Friday

Portals

Have you noticed how 'portal' technology has basically driven first-person shooters? right from their 'true birth', doom, the plot was:

Scientists were messing around with teleportation technology and accidentally open a portal to a dimension full of evil. The army comes over to sort things out.

This is the plot to doom, quake, and half life. What half life did differently was have you playing a scientist instead of a grunt.

But there's something else in doom that has lingered in the background of first personers: have a look at the doom box art:

A bloke, shooting a pistol at a bunch of imps or demons or hell knights or something. I always thought that one in the bottom left looked a little out of place. He breaks the fourth wall of course, his tongue breaking out of the picture and looking at YOU, the hero of the game.

(Still, not as 'I don't remember him from the game' as UFO: Enemy unknown:
)

But let's go back to doom. As always.
Have another look at the art. I thought I knew that picture so well, but I only just noticed that doom guy's left hand is curled up in a 'bring it on!' gesture, while the flash I always thought was from a second gun, is in fact from a demon's fireball.

I just noticed else: another doom guy, at the back, running to help.
This is because doom was originally envisaged as a co-op game from the start. The original level was Deimos Lab, in it's original Tom Hall design state. As far as I remember, and I can't find a reference for this, it was meant to be a four way co-op game, about as likely in 1992 as finding 3 other people willing to bring their stereos round to listen to Zaireeka with.

But while co-op was included in doom and its imitators, it was overshadowed by deathmatch. I guess for all of its many faults, at least Gears Of War had strong co-op, although I maintain that game had more in common with streets of rage than doom.

But now, we have Portal 2. Still with the portals, but in a completely different way; but half the game is given over to dedicated co-operative play, levels that you simply can't play solo, much as you can't really play team fortress solo.

As someone who loves a good co-op game - it's more fun working together against the game than working with the game against each other - I can't wait to get stuck in to the co-op side of Portals (as I call it). Valve have already built a following around action in co-op left 4 dead, which I'm happy about, but this time, we have a problem of waiting for someone to commit to playing it with: I need someone who can commit to not playing it with anyone else, because it's a puzzle game and playing with someone who knew how to complete it would suck. But also, I only have time for the odd casual blast, being a father-thing. So that's been tricky, but I have found someone. It's nice to commit to things.

really lost my way with this i tihnk.
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