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The Cake Is A Lie! Valve S Game Portal

On the last panel, "The cake is a lie" and "This was a triumph" are references to Portal, a video game released in late 2007. The cake references originate from the promises of cake that GLaDOS, a character in the game, makes to the player. Exploring the levels reveals several hiding places that seem to have been used, in one of which the player can find the words "The cake is a lie" repeatedly scrawled on the wall. As predicted, Portal was indeed considered old-fashioned by early 2013, with the developers themselves stating they were sick and tired of the endlessly parroted jokes. Both Portal and Half-Life 2 were released by the same company, Valve, and they released Portal 2 in 2011.

The Cake Is A Lie! Valve S Game Portal

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The player plays as a woman named Chell who has to go though tests while being watched by a computer named GLaDOS, an acronym for Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System. GLaDOS provides all of the game's dialog and is known for being clever, funny, and sarcastic, promising the player character a cake if all of the tests are finished. GLaDOS and the testing rooms were created by a company called Aperture Science, which competes with Black Mesa. The player must use a gun, called the Portal Gun, that makes two linked holes, called portals, to solve puzzles. The two portals, one blue and one orange, are linked together and let the player get from one place to another. When the player enters the blue portal, they will come out of the orange portal. When the player enters the orange portal, they will come out of the blue portal.

The game starts with Chell waking up in a small glass room that has only a bed, a toilet, and a radio inside. She is told by GLaDOS that testing will start soon, and an orange portal opens on one of the walls. Once the player goes through, she enters the testing rooms and begins testing. There are 20 testing rooms, called Test Chambers, in all.

The tests start out simple. Chell has to pick up boxes, called Weighted Storage Cubes (Cubes for short), and put them on buttons, which will open the door to the exit of the chamber. At this point, GLaDOS speaks to Chell as a guide, praises her, and promises her cake when the tests are over. Near the beginning of the game, Chell gets the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, also known as the Portal Gun. At first, her Portal Gun only makes blue portals and the orange portals are made by GLaDOS. Later, Chell gets the full Portal Gun and can make both blue and orange portals.

The tests become more and more dangerous farther into the game. In some rooms, there is poison on the floor. In others, there are balls of electricity called High Energy Pellets which will kill Chell if she touches them. During these tests, GLaDOS becomes more and more sarcastic, giving Chell useless advice, such as "The floor here will kill you. Try to avoid it." At one point, GLaDOS tells Chell a chamber is broken and she must go through a chamber full of sentry guns, called Turrets, instead. If a Turret sees Chell, it will shoot at her until she dies. In this chamber is a hidden room. In the hidden room are drawings and writing on the walls left by an unknown person. The writing says things like "the cake is a lie" and "she's always watching" with a picture of a camera. There are more rooms like this in later chambers.

Portal is a first-person shooter game, which means that it is played from the view of the player character, Chell. When players get the fully-powered portal gun, they can make two portals that are linked together on some white surfaces. Chell starts out with nothing, only able to do what GLaDOS lets her, such as entering portals created by GLaDOS and using cubes that GLaDOS gives her. Once Chell gets a half-powered portal gun, she can fire a blue portal that connects to orange portals that GLaDOS puts in the rooms. When Chell gets the fully-powered portal gun, she can put both portals anywhere.

The videogame Portal is an algorithmic exploration of human struggle against algorithmic processes that have superseded their original intended purpose. The game explores the search for freedom from such computational processes. The freedom presumed in the portal gun - which allows access where there was none - is circumscribed by creating pathways that only open back into the maze of the Aperture Science Facility. The promised reward for completing the algorithm is freedom, but the promise is made by a master chained to the very facility it controls. Both GLaDOS and the player are bound to complete the algorithm. There is no escape.

