I am not a gamer. That’s a confession, not a boast. There are a very limited number of games I’ve ever been able to finish. I don’t think I have the knack for them. I blame my attention span. For example, last weekend, The Other Lamm told me about a computer game he thought I would like. “The story’s not great,” he said, “but the puzzles are so much fun.” And that’s all he needed to say to convince me to avoid the game altogether. People have said similar things about films like Transformers and Avatar: not the best storytelling, but fantastic special effects. I never saw either film, and I have no regrets. Likewise, some games may be perfect in every other way, but story and characters are both the frosting and the cake to me. And in Portal, I gotta say, the cake was definitely NOT a lie. Hahaha! What? I had to do it. It was required by the board (don’t ask what board; just accept).
Anyway, Portal‘s story may not be all that different from your usual science-gone-awry computer game, but what Portal has that sets it apart for me is GLaDOS. Is she not the most amazing antagonist you’ve ever had the pleasure to hate? Honestly now, have you not known at least four or five people just like her? She’s beautiful. She’ll say the sweetest things while she tortures you. She’s the Mistress of Backhanded Compliments. I can’t get enough of her. And now I’m playing Portal 2, which is the most giggle-worthy sequel ever.
And just so this isn’t another gush post, I’ll mention that I play for team antagonist when it comes to storytelling. It isn’t that I want the antagonist to win, but I absolutely acknowledge that antagonists drive the story as much as, if not more than, “our hero”. And usually, I find the antagonist to be the more interesting character. So I often judge a story by the calibre of its villain. And GLaDOS is a German chocolate dream come true. I will never tire of solving puzzles while that sweet-voiced, sarcastic, super computer insults my efforts and demeans my character.
And just because it never gets old…