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Post Tagged with: portal

It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction….

It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction….

It is often said that video games are a lonesome activity, played by geek kids alone in their bedroom.

Well, not the fantastically puzzling Portal 2. My copy was finally delivered just before the Royal Wedding, and I spent a fair bit of that four-day weekend (after the baby had been looked after) playing it while my darling wife offered backseat gamer help, support and an extra pair of eyes. Indeed, while holding the baby and not playing it, we’d be discussing potential solutions. For a couple of particularly tricky levels, she’d read the cheat guide and just offer me morsels of hints and tips until I saw the solution with my own eyes. Indeed, it inspired her to write a post about the gamer parent

Now that I’ve actually finished the game in just under 4 days – the only game I’ve ever finished to completion – and the buzz from the game has dropped down to acceptable levels, I’ve got a few observations and quibbles about the final part of the game…

When game geekdom goes mainstream

When game geekdom goes mainstream

Weighted Companion Cube cake

There are various phrases that mean nothing to most of the population, but if you whisper it, some people’s eyes light up…

  • Weighted Companion Cube
  • Aperture Science
  • the cake is a lie

These all relate to a fantastic game called Portal, released in 2007. It’s a small physics-based 3D puzzler, but it really does suck you into its world and the sense of accomplishment you get after finishing one of its twenty puzzles is – well, I haven’t had that sense since my A-Level Maths homework. The game has risen and risen in cult popularity, to the point when poor wives of Portal addicts are reduced to four hours of work in baking a Weighted Companion Cube cake for their birthday.

So it was a bit of a shock to be walking through Westfield London – a shopping mall far better known for its unceasing range of dull fashion and beauty shops – and find a demo stand dedicated to showing off Portal 2, the sequel to this stunning game. Almost as much of a shock as it was for the poor tweenagers who saw a new game, but couldn’t figure out who they needed to shoot or run over to play.

So, there’s a new game that I want to play come mid-April. How am I going to grapple with turrets AND a four-month-old baby at the same time? I haven’t even picked up the controller since Alex oozed out – and the Wii and Goldeneye still sit forlornly in the corner… maybe this idea will help

But in the meantime, let’s hear that fab Portal finale song again:

Celebrating my birthday with a Portal Companion Cube cake

Celebrating my birthday with a Portal Companion Cube cake

HyperHam's Weighted Companion Cube cake

Like many people born around Christmas or New Year, I’m rather loathe to publically celebrate my birthday. Most people are usually far too busy shopping, or being drunk, or being hungover, or being poor, to even turn up for a pint, let alone anything else – so over the years, I’ve stopped grumbling and made no public acknowledgement of my birthday. Indeed, on my various social media profiles, I’ve put in fake birthdays just to ensure nobody actually knows when my birthday is.

Aside from my lovely wife HyperHam of course. In previous years, she’d organised a surprise birthday video and even a surprise pre-birthday dinner gathering, which turned into a bit of a social faux pas disaster. But this year (2010) would be the first time we’d actually be together for my birthday.

So she baked me a cake. But not just any old cake. Nope.

A Weighted Companion Cube cake from one of my favourite games, Portal. (If you haven’t played it, play it – it’s the best physics puzzler you’ll get, with a sardonic sense of humour).

Of course, baking a cake isn’t easy – baking a cake that’s the size of a cube that requires three layers is even harder. After spending 5 hours making the cake – bearing in mind she was 8 months pregnant at the time – she literally presented me with a glorious cake, and then collapsed on the sofa and fell dead asleep. I had one slice, and the ensuing sugar rush also sent me to sleep. But it was delicious and looked gorgeous – and what more do you want from a cake?

Anyway, here’s Hyperham’s instructions on how to make a Weighted Companion Cube Cake.

The best game EVER … is now free. Till May 24th.

The best game EVER … is now free. Till May 24th.

Seriously, run – don’t walk – and download Portal for free.

It’s the game that burns twice as bright but half as long as most games. It’s the game that gives a 3D shine to essentially a fiendishly clever mind-blowing puzzle game. It’s got more character than most Hollywood films, it brizzles with tension, and it’s more hilarious than Matrix: Revolutions.

Go. Download. It. Now.

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