The Art of Video Games: Portal” Exhibition Video

  • Portal Ω Valve.

    This video is one of 80 displayed in The Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

    NARRATOR: “Portal” successfully blends an action game with complex, physics-based puzzles and a hilarious script. The player awakens as the protagonist Chell, who is trapped in a sterile abandoned laboratory in the fictitious Aperture Science Enrichment Center, accompanied only by a sentient Artificial Intelligence named GLaDOS. GLaDOS leads Chell through a series of test chambers, each of which is pristine, antiseptic, and unnerving. GLaDOS starts out as helpful and pleasant, but gradually deteriorates to become menacing and sociopathic as the environment begins to break apart.

    GLaDOS: “Due to mandatory scheduled maintenance, the appropriate chamber for this testing sequence is currently unavailable. It has been replaced with a live fire course designed for military androids. The Enrichment Center apologizes for the inconvenience and wishes you the best of luck.”

    NARRATOR: Central to the gameplay is Chell’s Portal Gun, a device that gives her the ability to create a tunnel through space. By shooting portals on different surfaces, Chell can step through one and emerge instantly into another. This results in endlessly challenging and elaborate puzzles for the player to solve, accompanied by GLaDOS’ dark humor.

    GLaDOS: “Certain objects may be vital to your success. Do not destroy testing apparatus.”