Release date: 2007
Portal is one of those games that sprang out of nowhere, taking everyone by surprise and causing a storm all across the internet. With almost no hype, and zero expectations, it came bundled as a throwaway extra in The Orange Box, arguably the best game bundle ever made.
My fondest memory of Portal was watching my friend Adam play through it for the first time. He stayed around my house one night, which in itself was quite a rare thing, and I insisted he play through Portal because it’s short, sweet and hilarious. The reason I remember this night so well is because Adam had been recommending games and movies to me for as long as I’ve known him, and it’s rare for me to have a chance to show something new to him. He’s also quite hard to impress, and I wanted desperately for him to like something that I introduced him to. And he loved it. We started at midnight and he didn’t beat GlaDOS until about 3am, but the entire time between was us cracking up and basking in the sardonic cruelty and piss-taking of one of gaming’s greatest antagonists. When the brilliantly silly end-credits song ‘Still Alive’ came on, we were both grinning ear to ear.
This happened within the first few weeks of the game’s release, and I was so glad to enjoy that game with Adam before all of the lying cake memes wore out their welcome. I regularly go back and play through Portal, just to be entertained by GlaDOS. It’s very close to being the perfect game.