If you had the chance to experience Portal, then you enjoyed a rare treat in gaming. The story, cake, level design, and of course the lovely song during the ending credits (Probably the best closing credits ever, check it out below) made Portal a cult classic, as well as a damn good game. If you were lucky enough to pick it up for free earlier this year through Steam then you know what I am talking about. Currently Portal costs $19.99 through Steam and I would recommend picking it up, just for fun.
The game took me 3 hours to beat, and now days many gamers judge the quality of a game by how many hours of game-play it offers. Not me. Single player games that take 3 hours to beat like Portal or 6 hours to beat like MW2 are still worth it. They are some of the most enthralling single player experiences out there. Of course the added bonus of MW2 is that the multiplayer offers literally hundreds of hours of fun on top of a great single player game.
Although a game like MW2 or Bad Co. 2 have great single player missions, you may find many gamers dive straight into multiplayer as soon as they get their hands on these games. Just check out the people your gaming with online next time your playing Halo 3 and see how many gamers “Finished the Fight”, not too many.
The success of the original Portal and the fact that it was made almost as an afterthought and with minimal resources led Valve to believe a beefed up sequel could do well and be another great gaming experience. They may be on to something.
Ok, so I’m not saying I’m in love with Valve/Steam, but the ROCK, they wholeheartedly support Open Source and just this year have done some amazing things for gamers. They began offering classics like Half-Life 1 & 2 and Counter Strike: Source on the MAC. They also released Alien Swarm for FREE, and as I mentioned earlier this year they were giving away digital copies of Portal for free as well. Ohh and I almost forgot to mention that every holiday and even in-between holidays they offer amazing games at amazing prices. I picked up Left 4 Dead 2 for less than $10.00 during one such special.
They did make one noticeable mistake this year as well. The anti-cheat device called VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) that runs on Steam Servers made the mistake of banning thousands of Steam Accounts believed to be hacking while playing MW2. They mistake was recognized only a day or two later and Valve offered free copies of LFD2 to the “victims” and unbanned the accounts.
I have said it before and I will say it again; Steam’s business model IS a realistic answer to game piracy. They offer games at such low prices it’s not worth it to pirate a game you love when you can pick it up, support the development of the game and truly own it for only $10.00.