Portal's Power: A Narrative Critique

Emily Short, the interactive fiction designer/author, has an interesting look at Portal's story from the perspective of someone who does IF. I always like reading critiques from people who are engaged in the 'gaming' world, though perhaps not in the way we're expecting. It's a thoughtful look at what went right, what went wrong, and maybe why people were so excited about it:

... What we get is maybe a story that's not so much the standard cliché about an AI that gets out of control, but instead about the idea that any AI created would necessarily be emotionally broken, because it would be constructed with killswitches, designed to be disposable, or at least crippled so that it could not threaten the more important human life. If the AI had any urge towards friendship or companionship, that urge would be stifled and perverted by the fact that those around it have absolved themselves ("ethicists agree...") in advance for killing it if necessary.

That's a sad and interesting story, but Portal stops short of completely telling it

She also critiques some aspects of gameplay. It's another take on a game we all know about from a different perspective.

Still Alive [Emily Short's Interactive Fiction]


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