Archive for September, 2011

classic game Portal free through Sept 20th

September 17, 2011

Here’s a free Portal game offer from game publisher Valve for physics teachers – and everyone else, too!  Portal was published in October 2007, and went on to become one of the most popular and innovative computer games in history.  Its sequel, Portal 2, came out in April 2011.

Gamespot, a respected game review magazine, says “Valve is giving away original puzzler through Tuesday, hopes educators will use it to help teach physics, critical thinking to students.”   Portal free offer info at Gamespot

And Valve may possibly gain a few thousand or hundreds of thousands of new accounts to add to Steam’s more than four million existing users.  🙂

You awaken in a room at Aperture Science Lab as the game starts, and are equipped with the “Portal device” which can grab objects, and creates portals on most surfaces – an oval blue portal exit, and an orange portal entrance.  Using gravity and your wits, you are given a series of puzzles to solve; once you’ve solved all 18, which are a tutorial course in using the portal device, the game shifts into a more challenging time-pressured set of levels.

In gamer nomenclature, it’s a “first-person shooter” game.  But the distinctive difference is that you aren’t using a traditional gun.  The Portal device is a grappler, teleporter, and eventually can be used as a deflecting shield.  Read the Wikipedia article about Portal for a detailed summary of the way gravity, mass, and redirected momentum can be used by Chell, the player-character, to survive. Happily and refreshingly, Chell’s physical appearance is not the stereotypical video game’s big-chested woman, and she is expected to solve her own dilemma. (more…)


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