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5:55 PM on 05.15.2011

I was having a discussion with a fellow Dtoider and our conversation came to a halt when I made a confession. Something shocking and disgusting. Something so unseemly and devastating that anyone with a weak stomach might want to turn off their monitor, unplug and gut their computer and shove a live grenade inside it's hollow frame.

I don't particularly like Valve.

I just don't.

However, I won't sit here and tell you that I don't respect what they've built. In fact, I find Steam to be one of the best game platforms (or content delivery platforms, to be technical) of all time. When it comes to the games themselves? Meh.

Never been a Half-Life or CS guy. Don't find the mechanics of Portal appealing, and the humor is well overplayed. I appreciate the comic elements of Team Fortress 2 but as a game I find it somewhat underwhelming. Left 4 Dead was fun but still, I thought it decidedly overrated.

See, I find many who wish to stake claim to being hardcore, a representative of the gaming "elite", will often cite one of Valve's latest offerings as a title that they:

a) Are currently playing
b) Completed and loved
c) Can refer to (and recreate) at least several memes from


I get it. Valve supports indies! They're witty and unique! Steam will one day allow you to pre-purchase your cafeteria food so that your lunch money won't wind up in the pockets of an obese Ginger who goes by O'Doyle! I get it! Really!

Maybe it's the latest "geek chic" and "nerdtastic" trends brought to you by Aaron Johnson, Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Cera and the entire cast of The Big Bang Theory, but it seems like many have been trying extra hard to be part of the core gaming crowd, or as I like to call it the "Core Scene". However, it's all come to a head just recently with the release of...

*echo effect*

The buzz is undeniable. For a while, on my Facebook feed, gaming couldn't be mentioned without Portal 2 being within the discussion. Maybe I just know way too many gamers but it felt uncanny. Even for figures within the industry, I found sort of funny that Portal 2 was one of the only titles people have been motivated to talk about lately. Is Portal 2 honestly that incredible? Or is everyone simply riding the coattails of dying memes, trying to be a member of the hipster subculture that new media has created.

I don't know. I likely never will know if Portal 2 is actually that impressive. I didn't like Portal 1 and nothing I've seen of Portal 2 entices me all that much so the incentive to give it a try simply does not exist. However, if you approached me with the desire to have a conversation about it, I'd almost be anticipating every word. To me, being a real gamer means loving gaming in general and respecting every facet of the industry.

And hey, at least people don't think we all look like this.

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