Wednesday, April 20, 2011
And it should be. It is the sequel to Portal, released for the PC in 2007, and a scant 3 years later on the Mac. It was added, as what some might have assumed as an afterthought at the time, to the Orange Box bundle. This box contained Half-Life 2, the HL2 add-on packs Episodes One and Two, and the perennial team-based shooter Team Fortress 2. It's safe to say that the Orange Box will be entered into the pantheon of gaming history as one of the greatest bundles ever sold.
Portal came from humble beginnings. It all started with Narbacular Drop, a senior thesis project by a team of students at DigiPen, the most august of video game design schools. ND stars Princess "No-Knees", cursed with the inability to jump and kidnapped and held prisoner by a demon in his dungeon. Turns out, however, that the dungeon is a sentient entity called Wally, and will allow the princess to form two holes, of differing colours, on any natural surface, which are then linked, allowing the princess to enter one and exit the other.
The DigiPen team operated under the moniker Nuclear Monkey Software, and at one career day at DigiPen some Valve people saw Narbacular Drop and requested a demonstration back at their headquarters. The team eventually was hired by Valve to professionalize the game, and the result was Portal, one of the most beloved video games of all time.
Here is a video of game play from Narbacular Drop, followed by a clip of what the concept has become with Portal 2.