Team Fortress 2 and Episode Two may have been more anticipated elements of Valve's Orange Box offering, but it's the charmingly small Portal that's been getting a lot of attention in the last few days. MTV's Multiplayer blog thinks the game has the move of the year, and the Gamers with Jobs site offers up a convincing argument why Portal represents a significant step forward for storytelling in games: "Portal is an object lesson in interactive storytelling. We in the media are so fond of shaking our heads, scratching our beards and looking for the "art" in videogames. Well it's time for us all to shut the hell up. This is it. It's in this finely crafted, lovingly rendered piece of short-story literature. Honestly, I'd be surprised if the authors themselves see it as the accomplishment it is. It's a simple set of mechanics, a few pages of sound-booth dialog, a handful of textures and repetitive level designs. But then, a novel is only made up of 26 letters, black ink and white paper. And most artists of lasting brilliance don't recognize the importance of their own work. And how many now-revered musicians and painters died unknown and broke?" If you still haven't heard it, Jonathan Coulton's 'Still Alive' (the ending theme to Portal) has been in my head for over a week now. Just try to get it out of yours.
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