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Portal

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Portal 2 In Motion DLC arrives on PSN next week


Time to dig out the ol' PS Move controller
Nov 01
// Jordan Devore
As announced on the PlayStation Blog, the In Motion content for Portal 2 that was originally playable using the Razer Hydra motion controller will be releasing on PlayStation Network this Tuesday, November 6. You might recall...
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ThinkGeek's pint-sized Portal gun won't break the bank


Batteries not included
Oct 19
// Jordan Devore
With Halloween fast approaching, ThinkGeek's new Miniature Replica Portal Gun ($59.99) is going to be hard to resist. It's got appropriately colored LEDs, a working trigger, and movable claws. Parents, think about how much c...
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These custom gamer skirts make me mad I'm not a woman


Oct 03
// Tony Ponce
Have you ever gone into a Target or a Spencer Gifts, seen those gamer-themed boxers, and wondered (A) why such high fashion has to be concealed by pants and (B) why girls don't receive similar treatment? Maybe you haven't, bu...
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Valve: if Steam sales killed games, we wouldn't do them


Jul 17
// Jim Sterling
Valve has defended its policy of offering insane discounts during Steam sales, responding to Electronic Arts' hypocritical accusation that such discounts cheapen intellectual property. Business development boss Jason Hol...
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WizKids releasing a set of Portal 2 sentry turret figures


Jul 08
// Brett Zeidler
Out of all the memorable characters in the Portal universe, a personal favorite for most people has to be those lovable turrets that try to shoot your face off whenever you walk into the room. You almost feel bad about knocki...
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Valve brings Portal 2 to schools via 'Teach with Portals'


Jun 20
// Harry Monogenis
Thanks to Valve's newly released education program "Teach with Portals", schools will now have the opportunity to teach their students through Portal 2. No, really. Valve has taken Portal 2's recently released Perpetual ...

