‘Portal’ was one of those games that made a huge impact because of how different and addictive its simple concept was. The single-player puzzle-based game was developed by Valve and bundled with ‘Half-Life 2: Episode 2’ and ‘Team Fortress 2’ as part of ‘The Orange Box’. It was an instantly enticing game for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the unique mechanic of creating portals through physical space in order to solve puzzles.
But what really made the simple story of the game come alive was GLaDOS, the antagonist and overseer of the Aperture Science computer-aided Enrichment Center, where your character is trapped. GLaDOS (which stands for Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is the central core that was designed to control all of Aperture Laboratories, but it becomes clear from the beginning that she is much more. She begins the game by encouraging the playable character, Chell, to complete testing of the Handheld Portal Device, but during these tests she is constantly bitter, rude, and cruel to Chell. As the game progresses Chell comes to know that she is the only human left at Aperture, and that GLaDOS had something to do with that.
Between the wonderful voice acting from opera single and voice actress Ellen McLain, and the quirky and clever writing from the game’s developers, GLaDOS is definitely one of my favorite video game characters. Her personality was designed to be like a computer with attitude. Her constant poking fun, bribing you with lies, and spitting barbs at you make the game so much more amusing and interesting.
Her snarky wit carried on into the sequel, ‘Portal 2′, in which we learn a great deal more about GLaDOS’ creation, making her an even more interesting character. It’s difficult to say much without completely spoiling the games for anyone who hasn’t played them, but I can give you an idea about the kind of character GLaDOS is with these quotes from both games:
“Please note that we have added a consequence for failure. Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an ‘unsatisfactory’ mark on your official testing record followed by death. Good luck!”
“Did you know you can donate one or all of your vital organs to the Aperture Science self esteem fund for girls? It’s true!”
“When I said ‘deadly neurotoxin’, the ‘deadly’ was in massive sarcastic quotes. I could take a bath in this stuff. Put it on cereal, rub it right into my eyes. Honestly, it’s not deadly at all…to me. You, on the other hand, are going to find its deadliness a lot less funny.”
“Science has now validated your birth mother’s decision to abandon you on a doorstep.”
“Well done. Here come the test results: ‘You are a horrible person.’ That’s what it says. We weren’t even testing for that.”
Did you play the ‘Portal’ games? Were you a fan? What did you think of the GLaDOS character? What’s your favorite quote? Please share!
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