I recently finished Portal 2 and overall I liked it. We wont speak of the end (my least favourite part of the game) but for my first game I finished on my own, I am pretty happy. While I started playing for fun, Portal 2 actually has some great ideas throughout it. I believe that a lot came be learned from computers games, we just have to look for the lessons! (Minor spoilers! For anyone that hasn’t played this 2011 game and still plans too!)

So here are things that I learned from Portal 2:

1. Rate a game on the whole experience, not just how it finishes.

Portal 2 started off rough, got better, was fantastic throughout the middle, and ended on a sour note for me. I really hated the last little bit of Portal 2, as it felt like such a change from the rest of the game. It also really challenged my hand eye coordination (not my strongest gaming skill), and I pretty much was yelling at the computer. But I would still recommend it as a great puzzle game! Just because a game doesn’t end in a way you like, shouldn’t take away from all the fun you had the rest of the time you played.

2. Be Observant.

The more you rush, the more you miss! By taking a second to look around, the challenges become easier and the game become more fun! I rushed a lot at the beginning (which was part of the reason I say it started off rough), but as I learned to assess the situation, slow down and look around, I saw that most challenges were very logical and straightforward. So always look around when you enter a strange testing room!

3. Don’t be afraid to walk away and take a breather!

Sometimes, it’s just not your day! But with a break (whether 5 minutes or 24 hours), you feel refreshed and might see things in a new light, which can make a huge difference. I know that I would often miss something that when I came back to it, I saw a new way to solve the problem.

4. Don’t be afraid to get help!

If taking a breather doesn’t work, get a second opinion! By playing an older game, there are quite a few people that have already gone through and done the work. While I don’t recommend watching a complete walkthrough before playing, they can be helpful if you are as things blind as me! My partner was also a huge help, as he would look at the level and then give me a hint or point out what I was blatantly missing. This kept Portal 2 fun, not frustrating.

5. If there is ever a real life Aperture, I am running really far in the opposite direction! But Aperture does bring some interesting points on human test subjects.

It may be just a computer game, but Portal does bring up interesting points about using humans as test subjects in the advancement of science. Should humans be subjected to extreme testing without their knowledge? What are the limits to the dangers test subjects can be in? What are the moral implications of testing “For Science!”? Who gets to make the discussions about what are acceptable risks to other human beings? Where does artificial intelligence fit into human morality? These questions, among many others, are brought up through the game play. Pretty heavy stuff about a game solving puzzles! But that is also why the Portal franchise is so fantastic!

See Mom and Dad, I do learn life skills from sitting at my computer!

Happy Gaming!
-SB

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