Portal was a game released in 2007 by Valve Corporation and “received praise for its unique gameplay and darkly humorous story.”1 I like the way Ben Gelinas puts it, “In Portal, your ‘gun’ isn’t really a gun at all, it’s a tool used to create doors (portals) in walls to [other locations]. Shoot a wall and it makes a portal. Placing these portals at key points inside rooms that otherwise hold you captive is essential for your escape into the more difficult room ahead.” I’ve only played partially through the game, but so far I have been able to create an orange portal and a blue portal. When you go in the blue portal you come out the orange portal and vice versa. Depending on where you place the portals you can be transported around obstacles or from room to room.

If you fall into a portal from a high ledge your momentum carries you out the second portal at the same acceleration. If you place one portal on the floor and the other on a wall this will convert your vertical movement into horizontal movement and allow you to jump large gaps.

One side effect of being able to place portals almost anywhere is the creation of infinite loops. If you place two portals opposite each other in a hallway you will see an infinite regression of yourself as you look through one portal into the other. If you place a portal on the floor directly under a portal on the ceiling you have set up a similar kind of situation. When you step into the portal on the floor you fall out of the portal on the ceiling and back into the portal on the floor. This will continue until your computer dies or until you push your joystick to one side and cause yourself you miss hitting the portal as you fall.

Valve Corporation has announced that Portal 2 will be released in 2011. The new game features the ability to direct tractor beams, laser beams and liquids through portals. Watch the videos at ThinkWithPortals.com.