The 'geek' question: hobbyist vs. intellectual

Jun 20 // Ryan Perez
Gamer? My theory is that hobbyist geeks (gamers like us) tend to force a relation between themselves and scientific minds because both parties can sometimes live reclusive and socially awkward lifestyles, and also because intellectuals are generally admired by society during their adult years, whereas gamers are still usually seen as lazy and indolent. Because of the former, the temptation to adopt the latter is more prevalent. Albert Einstein used to piss his pants because he was too busy solving an equation, whereas I pissed myself because I was too busy wearing down that 2+ million HP boss. Score! We're so much alike! This is obviously something not exclusive to geek lifestyles. Plenty of people constantly associate themselves with other sources of admiration, whether or not they have a direct connection to that source. The truest form of this could be considered nationalism -- feeling a sense of pride for the accomplishments of individuals sharing your national identity and/or country of origin. If a term for this kind of behavior exists, I don't know it, so I'm just going to make one up for the sake of this study: Michael-Phelps-ism. It actually rolls right off the tongue, when you say it quickly. So the Michael-Phelps-ism regarding gamers/comic lovers and science geeks carries a rather obvious distinction. A hobbyist geek is someone who typically adopts pastimes and means of entertainment that are not only manageable without any sort of social interaction but also sometimes encourage it. The term "single player" is difficult to find in other avenues besides gaming. This is why the general public will often shy away from these hobbies (at least for now), no matter how fun they are. Plenty of evidence exists to back up the assumption that these hobbies can and will become mainstream eventually, but for the sake of this study, let us all agree that we're still the minority here. An intellectual geek, on the other hand, is someone who dedicates the majority of their personal time to study within one or several scholarly and scientific fields. Yes, this lifestyle often doesn't require anything past solitude as well, and sometimes encourages it, but we must not forget that it's easy to be a gamer, whereas it takes a lot of hard work to be a genius. Just because they have one or two things in common does not make them directly linked to each other. To sink down to my natural level here, I have a penis that works fairly well, but I'm not going to even pretend I could handle being a porn star, even if we have the same equipment. Therefore, I humbly tip my hat to the Bob McHawks and Richard McCrackins of the world and openly admit that they can do what I cannot. Just because I'm American doesn't mean I get to pat myself on the back for World War II. I may be ambidextrous, but that doesn't mean I can feel gratification over any of Shigeru Miyamoto's accomplishments. You get the idea. This was his reaction after Hamza and Niero invited me to join Dtoid. You'd think that would be enough, right? To many of you out there, I'm stating something as obvious as "birds fly, fish swim." But because hobbyists find a lot of comfort and validation in relating the effort it takes to play a game to the effort it takes to learn differential calculus, as well as the lifestyles associated with them, people will often ignore common sense to protect their reassuring views. Since critical thinking and deductive reasoning shatter these views, and since I love ruining people's blissful assumptions about life, I figured I'd take this a step further and gather some hard evidence. As stated before, I proposed two questions to the people at E3, be they exhibitors or attendees. The first set of questions were basic trivia that any typical gamers would know. Some examples: - In the popular puzzle game Portal, what are the two colors that your portals appear in? - What is the name of the main protagonist in Metal Gear Solid for the original PlayStation? - What is the common term for the diving suit-clad behemoths in the game BioShock? I know, these questions make you smack your forehead. You have to remember, though, that to know them requires us to be somewhat steeped in gaming culture -- especially if we've never played these games before. So anyone who doesn't really care about gaming (i.e. our parents), won't know what the hell a "Big Daddy" is ... besides some mothers, but that's a different story. On the flip side, however, I also asked these same people basic trivia that anyone mildly knowledgeable in the sciences would know. These are questions that the average person might forget by the time they exited high school but that an intellectual would know due to their learned lifestyle and the proximity of their peers. Examples are: - What is Newton's third law of motion? - What is the measure of acceleration of Earth's gravity? - What does the acronym "DNA" stand for, and what are the names of its four nucleotides? I know, some of you are smacking your foreheads again. But I must remind you that, while some of us gamers have retained this knowledge