This leads to a curious challenge for videogames as art: the algorithm must be obeyed. Perhaps most significantly, the game requires inputs from a game controller, which are mapped to permitted avatar actions. There is no game unless the player is tied to the controller. Juul (2010, p.133) has shown the futility of resisting this demand while playing (or technically, not playing) games like The Sims (Maxis, 2000) and Scramble (Konami, 1981). In Portal, if the player never picks up the controller the game stays in the opening chamber, Chell never leaves the Relaxation Vault; the game camera stays fixed on a view of an open portal while the radio loops the same song. There is nothing more.

Seeing "the cake is a lie" memes in 2017 hurts me about as much as slipping on a linoleum floor and bashing my head on a marble counter top. If I had to choose between reviving the meme for another complete circuit or never playing Portal again, I'd eradicate the game from my Steam account.

It's a catchphrase that has since fallen into whatever meme obscurity is called. So, already bearing the scars, I set out to wrap myself in its cold, disemboweled corpse to examine its lifespan and determine what kind of irreversible changes a viral sentence about cake could inflict on videogames, for better or worse.

Memes have since become their own industry. Games are harvested for sharable content the moment they release, diluting the chance for any one meme to last for more than a few months anymore. "The cake is a lie" isn't the funniest videogame meme ever produced, but we may never have another of the same scale as grassroots as Portal's baked deceit. May it rest in equally divided pieces shared among a dinner party, but may there also be a gluten free option available as well, also resting.

"The cake is a lie" lived like its subject: short and sweet. Its impact was dissolved in misguided overuse, a fate most memes share. Even so, Caldwell thinks while the cake jokes will become extinct in the next decade, he doesn't think we'll ever forget them. "Portal was embraced by the internet in a way that few games had been up until that point. If anything, Portal (and "the cake is a lie") proved that video games could have vibrant, creative online fandoms just like other forms of entertainment."

Begrudgingly, I have to admit that as irritating as "the cake is a lie" became, without it there would be no gentle aura buzzing around Portal's history. We'd look back on it as a great puzzle game with bold, surprising ideas, but we may not have a cultural touchstone for how it made us feel. And I may not have this dumb back tattoo that I still adore in secret, a browser history I can't erase unlike the memes I laugh at and share with alarming frequency.

The player's character is named Chell, and she is challenged by an artificial intelligence named GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) to complete each puzzle in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, using the portal gun with the promise of cake and counseling when all is completed. The game's unique physics allow momentum to be retained through portals, requiring creative use of the portals to maneuver through the test chambers.

Anything that travels through one portal, comes out of the other. The momentum redirection is an important factor in the game. As moving objects pass through the portal, they come through the other portal end in the same direction that portal is facing. This allows the player to launch Chell and/or objects over great distances, vertically and/or horizontally. Gravity also plays its part in regards to the positioning of the portal end. Jumping through portals is pretty tricky when you need to land on a platform and your view is kind of obscured from the angle of the portal. Don't worry if you get dizzy, I know I did.

Chell can be killed by various hazards in the test chambers, like turret guns, bouncing balls of energy, and toxic liquid. She can also be killed by falling objects that pass through the portals and by crushers. However, she is equipped with mechanized heel springs that help prevent damage from falling only. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to get nailed in the head by a cube while trying to jump through at the same time. Figuring out timing took me a bit as these types of obstacles are featured throughout the game.

The plot of Portal is told via audio messages from GLaDOS and visual elements found in rooms on different levels. The game starts off with Chell awaking from a stasis bed while hear instructions and warnings from GLaDOS about the test. Chell is promised cake and counseling as a reward for completion of all the test chambers. GLaDOS interacts with Chell throughout the game to instruct her and help with progress. The dialogue from GLaDOS is very dry and is quite humorous.

If you're unfamiliar, the Portal games are first-person puzzlers known as much for their humor--and quippy AI antagonist GLaDOS--as for their challenging, inventive puzzles. In the first Portal, you play Chell, a woman who wakes up in the strange Aperture Science portal testing facility and who is run through a series of tests by GLaDOS, which eventually become

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