Today Newsweek's N'Gai Croal and MTV's Stephen Totilo conclude another of their fascinating email correspondences, this time surrounding Valve's recently released Portal
. In part one, the two journalists explored the power of minimalism
in gaming, and why that 'less is more' attitude worked so well. Part two saw the pair wrestling with some fundamental disagreements
about the nature of character in the game. In today's finale, the twosome addresses the game's brief length
, and how that made the game all the better. "What's great about Portal's approach is that suggestive spareness of the plot and the absence of characterization leaves us plenty of room to fill in the blanks with our imagination, which, when supported by a framework as precisely and elegantly thought out as it is here, delivers a more powerful final product than many other games that give us plenty of characterization and story but precious little genuine mystery ... Portal goes one step further and questions the very nature of the person thing giving us those orders; like you said, Valve's puppeteering of its players."