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Portal 2

LEGO Dimensions photo
LEGO Dimensions

LEGO Dimensions has Chris Pratt, the Doctor, and the Companion Cube

And a partridge in a pear tree
May 11
// Joe Parlock
LEGO Dimensions is a game we all know is going to be absolutely huge. It's little, way too expensive LEGO with Disney Infinity glued on to it, and if that doesn’t print money I don’t know what will. Despite that, ...
Portal: Outside Influence photo
Portal: Outside Influence

After five long years, Portal: Outside Influence nears completion

Morris' labor of love also features some of my favorite industry personalities!
Feb 08
// Rob Morrow
It seems like we were just posting about Portal mods the other day, doesn't it? Well, we've got another one for you to look at today, but there's a quite a bit more going on under the surface of this stel...
Portal Stories: Mel photo
Portal Stories: Mel

Portal Stories: Mel mod gets a teaser, coming soon

Now THIS is my kind of downloadable content
Jan 31
// Rob Morrow
Portal Stories: Mel is a lovely-looking community-made mod for Portal 2 that's due out sometime in Q1 2015, according to the title's store page. The lengthy 20+ level mod will feature a new protagonist called ...
Story Bundle photo
Story Bundle

The eBook Video Game Bundle is out now

There's some great titles on the rise and fall of SEGA and Atari available
Apr 04
// Alasdair Duncan
The previous videogame-themed collection of eBooks from Story Bundle kept me well read for quite some time, so I'm more than ready to dip into the new 3.0 bundle. There's some really eye-catching titles in the bundle, includi...

Portal 2 free DLC photo
Portal 2 free DLC

Portal 2 gets some free DLC on the PS3

Sweet, d00d!
Jun 07
// Chris Carter
People often love Valve because they're the company that keeps on giving. Today, you'll be able to bottle some of that love in the form of free Portal 2 DLC, exclusively for the PS3 version of the game. The DLC is said to be...

Trends of this Generation: Gamification

Feb 19 // Daniel Starkey
The Xbox 360 got the ball rolling on gamification with Gamerscore. Sony and Valve added their own achievement tracking systems. Each of these companies, in one form or another began rewarding players for in-game accomplishments with a cute sound effect and a small bit of text. There’s a lot of commentary and discussion about whether or not achievements and systems to track them have been good or bad for the industry as a whole; there can be no doubt that Valve, Microsoft and Sony have some major precedents, creating, in essence extrinsic motivators for in-game tasks. “Gamification.” People devote quite a bit of time to explaining and trying to understand how achievements can be used to encourage certain kinds of actions for the player. Since the discussion began among academics and game designers, countless people have implemented these subtle psychological tricks into their systems and into their software, especially in the realm of social media. Websites like Klout and the prevalence of social games have only accelerated the spread of these techniques. Hell, Raptr even gamified games themselves.  Gamification is used to help add to traditional MMOs, free to play games, not to mention the potential real-world applications. It’s a big world out there. And, bit by bit, we’re turning it into one big game. I'll admit to falling into the gamification trap, to a degree. Earlier this generation I was steered way from Wii games because there was no way to track my progress and show it off to friends. I use services like Yelp to try to get some of the badges, and that encourages me to check-in everywhere and earn coupons.  These kinds of achievements are a sort-of sucker punch to our ancient monkey brains. They use little traits that we have picked up over the years to help us combat laziness. When we receive small rewards for things, we're more likely to keep doing them. It help keeps us engaged and active, and is a small safeguard against boredom.  The issue here is one that relates to a lot of free-to-play titles, in that players are drawn in, then kept there by manipulating the natural way their brains are wired. It is disingenuous and manipulative, but as I see more and more studios closing their doors or getting bought up by the juggernauts, I can't help but think that for many it's their only choice.  Achievements and such aren't universally bad, though. Valve, forever the innovator, has layered them into its games in ways that encourage exploration, unique ways of play or even using them to reinforce the events of a game.  For example, in Half-Life 2 there's quite a few achievements for finding random things. This is used to encourage more lateral thinking as well as exploration of the environment. In Portal 2 (minor spoilers ahead) there's a chapter called "This is the part where he kills you," a character that says "This is the part where he kills you," and right before "he" kills you, an achievement pops-up with the same message. Similarly, at the end of the game, there's an achievement called "Lunacy" with the text "That just happened." Anyone who has finished the game knows just how ridiculous that scene is, and having that little friendly sound effect accompanied by some hilarious text, only serves to reinforce the experience.  Achievements are something I guess I've learned to live with. I don't really like them, but at the same time, having some method of tracking progress on a website like Fitocracy has actually been pretty good for me overall. I've used gamification to my own advantage whenever possible and I feel like I'm steadily becoming a better person because of it. That said, I know now to avoid those products which I feel will try to manipulate me into investing more than I am ready or willing to.
Gamification photo
Achievement unlocked!
Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that ...

