve Corporation to attract buyers and, subsequently, increase demand. Truly, this approach of reinforcing Portal’s popularity after its release illustrates the uniqueness and success of Portal’s induction into the gaming industry.

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Working with Omeka’s Exhibits

Here’s a good introduction to building exhibits on Omeka.

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Marketing and Game Industry Context

Here are the sections our group have created (and claimed). If you would like to add on to one of these sections, please talk to the person in parentheses.

  • Why just xbox, computer, playstation? Why exclude wii? (Kevin)
  • Sales; how much spent v. how much made; portal 2 (Sonia)
  • Timeline of merchandise (Nicole)
  • Orange box evolution (Chloe)
  • Advertising; target audience (Ryan)
  • Effects of advertising; potato sack; portal 2 (Katie)
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Use this link to get dropbox http://db.tt/FHfqdUq it will give you extra space.

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“Why Portal?”

I am tackling the “Why Portal?” question from the two other exhibit aspects: the narrative and the popular response. 🙂

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Why portal work breakdown

For working on Why Portal we broke it into four sections: Development of Portal, The Narrative of Portal, The Marking and Game Industry Context, Popular Response to Portal.

I will be taking The Markiting and Game Industry Context, as well as Development.

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here’s my group’s organization
Narbuncular Drop to Portal
level plans
Characters (audio and screen shot) (You, GLaDOS, Cubes, Turrets, Dead Guy)
Diegetic World (Graphics (surface texture), Typography, Ambient noise)
Story (Timeline, Aperture Science)
outside materials (Orange Box)
Valve-sanctioned merchandise
Alternate Reality Game ?
fanmade (merchandise, costumes, videos)
I’d suggest that we should make the exhibit less an exhaustive record of what Portal is, and more an explanation/exploration of why Portal is important.  This way, the exhibit is less of “Portal is cool!” and more of “this is why Portal is cool.”  I think it’s a lot more academic (examining gaming elements), useful (what Portal did well that you can do too), and interesting (this is why you like Portal).  Using this purpose we can narrow our focus (I’d suggest emphasizing how the Puzzels, Story, Graphics, and Marketing are important as shown by the incredible fan response.  Of course these other areas are important, but if they don’t directly relate to why Portal is special, we could refer to them in a couple sentences rather than devoting an entire collection to them.)
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Possible Exhibits

My group thought that it would be kind of cool to arrange the exhibits in a manner similar to the gameplay of Portal. So, consistent with the 19 Test Chambers of the game, I tried to come up with 19 Exhibits for us to group our items in. They are semi-chronological, which gives the overall exhibit some organization and flow. I won’t start moving/grouping items until some of you give me some feedback on this idea….

Origins and Precursor Elements

The Developers

Game Platforms

Technical Data

Movement and Physics of Gameplay


Use of Sound

In-Game Screenshots


Other Significant Objects

Alternate Versions

Feedback of Players

Awards and Accolades

Portal in the News

The Cake Fanfare

The Companion Cube Fanfare

“Still Alive” Fanfare

Fan-Made Items

Portal 2 and Beyond

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Portal Fan Art

Here’s a website that is fan based and has a lot of different fan made art about Portal that was cool to look at.

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If Mario Had a Portal Gun…


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Nobody’s Perfect

Goofs in Portal

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