from our school days (those currently in grade school need not apply), the majority of people in the world require general scientific knowledge in the same sense that someone in New York City requires a car to get to work. If it's not necessary to get on with life at its most basic level, most individuals won't bother giving a shit. If I can't add or subtract in 2012, I'm pretty screwed, but if I can't name every element on the Periodic Table, what concern is that of mine? This fact is only more prevalent when I tally up the results of my E3 experiment. Gamers might know what this is from, but they sure as shit don't know what it means. I asked a total of 193 people one of the 15 questions in both categories. Why 193? Because I was at E3 doing the whole journalism thing -- going to appointments, demoing games, interviewing people, etc. -- thus I didn't have a lot of time to indulge this little experiment of mine. And because 194 can kiss my ass. We're not on good terms. Of the 193 people, 176 of them answered the "hobbyist" question correctly. Oddly enough, the most missed question was the one pertaining to the portal colors ... even though the answer is on the cover of Portal 2. Eh, people are weird. Among those same individuals, only 36 answered the "intellectual" questions correctly. The most commonly missed question of this category: Approximately how old is the planet Earth, according to modern science? Good thing Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't read gaming blogs. He'd probably be a bit disappointed at that result, especially considering the common geek's love for time travel and planetary matters. So what does all this mean? Well, essentially, they are not us and we are not them. As much as we love to consider ourselves the same as the weird, quirky academic champions who the majority of the world respects, we simply have less in common with them than we like to assume. The necessary fundamentals that make up a gamer and a genius are just too different. It doesn't take smarts to be a gamer, any more than it takes dexterity to be a theoretical physicist. This is also not an asthma inhaler, even though lungs are involved. It's not difficult for one to see how such a misconception can exist, though. Plenty of us gamers are old and passionate enough to have had childhoods where we were constantly criticized and belittled for our geeky hobbies on a regular basis. It only makes sense that plenty would develop the habit of looking at venerated scholars who likely suffered similar childhoods and thinking, "He too was teased yet ended up awesome. I must be as well." Also, at one point, the very nature of science fiction (before it became more mainstream) appealed to the aspiring scientific minds of the future, regarding what they could eventually accomplish and create. So some of what we gamers love today did previously appeal mainly to actual bookworms. Unfortunately, that just doesn't seem to be the case these days. Now, the expected thing for me to do here is go off on anyone who consistently falls into this habit of misguided association. As easy as that would be (plus, I think I sort of already did it at the head of this feature), that's not really the point of this article. Feeling some small sense of pride for other people's accomplishments -- though a bit dishonest -- doesn't really hurt anyone. In fact, most athletes enjoy a good fan club (it usually results in a higher paycheck). No, I'm not here to be a complete dick by calling everyone out on their bullshit; I'm here to be a half-dick by proving that their bullshit is indeed bullshit. I merely wanted to uncover a particular aspect of the gamer/geek identity, and, what the hell, I also wanted to provide a bit more perspective on the constituents of this young and ever-growing industry. My theories are indeed still theories, and there's no way for me to prove exactly why gamers act the way they do most of the time. But I do think I've provided some decent evidence that we're not so much like the inquisitive individuals who we revere so much and a lot more like the basic, average folks whom we attempt to distinguish ourselves from. We just happen to enjoy a relatively unpopular pastime at the moment, that's all. Get rid of the gaming paraphernalia, and you can fill in the blank with anything. Finally, before any of you ask, "If your goal was to affiliate gamers with 'normal' people, then why didn't you ask the general population these same questions?" That wasn't my goal, though I did consider that. I then thought to myself, "Wait a minute, what if the walking accidents at the Pinkberry and Apple Store know the correct answers to the science questions?" A lot of gamers would probably find that rather depressing, including myself. In fact ... if you'll excuse me, I need to go Google whatever the fuck Newton's third law is.
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The one thing that has always bugged me the most about sports is the use of the word "we." As in, "We won!" No, you didn't win, John Sofaturd from Nothingsville, Ohio. You didn't do anything except sit on your ass and obtain ...

