Here's my ARGumentative Essay take on all this for no one to read:
Is there some weight to the complaints regarding the ARG? YES.
The first two phases of the ARG were magnificent, groundbreaking and innovative; and brought to light many indie games of quality that plenty of people would have never tried.
The last phase, the GLaDOS@Home weekend countdown, was so bad... especially when compared to the rest of the ARG, that it left a bad taste in the mouth of MANY participants, myself included.
Where the previous phases were all about code cracking and clue hunting and finding the links between all the games, working together to further a common goal for the whole of the community... the last bit was a 4 day watch-the-grass-grow EXTRAVAGANZA.
Swapping out collaborative efforts for idling games for the whole weekend is a bizarre trade off. Where the prior weeks had ARG related clues and mysteries coming almost every hour, and people blowing up the Wiki to see what was going on now... this was just sit and wait. Open a game, don't even play it, stare at the IRC and Steam chatroom waiting for something more to happen and boggle at the sudden silence on the actual ARG front.
Is it our faults that we spent so much time over the weekend using our PCs to add hollow game time to counters that likely were set to release on Monday @ Midnight EST the whole time? Yeah, that's a fair cop. Fucking sucks, but we probably should have known better.
So there's that. Yeah, I'm still a little sore over it all, but that RAEG subsides with every awe-struck, gob-smacked moment I spend inside of the moist-warmth of fan-service greatness that is Portal 2.
My disappointment about how the ARG ended does not, and should not, transfer in any way to the perception of the game itself. They are only tangentially related.
I think all these bastards rating down the game itself are only making gamers look like precisely what Jim so eloquently stated: a bunch of spineless, dickless, SPOILED chumps.
There are myriad other ways to voice disappointment about the how the ARG ended, or how prizes for Golden Potatoes were meted out (if you really want to go there)... dishonestly down rating a masterful, wonderful game that was ultimately made FOR US- the gamer, the Portal enthusiast, the Valve fan- like a daycare revolt of petulant children is not the way, and only serves to harm our beloved industry. It only drives the wedge between the gaming community, and may possibly keep people who would really enjoy and appreciate Portal 2 from playing it.
Personally, I wouldn't want that on my conscience.