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Hey wait… That’s cheating…

If you are at all familiar with the game Portal, you will know about the "challenge" levels.

I visited a little site called "wegame" and perused the top videos. One of the videos was on how to do a particularly tricky challenge in portal: Level 13 in 2 portals. I, having tried and tried to beat this level in two portals, knew this was impossible. What tom-foolery did they come up with to get this done? I had to see. So I clicked on the video. I was appalled. If you want to, you can take a look for yourself:

See, to me, that's cheating. It's never presented to you as a valid way to play the game. It's a hack. Granted, it's extremely clever, but I was never aware (when playing these levels) that you were allowed to beat them by cheating. Why do I call that cheating? Because it goes outside of the presented valid methods of game-play. You are given a set of tools, and to me, if you are going to get valid awards you have to stick with the valid tools, or else be told that you can use any method that you see fit. I was never told to use any method I see fit.

I know, I know, you're saying it should be implied. No, no it shouldn't. You should not be officially rewarded for a bug in the gameplay of a game. They should have fixed the bug, not expected you to find it and then relied on it for winning. Especially when they never officially present the bug to you. There is no circumstance in which I would ever have figured this out, because I follow the rules, and the rules do not state that this should be able to happen. The rules state that normal physics and gravity apply. Under normal physics and gravity, you would never be able to do this thing that you have to do to get the award.

I guess what I'm saying is, "Hey! That's not fair!". Maybe I just need to be more of a rebel, and look for ways to cheat. To "game" the system instead of playing by the rules. Who knows... I just know, I'm never going to require someone to exploit a flaw in my system in order to win. As soon as this flaw (and yes, it is a flaw) was found, it should have been fixed instead of being exploited. The game is broken. Don't celebrate it's fallen-ness, fix it.


Hey, what??? So anyone who uses google reader knows that it sucks (I'll be switching to something else as soon as I can find an acceptable alternative). It takes anywhere from 1-12 hours to update after you post a news item for your feed. Even if you hit "refresh" it doesn't go out and get the newest items.

I was a happy victim of this programmatic shortcoming this morning.

See, my brother and I are telepathically, unconsciously connected. We both posted a different video from wegame about the same portal level at the same time without knowing the other one was doing it.

You can see his explanation here, but my path to this Reference Burst Theoryâ„¢ was a bit different. Here's how it went down:

I get an e-mail from PCWorld about their "beta watch" column. They talk about this video game site called "wegame". I didn't read the article, I just went straight there. I recognized it immediately as the site that Jesse has been using to post his videos. Ok, cool, maybe I'll take a look at it since it seems to be getting some attention. I click on "top videos" or something (basically I just wanted to see how good their best video was). I click on "Portal Chamber 13 - 2 Portals" (because I knew that was impossible and wanted to see how they had to cheat to accomplish it). I make a blog post. I go to Google reader (an hour or two later) and see Brian has some new comments in his comments feed. I read them. Jesse says "That's scary" in reply to some post called "Portal Chamber 13 - 4 Steps". I laugh at him cause I think he's a newb who accidentally replied to my post on the portal video on Brian's blog. I click on it to make fun of him. I can't get to The Gimcrack Miscellany because my computer sucks and makes it look like the site is down. So I IM Brian and we discover (to our amazement) that we have both posted about Portal, but because we both use Google Reader, neither of us knew the other one posted about Portal. This is insane because neither of us have posted anything about Portal in a long time, and because we both found the video at the same site and posted a video about the same level (just different aspects of the same level). Scary.

Comments (1) Trackbacks (1)
  1. No, your thinking is absolutely correct. I thought the same thing because I just watched that video this morning (what are the chances?) and thought the same thing.

    If this is an acceptable method of playing, it means you are rewarded for patience instead of cleverness. I don’t buy it.

    One more thing:


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