Portal was a pleasant surprise included in 2007’s The Orange Box. While this collection of games was mainly appealing for inclusions like Half-Life 2 and its expansion, Portal would eventually be remembered as its most impressive offering.
The game was released 16 years ago, marking the beginning of arguably the best puzzle franchise in modern gaming.
Why it matters: Valve has a rich history of game development, with Portal being one of the highlights for the studio.
16 years ago today PORTAL was first released. pic.twitter.com/l9tpJwy1eb
— The Game Awards (@thegameawards) October 10, 2023
Portal found its place in The Orange Box through humble beginnings. The puzzle game was originally a project from students of DigiPen Institute, impressing Valve enough to offer the students jobs at the company.
While the game was created by ten people, it challenged the biggest releases in 2007. This charming game combined puzzle and platforming elements, becoming a critical and commercial success at a time when the industry saw games like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3.
The title’s core loop revolves around puzzle-solving using the portal gun as players are guided through a facility by GLaDOS, an AI companion. While this leads to a simple gameplay loop, creative levels encourage players to continue their journey.
Most of the game’s puzzles offer minimal challenges, but the game shines once players are encouraged to use each tool at their disposal to overcome complex challenges. This also leads to an incredibly satisfying feeling once such puzzles are completed.
Challenges like Least Steps and Least Time perfectly illustrate the varying levels of hardship, but the game walks a fine line between accessibility and difficulty.
Portal sold at least 4 million copies, being considered a timeless classic. To its credit, the game has maintained its relevance to this day, having more players than Redfall currently, a game released in 2023.
Following the game’s success, Valve released Portal 2 in 2011, which took the series to new heights. However, this would not have been possible without the fundamentals of the first game.
Despite the IP’s appeal, Valve has not said much about a potential Portal 3. The latest game related to the IP is Aperture Desk, a spin-off released last year.
Nonetheless, Portal remains an iconic puzzle game to this day. The game is best played on Steam, but modern consoles like the Nintendo Switch also offer a handheld experience for the title.
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Obaid is pursuing a Law degree, while working as a content writer. He has worked as a gaming writer for over a year because of his passion for the medium and reporting the latest updates in the industry. Having played hundreds of games, Obaid finds himself coming back to Elden Ring and Red Dead Redemption 2, with these games being among his favorites. He has also been mentioned on highly regarded websites, such as Wccftech, Metro UK, PS Lifestyle, GamePressure, VGC, and Gamespot.