Saturday, December 8, 2007

I feel fantastic and I'm still alive.

So here's what's sweet about Portal. The first time your portal gun becomes fully operational, and you're able to create both sides of the wormhole, it takes you a little while to adjust mentally to this new ability, and rightly so--it's patently ridiculous (or at least outside of our brain's evolutionary history). The truly truly weird thing about it is how quickly you do get used to being able to tear holes in space, and how quickly you start to be able to make the logical leaps necessary to solve some of the seemingly trickier puzzles. Maybe it's all because I played it in one sitting (okay, one LONG sitting), but Fugu says the same thing. Of course, Fugu is better at games than me by a factor of about four, so maybe he's not the best sample. Anyway, it's pretty neat.

But the SAD thing; the DEPRESSING thing, is when you stop playing. You can't make the portals anymore, ladies and gentlemen. Stuff that was off limits is now still off limits. You have to walk up stairs. You sometimes have to go through rooms you don't need to be in to get to rooms that you do. And you have to actually cross these rooms.

It's sort of like after the first time you played GTA 3 at a friends house for seven hours straight, and then drove home. The car feels different. You feel different. More things are possible. (The analogy might be a bad one because while in real life, you can theoretically kill hookers to get your money back (which I'm not advocating; don't kill hookers, brothers and sisters) you probably won't be holding a working Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device any time soon. You get my point, though.)

The game pretty much hacks your brain to make think you can do things you can't. There are few games like this, at least that I've played. Psi-Ops is a notable example. You dudes ever play this? It had it's tedious moments, but it makes you feel you have real fucking psychic brain powers. Spider-Man 2 also wasn't bad in this respect, as long as you stick to just kind of screwing around, and avoid using any "special" moves, or trying to advance the plot.

I like games like this. Maybe it's not so important that Joust make you feel like you're flying a bird, or that Galaga make you feel like a mass murderer. Still, if you dudes know of any other games that do this to your head, I'd like to hear about them.

On a related note, I can't stop listening to the closing theme. Fugo posted it in the Second Universe, but I avoided it because of spoilers contained therein. Spoiler alert, btw.


galspanic said...

It's so imperative that you never ever ever everer play World of Warcraft.

Fugu said...

Ya, I can't think of anything I've played that reoriented the way I see reality quite as naturally and profoundly as Portal did. I often feel like playing it again just to get the fix, since reality has obviously failed us.

I had a similar experience after playing hours and hours of Katamari Damacy. I'd drive around and see a garbage can, or an obese family of five or a large mountain range, and I'd think, how big must my Katamari be to pick up all that shit? If you haven't played it in any of it's evolved forms, I hold it highly recommended. BTW: Awesome, double-plus song to be had here!

I can't really think of others, though I guess WoW is kind of like that... but it's more that I look around for cracks in the polygons around us that I might jump through to wander around where shit isn't completely developed yet. Like, I bet over that mountain range or inside that building it's all blocky and buggy and unfinished! That kind of thing. Panic can attest to me being all obsessed with that kind of thing in-game.

I can think of a book that rewired my brain in a similar way though--Verner Vinge totally warped my idea of reality with Fire Upon the Deep. I remember feeling uneasy about everything for a while after reading that book. In a good way, of course.

Mr. Pony said...

Evening naps do that to me.