portal: still alive

Level Up : MTV News Stephen Totilo Vs. Level Ups NGai Croal on Portal. Round 1–Fight

No one looks at the camera in Portal and cowers in fear. No one looks dreamily in love. No one jumps out of a flaming car at the last minute or saves someone from falling off a cliff by catching their wrist. No one looks at the sky and yells. No one strikes a heroic pose while standing across the room from the villain. No one stares at the lead character and poorly lip-syncs an info dump.

Portal bears none of the signs that in modern games signify that storytelling is being attempted. And yet it tells a tale. It makes the player care. At least, it made me care.

The game defines characters. More importantly it reveals characters in an artful way. Did GLaDOS wind up being exactly who you thought she was when the game began? Did your understanding of her character change? If so, when did it change? I dont recall a pivotal moment. Instead, my understanding of her developed slowly, somewhat subtly. This is advanced stuff for an interactive experience, especially one that offers little interactivity in how the story is told.

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