Games to play with your boyfriend on Valentine's Day

Feb 14 // Caitlin Cooke
Portal 2 Who doesn't love to play adorable robots that can hug and high-five each other all day long? Atlas and P-body are like mini versions of your relationship, only they’re more prone to falling off ledges! For those of you new to the co-op portion of the game, GLaDOS, your evil (or maybe just misunderstood) A.I. guide leads you and your partner through various rooms in order to retrieve data disks for a certain unknown but most likely evil purpose. Portal 2 is a great way to bond with your boyfriend, especially if you’re both into puzzle-solving hijinks! Saints Row: The Third Nothing says “I love you” like taunting your boyfriend with a big fat purple dildo. Saints Row: The Third is the sandbox game you wished for and finally received -- it’s fantastically silly, loads of fun, and extremely self-aware. To be honest, I haven’t played through much of the game because I’m too busy doing stupid stuff like skydiving out of airplanes and crashing parties, but from what I've seen it’s the perfect game to play with that someone special. So, what are you waiting for? THQ isn't getting any younger…oh wait. Torchlight II Surprisingly, killing lots of things can be delightfully romantic. Created by members of the original Diablo II team, Torchlight II pays homage to those long lost yet reawakened hack-n-slash dungeon-running games. The music will give you all kinds of nostalgic lady boners, and you even get to choose your own pet, ranging from a panther to a random made-up animal like the Chakawary, featured above. As an added bonus, you and your boyfriend no longer need to fight over loot -- you both get your own! Gone are the days of “No, honey, YOU take One-eyed Willy’s Other Eye!” Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game This Valentine’s Day, you and your boyfriend should wreck the s*@$ out of Ramona’s 7 evil exes. Why? Because nothing says romance like kicking some side-scrolling ass to amazing chiptune music, that’s why! Even if you haven’t read the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels (which if you haven’t, you totally should) the game is a blast. The sprites are adorable and the game puts a totally unique spin on traditional side scrolling beat-em-ups by just being…completely silly. My personal favorite characters to play are Scott and Kim - they were meant to be together anyway, right? Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed Go back to your roots and share something special with your significant other, like your favorite Sega characters! AiAi, Beat, B.D. Joe, Tails are just some of the few playable characters which you can level up. Even better, the levels in this game are insanely immersive -- in addition to your standard driving you can also fly and float your way through the track (which, by the way, often falls to pieces during the last lap). Racing Transformed will soon win your heart and become your go to "kick your boyfriend's ass" game.  You Don’t Know Jack Boyfriend doesn't game much? You Don’t Know Jack is the ticket - everyone loves a super difficult, zany trivia game. The only catch is that you’ll probably end up as an ex-couple by the end of it. Every round contains 10 questions plus a few bonus rounds, and a “Wrong Answer of the Game” in which you have to keep your eyes peeled for an answer related to the “sponsor” (which can be anything from Banana Toasters to Granny’s Roach Butter). Overall YDKJ is a quick and fun way to enjoy each other's company this V-day. Plus, who doesn't love a game where you get to screw your significant other? Honorable Mention: Having your boyfriend cuddle up and watch you play Condemned…in the dark. 
Games to play w/ your boo photo
Romance is just a game away!
Valentine's Day isn't always about getting taken out to dinner and receiving fancy treats and trinkets. Okay, well maybe it is, but who's to say that you can't get a little gaming on the side? Consider spending some quality time with your boyfriend by reeling him into the following co-op games. If he resists, consider your future with him wisely...

