Tag Archive: portal 2

Combustible Lemons

Today I’m going to share one of my favorite quotes with everyone. It’s from the game Portal 2. In the game as you ascend from the lower levels upward, a series of pre-recorded messages from the company founder, Cave Johnson, play while you navigate the catwalks and testing areas. The lowest, and oldest, levels are much more upbeat as he welcomes war heros, astronauts, and Olympic athletes into the testing programs. A bit higher and the tone changes as he now tells hobos not to use the elevator as a bathroom. In the upper layers, just under the lowest levels of the modern facility, they have had to give up outside test subjects all together and made testing required of all employees. By this point Cave is clearly ill and coughs frequently and asks his secretary to bring him pain pills. It’s from this portion of the game that the following quote comes from. Earlier he had used the old adage ” When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”


“Alright, I’ve been thinking.When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back!  Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these?!? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s going to burn your house down! With the LEMONS! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!”


Cave Johnson is voiced by JK Simmons and he does a wonderful job. You can hear this quote here on YouTube.It’s worth a listen.


Thinking with portals

I’m not a gamer.

I barely have the hand-eye coordination to feed myself, let along kill aliens and Nazi zombies.

But I love video games.

It’s a bit of a paradox, I know. It confuses the hell out of me sometimes as well.

Old-school games like Pac-Man or Tetris I can handle with some success, but modern games … Not so much. But I love ’em.

What I love about games, like Half-life  or Portal, is the story behind the game. Designers now spend a great deal of time working on the back story, the reasons behind the why and how of the game-world. It’s that part of the game, the boring, non-explody bits, that I adore.

In any other age I would have no alternatives I could either play the games and do abysmally, or find friends who  would let me what them play.

Thank the Internet gods for YouTube.

For the uninitiated, players will post videos of gameplay, sometimes with commentary and tips, sometimes without, and other gamers watch to pick up these tips and tricks. This is wonderful for the gaming impaired, like me. I can watch hours upon hours of games without actually having to play anything myself.

Since you might be wondering where I’m going with this, I’ll tell you.

I spent most of yesterday watching game play from the newly released Portal 2, and it was wonderful. I thought I would give my impressions as a non-gamer.

I’ve watched the walk-through for Portal and found it highly entertaining. Seeing the player solve the puzzles and hearing the dry, sarcastic wit of GLaDOS as she becomes increasingly insane makes for an enjoyable experience.

She might be crazy, but her cake is so delicious and moist!

The original Portal game has built up a large and incredibly devoted fan base and spawned several internet memes that I will not repeat here. Portal 2 is somehow even better.

The storyline is much more complex than that of the original. In the original Portal, the silent protagonist navigated a series of test chambers before reaching the central computer, GLaDOS, and disabling her. It’s revealed in the beginning on the second game that the protagonist, Chell, has been placed in “cryo-sleep” for an unspecified but extended length of time.

When Chell wakes up, her room, once a bland hotel-like room, has aged and decayed. I even noticed a depression on the bed in the shape of a body, as if someone had lain in one place for a very long time. It’s those attention to details that makes the game good. If you look for them, there are quite a few little jokes added in. For example, when opening a several stories tall door, the massive door rolls back to reveal … an ordinary door with a couple of folding chairs beside it.

The addition of another AI, the grossly incompetent Wheatley, and the recorded messages of the mercury-poisoned founder of Aperture Science in the lowest levels make for a rich and wonderful experience.

The entire game seems more … alive. The rooms move and shake, you can hear sounds of distant machinery or dripping water, and it just feels quite real. The first game had, for the most part, sterile testing chambers that were almost tomb-like. In the sequel you can really feel the decay of this place that has been neglected for decades.

As I’ve said, I didn’t play the game. I only watched the walk-throughs on YouTube, so I didn’t have to do the same over and over again. I got to do the easy part, enjoy someone else’s labors. It looked absolutely kick-ass, though. I definitely plan on watching it again.