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Don't you wish you could buy these LEGO Portal concepts?


Jun 19
// Tony Ponce
Well, too friggin' bad. A four-man team dubbed Team Jigsaw designed these concepts and submitted them to the LEGO CUUSOO initiative, where supporters have a chance to vote on which ideas are made into physical sets -- this is...
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Videogame-inspired gas masks? Now I've seen everything!


May 26
// Tony Ponce
Brian Cargile is another talented young artist with an extreeeeemely specific area of expertise. As you can see, he specializes in masks: gas masks, goggles, full face masks, you name it. As a one-man costume design house cal...
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Feast of Fiction proves that the cake is *sigh* not a lie


May 13
// Tony Ponce
Gaaaaaaaaaah! Another Portal cake reference! Kill it with fire! Kidding! I can't stay mad at Jimmy and Ashley. They pull off such magical feats week after week, concocting delicious delicacies that tantalize my taste buds. B...
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Portal 2 Perpetual Initiative serves 1.3 million tests


May 11
// Conrad Zimmerman
Released just this week, the Perpetual Testing Initiative expansion to Portal 2 has already resulted in a success of some kind. No, no. Don't tell me. I'll figure out the appropriate adjective eventually. More than 35,0...
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What has science done!? The Portal turret is real!


May 10
// Tony Ponce
I'd like to think that Cave Johnson is a professor at Penn State University, culling the student body for the next great Aperture Science minds. That would most likely explain why YouTuber kss5095 decided to build a fully fu...
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Atlas and P-Body toys will soon enrich your pitiful lives


Apr 28
// Tony Ponce
The first product of the Valve / threeA Toys team-up was this weird Companion Cube duck creature. The next set of goodies is thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) a little more normal. At the ReVenture ...
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Valve to release Portal 2 level editor May 8


Apr 26
// Conrad Zimmerman
Starting next month, the possibilities for portal puzzles become as infinite as spaaaaaaaaace. Valve has announced a new update for Portal 2 which will arrive on May 8. The "Perpetual Testing Initiative" will give player...
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Coming soon: A Companion Cube / mutant duck thing


Mar 22
// Tony Ponce
The other week, threeA Toys announced a partnership for a series of goodies based on Valve properties. As a refresher, threeA has made some pretty sick stuff in the past, like that $400+ Metal Gear Rex figurine. The company w...
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You guys have heard of Kim Swift, right? Creator of Portal, former designer at Valve, and all-around badass? I interviewed her last week after getting some hands-on time with Airtight Games's upcoming downloadable title ...

Preview: Brain busting goodness in Quantum Conundrum

Mar 12 // Dale North
Quantum Conundrum (PC, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: Airtight GamesPublisher: Square EnixRelease: Summer 2012 The game centers around an Interdimensional Shift Device that the player uses to navigate the twisted house of a crazed scientist. Players work through this home in a first-person view, pushing through puzzles that have them changing dimensions to manipulate objects in the rooms. The fun comes with learning how each of the four strange dimensions change material properties, and things get crazy when players need to alternate between two or more dimensions to solve puzzles.  Take the Fluffy Dimension, for instance. One of the first puzzles I encountered had me switching to this dimension to make heavy safes as light as cotton. I was then able to lift the safe to place it on a switch, and then switch back to the normal world to have its weight come down to press the switch and open the door. Easy, right? Later puzzles require a bit more thinking, like one that had me picking up a safe in the Fluffy Dimension, throwing it, and then quickly switching to the normal dimension while it was still in mid-air, sending the properly weighted version through a glass pane so that I could continue to another room. Or, throwing cardboard boxes and then switching to a heavier dimension to give them weight, also breaking glass. Scoffing at my need for Swift's guidance? Try this one on: You may need to use a safe as transportation. You'd do this by switching to the fluffy dimension, then lifting and throwing a safe, switching to the slow motion dimension, jumping on it, and riding on top of it. If you needed to actually control the safe's movement, you could by switching between the standard dimension and a reverse gravity dimension.  Many of the game's puzzles are just like this, requiring you to really think about each of the four dimensions and how they can manipulate things in the rooms. Adding another layer of complexity is the need for one-time-use battery packs that fuel the Interdimensional Shift Device, and many of the room's puzzles have you working to access these packs first before tackling dimensional shifting. Combine item acquisition, dimensional shifting, the combining of dimensions, some basic first-person platforming and you have game that's likely to wring out every last bit of brain juice you have. Swift seemed to take a cruel joy in my struggles, laughing out loud at my failed attempts, though she was glad to eventually help out when I got stuck.  Quantum Conundrum has a quirky vibe that pairs nicely with its unique gameplay. The overall look of the game is a bit young and cartoony, but there's a charm to it that people of any age should enjoy. Sharp eyes will notice strange details in the setting that change with the dimension. The game's guiding narration is also quite funny and sometimes a bit off-the-wall. In one hallway, moving between rooms, the narrator randomly stated that he missed keytars and thought that they made everything better.  Influences from Swift's first game, Portal, can definitely be found in Quantum Conundrum. But while Portal focused on manipulating the entrances and exits of rooms and how momentum could carry through them, Quantum goes way beyond that by playing with how the physical properties of the contents of rooms can be changed on the fly, making for more complex and creative puzzles. It's a bigger and badder brain buster presented in a charming wrapper, and I can't imagine anyone that enjoyed Portal not digging it.  
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I had the pleasure of working through my first Quantum Conundrum play session with the help of its Creative Director, Kim Swift. After helping create Valve hit games Portal and both Left 4 Dead titles, Swift moved o...