GlaDOS movie voice photo
inSANE is also nearing a publisher
If you've seen the trailer for Guillermo Del Toro's upcoming film, Pacific Rim, you might notice a little someone popping in to lend a guest voice. Yep, Portal's classic crazed computer GlaDOS is making a cameo...


Steam Workshop's one-year anniversary has arrived!

How will you celebrate? With a TF2 hat or new Portal 2 level, perhaps?
Oct 22
// Jason Cabral
In one year's time, what started off as an easier way for players to access new user-created content for Team Fortress 2 has grown to encompass more than just sweet hats and guns, with a touch of J.C. Leyendecker or...

Valve update adds co-op puzzles to Portal 2 level creator

Aug 16
// Conrad Zimmerman
Aperture Science's "Perpetual Testing Initiative" has just undergone a major expansion. An update for Portal 2 released today which allows users to now create puzzles requiring cooperative play to add to the more than 17...

E3: 'Portal 2 in Motion' DLC supports PlayStation Move

Jun 05
// Fraser Brown
Portal 2's latest DLC installment, "Portal 2 In Motion," is being shown on the E3 show floor today. It includes the same levels from the DLC for the Razor Hydra controller and offers players a more tactile experienc...

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...

A message to all Aperture employees from Boss Man Johnson

May 08
// Raz Rauf
Mr. Cave Johnson, CEO of Aperture Science, recently issued a message to all his employees, confirming the existence of the Perpetual Testing Initiative (PeTI), and its status being operational as of now. In the message, rath...

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 ...


In-game Portal 2 map editor planned for next year

Oct 21
// Jordan Devore
Valve has divulged what's next for Portal 2, following the recent release of the "Peer Review" add-on: "an easy-to-use" map editor that's expected to come out in early 2012. This editor will hopefully push crowdsourcing a ste...

Storm's Adventure with Crysis 2 and Portal 2

Oct 06
// Storm Dain
Sequel time!  For the originals, here's Crysis and Portal. I've learned my lesson.  Crysis joins the list of franchises I'll never touch again.  That's not to say Crysis 2 was a bad game.  Just a bad all ...

Final part of Portal 2 soundtrack now free to download

Oct 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
Have you ever heard of drip marketing? The idea behind it is that you have an asset that people want, often information but it could be anything, and you keep people engaged with you and the product you're marketing by slowly...

GameCity launches new video game award

Sep 16
// Fraser Brown
GameCity, the annual video game festival in the UK, has launched an award which it hopes will become the "Turner Prize" for games. Festival director, Iain Simons, started the event in 2006 and created the award to celebrate t...

Valve Store gets some sweet new Portal 2 swag

Sep 13
// Liam Fisher
I'm a sucker for game related stuff. Shirts, jackets, cups, hats, etc... I don't buy much, but I love that it exists. With the newest Portal 2 merch, however, I may make a purchase. Just added to the store are three shir...

You will fall for this Portal 2 proposal video

Aug 23
// Alasdair Duncan
Thanks to the Internet, you're never too far from one guy or gal's creative attempts at proposing to their partner in a completely unique way. Proposing via a videogame isn't totally new -- we've seen marriage proposals in g...

Fan-made Rubik's companion cube is for science

Aug 19
// Victoria Medina
The Portal series has been a huge success and loving fans have shown their own creative appreciation with tributes, like fan made videos or hand-held personality spheres. Now a fully functional Rubik'...

'Dream with Portals,' a Portal 2 remix project

Aug 09
// Zac Bentz
[Editor's note: Zac Bentz here created this awesome Portal 2 remix project and wants to share it with all of you. Yes, even you! -- CTZ] I just finished up a new Portal 2 remix project called Dream with Portals...

Rock opera gets some Portal 2 musical machinima

Aug 04
// Victoria Medina
Sometimes I get to write about truly awesome things, like this music video which uses the song E=MC² by Ayreon. The song, paired with Portal 2 video clips, is from the album 01011001 (that translates to y in case you we...

Red Orchestra 2 pre-purchase and Portal 2 price details

Aug 02
// Alasdair Duncan
If you're one of the many multiplayer FPS fans that are excited about the upcoming Red Orchestra 2, then get your wallets primed. As of today you can pre-purchase the sequel to Tripwire Interactive's WW2 shooter.  There'...

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