A test subject wakes up in a scientific facility controlled by a sadistic artificial intelligence and must escape with the help of the only instrument she has--a gun that makes portals.
6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Chell (as Alésia Glidewell)
Ellen McLain ...
GLaDOS / Turrets / Curiosity Core / Intelligence Core / Herself - Commentary (voice)
Anger Core (voice)


You wake to find yourself in a small, square, glass room containing a futuristic-looking tube-like bed, a toilet, and a table with a radio playing a tune on it alongside a mug and a clipboard with data on it. A timer is counting down from a minute just above the closed door leading out of the small room. A voice sounds from a speaker in the ceiling of the room. After some things are said, the voice becomes distorted for a second, sparks come out of the speaker, and the voice returns to normal. It counts down from five, synchronized with the timer above the door. At zero, the door opens, and you are released from your cell.... Written by mboharsik

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The cake is a lie. See more »


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Release Date:

10 October 2007 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In the game files there is an unused Red Portal and a texture file for a second Portal Gun but what function these would have had is unknown. See more »


When Valve attempted to solve the error of Chell being able to fall from incredible heights, it added the plug leading from the back of her foot to the back of her knee to strengthen her muscles. However, without any back support including an exoskeleton or bars stronger than human bones, there is no way she can be completely protected. See more »


Curiosity Sphere: Hey, look at that thing. No, that other thing!
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Referenced in Half-Life 2: Episode Two (2007) See more »


Still Alive
Written by Jonathan Coulton
Performed by Ellen McLain
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User Reviews

The brilliance of simplicity
22 July 2013 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

You wake up in a small, square, glass room with a bed(futuristic, spartan in appearance and optimized for use - as everything in this). A countdown ticks down, there's a glitch, and the AI GLaDOS begins speaking in monotone(she's clearly efficient, and her statements, both the highly objective and the clearly motivated, provide a lot of dark, deadpan comedy... I do wish they'd have less about vital organs, that gets old; she watches your every move by cameras, that you can literally see turning to look at you), giving you instructions.

When the timer reaches zero, you proceed into a human-sized "rat maze", and you are now trained in applying the realistic physics to solve all of this puzzle title. One might refer to this as "all tutorial", and if it overstayed its welcome(I completed this in two and a half hours), or it didn't fit, that would be a point against it. You never see the outside in this, and you are by yourself - it barely even breaks the first person perspective(and it didn't need to, at all), the whole is permeated by isolation and claustrophobia. This is a test facility. A place of Science. And as already alluded to, there might be something wrong - but there's no sense crying over every mistake.

Before I continue, I should say, no, not everyone will fall head over heels for this one. I haven't. That doesn't mean you won't enjoy it - the style and approach will agree with you, or it won't. The first paragraph of this review should help you finding out about that. This gives a boost to a genre that hadn't seen innovation for some years, and once you've gotten through it, there's a developer commentary, and two new modes: Challenge: same levels, and you try to limit time/portals/footsteps spent, and Advanced: certain chambers made tougher by more obstacles and/or hazards. You can fairly easily add custom areas, too.

Now, I should get to the central concept here. The blue and orange Portals(only one of each at any given time; create another, and the first will disappear) allow teleportation between them(looking into one will show the "view" of the other - timing is of the essence), and you can place both on many(not all!) flat surfaces regardless of distance, angle - yup, walls, floor *and* the ceiling. You control where these go from early on, and it's literally "point and shoot". While you can't place them through a window(a grate won't stop you) and you going through an electronic field removes them, as they appear instantaneously, you can be mid-air and put one where you'll land to, as it's called here, "fling" yourself further - just remember that, for better or for worse, anything not bigger than these entrances/exits will go through. Not only you and the boxes, useful for climbing on, holding down large buttons, and the like - also the bouncing energy balls that can kill you. You may have to redirect those - they're power-sources for lifts and other mechanisms. Other things to avoid direct contact with are the pools of toxic waste, and the cute robot turrets, with child-like voices that sympathize with you(and note that you remain weaponless - to take them out, as with anything you have to accomplish in this, you'll have to think creatively).

All of this is gradually introduced, and keeps the short duration of the regular portion interesting throughout - without overwhelming you. This was thoroughly refined to ensure that players pick up skills and understand how something behaves before we have to deal with very much of it. And it builds well, properly applying setup and pay-off, to where you have the satisfaction of doing well and avoid the frustration of being overpowered. All this without sparing you from brainteasers - and the final sections of this are well worth soldiering on even if you do find some bits tough. As already mentioned, this takes place in our world, with the laws of gravity, etc. in full effect(well, you can survive steeper drops than you might think - you have leg-braces), and thus, the only stuff you find yourself having to pick up on are the materials at your disposal, and the titular benders of space and time, which are entirely consistent and intuitive. Simultaneously you feel free, with tremendous power at your fingertips, and in a world of rules and consequence.

The key elements of this type of thing thus remain intact - put this thing on that activator, press a button to temporarily open a door, etc. This can be your return to that, or it can be your introduction to such(comparatively, how many current FPS, fighting, or RTS games can you say that about?). And it does the rare in creating a memorable universe around that - one I look forward to returning to in the 2011 sequel. I want to stress that this is not an adventure or action title

  • this is all problems for you to solve. For all your interacting with

items around, there is no inventory. And as tense and fast-paced as it can be, you're never armed. It's you keeping yourself alive, getting from one room to another. This automatically saves progress so often that you don't have to worry about it yourself, as you'll seldom have to redo more than mere seconds - and if that isn't enough, you can also choose when to store it.

Not only is this unique in idea and execution, there are many different solutions because of the open nature of the "gun". The good, not great graphics lead your eyes to the issue you have to deal with, there are no distractions. There is no health bar, and the HUD only has the "sight"(and an indicator).

There is some disturbing content, mostly in dialog, in this. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys classics like Lemmings, Lode Runner and the like. 8/10

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