Different Strokes for Different Folks

So I rented Portal 2 yesterday. I didn’t buy it as a) I’m not buying any games until L.A Noire comes out for the sake of saving money and b) I’ll come to b in a moment.

I’m not going to have a huge amount of time with it. By the time I got home yesterday, I had some things to do before I went out again for the evening. Today I’ve played it for about an hour but now I’m writing this up, just before I head out to visit relatives. I’ve only got the rental till Saturday so maybe I’ll find more time to play it tomorrow. We’ll see.

The thing is, I’m not convinced the game is for me. Hugely controversial I know but I’m not entirely sure why I should feel bad about even saying it.

I can appreciate why people love Portal and the sequel. I’ve played Portal for long enough to know what to expect. In my one hour with the second one, I could certainly appreciate the great comedic turn by Stephen Merchant and seeing how the plot and dialogue develops is certainly a plus here. But I’m just not overly taken by the puzzles. Why? Simply because I’m not a big fan of lateral thinking type puzzles as I learnt with the first one. Which is surely fine, right?

I know countless people whose opinions I greatly respect, who also happen to not stand beat em ups or JRPGs for example. That’s fine. There’s a huge wealth of genres out there. I don’t believe anyone, even people who try to make a living out of their opinion, should have to like the same things in equal measure (although appreciating why a game works is a different matter entirely).

I suspect however if I made a big deal on Twitter about how I wasn’t overly fussed about Portal 2, I’d be virtually lynched. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is astonished and maybe even disappointed (although I suspect I’m not that important!) that I’d blog it here too.

I do wonder if it’s something currently exclusive to the gaming world. With films, I don’t know anyone who feels that they HAVE to like horror films, romantic comedies and arty indie films in equal measures. I know many people who appreciate a well made film of any of these genres, but love them equally? Most definitely not.

In this case, it’d be like giving someone who despises football, Fifa 11, and wondering why they hated it. Hopefully they’d understand what worked and why football fans would like it, but they themselves wouldn’t be keen at all.

It’s something that I think maybe needs to change, away from the fanboyism stuff and how we all have to like the same things. We really, really don’t. There’s a lot to choose from out there and a huge amount of variety when you look around.

So yes, while I can appreciate why so many people should rightly enjoy the two Portal games, it’s just not for me. Sorry and all that.

4 thoughts on “Different Strokes for Different Folks

  1. Rachel

    I’m so very late to the Portal party, I’m actually only just getting around to playing the first one! On the whole, I’m really enjoying it. Though I also acknowledge I have a very limited patience when it comes to puzzles, and more than once ended up referring to a walkthrough when I felt I’d wasted too long trying to figure something out! Thing is, I find it fun. The dialogue makes me giggle. The puzzles leave me feeling like a particularly dim lab rat at times, but there’s a fabulous “HAH!” moment when you figure something out on your own. And if somebody else doesn’t like it…? I totally couldn’t give a toss. Always completely baffled by people who seem to take personal offence if you don’t automatically enjoy the same game as them.

  2. Mark Raymond

    It’s like me: I can appreciate a horror film to a degree, how it works on a technical level, but enjoy it? Uh uh, nope.

    Same kind of goes for Portal 2. If you don’t like 3D physics puzzlers, then you won’t really enjoy most of the game. I think what it has going for it, though, is that there is enough humour and detail in the world to keep you pushing forward, in the same way some people rush through battles in an RPG to get to the story.

    Either way, I thought it was accepted that you don’t have to like all genres of games to be into playing games and being passionate about games. To think otherwise would be pretty closed-minded.

  3. Russell

    I finished Portal 2 earlier in the week and enjoyed it, and I think it was more like Half Life 2 in parts than Portal, with the bigger puzzles and a lot of exploring.

    It’s one of those games that you save when you are stuck on a puzzle, and the solution appears in your head while out shopping or something, and as Rachel said, there’s a feeling the moment you figure it out and it works.

    There was more of that this time round, as with Portal there was plenty of help online, with walkthroughs and YouTube videos. Since I was playing it before it was released I had non of that!

    Yesterday, while out in Glasgow I noticed loads of Portal 2 ads, and I kept thinking that most people are not going to “get” it. No doubt it’ll sell well, but I bet there will be plenty on eBay and traded back in next week.

    Anyway, you should be allowed to say you don’t like a game. I’m not a big fan of the Halo games. I try every so often to complete it, just for the achievements, and end up turning it off after 5 minutes.

  4. Marco Fiori

    It’s a great game Jen, but if you’re not a fan, you’re not a fan – nothing you can do to change that and don’t apologise.

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