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Live show: Introducing Weekend Escape with Brett and Cait


Mar 10
// Brett Zeidler
[Check out Weekend Escape every Saturday over on Destructoid's Twitch.tv channel at 12pm Pacific with Destructoid Contributors Brett Zeidler and Caitlin Cooke  as they play through entire games with a focus on co-op. It...
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New fan game gives Mario a friggin' Portal gun


Mar 03
// Tony Ponce
Hey guys! Remember this Mario / Portal crossover video? Looked like fun, didn't it? I wish we could play that for realsies, though... Wait a sec! You CAN! Oh boy! Indie studio Stabyourself has just released Mari0 (that's a z...
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ThinkGeek's PotatOS is GLaDOS in a friggin' potato


Feb 10
// Tony Ponce
Back in December, ThinkGeek rolled out a big line of Portal 2 tie-in merchandise, from an Aperture Labs shower curtain to the super popular talking Cave Johnson portrait. The weirdest item, however, was definitely the PotatO...
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Valve begins hyping something (HALF-LIFE 3 CONFIRMED OMG)


Dec 12
// Jim Sterling
This past Saturday, Valve released a video featuring Portal 2 antagonist Wheatley. Unsurprisingly, the Internet descended upon it with icepicks and magnifying glasses, ready to take it apart and examine every frame for clues ...
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Custom Portal Gun is all flashy and glowy


Dec 05
// Tony Ponce
Destructoid has homeboys and homegirls all over the world. Do you ever stop to think how rad that is? Henriquegds, a community member hailing from Brazil, wanted to share some love for his friend LauraSan's custom-built Porta...
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Someone at ThinkGeek really enjoyed Portal 2


Dec 02
// Jordan Devore
ThinkGeek is making good use of its licensing agreement with Valve by introducing nine Portal 2-themed products. We're a little obsessed with the game as well, so it's all good. I was quite certain nothing would top the ridic...
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Black Friday: Rayman Origins $30 at GameStop, much more


Nov 23
// Brett Zeidler
We're just two days away from Black Friday. Everything has culminated up to this point. While everyone else is sifting through the piles of ads looking for the best deals after eating two platefuls of turkey, you've already g...
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The coolest bedroom you will never have


Nov 22
// Victoria Medina
James Farr, possibly the coolest dad ever, likes Portal, and so does his son. So they gave his bedroom and adjoining bathroom a themed makeover. This isn't the first time that a fan has expressed incredible creativ...
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Real-life, speaking Cave Johnson portraits from ThinkGeek


Nov 08
// Jordan Devore
ThinkGeek, the fine merchant of fairly affordable Internet treasures, is preparing a new item which will be of interest to Portal 2 fans. It's a portrait of Aperture Science's Cave Johnson that spouts off thirteen quotes fro...
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GLaDOS makes the iPhone 4S better


Oct 08
// Tony Ponce
Apple recently showcased the Siri personal assistant software for use with the new iPhone 4S. Apple missed a great opportunity to collaborate with Aperture Science for the vastly superior GLaDOSiri app. This is sooooo much better. Apple - Introducing GLaDOSiri on iPhone 4S [YouTube]
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Free Portal 2 DLC on Steam, Xbox 360, and PS3 next month


Sep 30
// Jordan Devore
The long-awaited free add-on content for Portal 2 has been in the works for what feels like a long time, but Valve has reassuring news on that front: it's hitting Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam next month. And by "...
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Yay for learning! Portal is free until September 20th


Sep 16
// Maurice Tan
It's fun enough to learn to think with portals, but there's arguably little in existence that is more fun than learning with the Portal games as an educational tool. As long as you don't have to hear that damn song ever agai...
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Steam Trading exits beta, now supports more games


Sep 06
// Jordan Devore
Just the other day, I was pondering why I hadn't tinkered with Steam Trading much yet. It allows you to swap full games (if they are Steam gifts) and in-game items with other players. As of today, the feature is no longer in ...

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