Valve’s previously announced ports of Portal and Portal 2 finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch yesterday. At just $28 for both titles it’s an absolute steal for two of the best puzzle games of all time, but according to one modder, the release also apparently means that other classic Valve games will run on the Switch too — mostly.
There’s good reason to roll your eyes when a console maker announces ports of old games to newer systems and pads it lineup with titles you’ve already played and paid for. But for the Switch it’s been different as it means countless classic games are now portable and can be played almost anywhere, not just in the living room or at a desk with a gaming PC. Portal remains one of the best and most original games of all time, and its sequel provided a welcome second helping.
But according to OatmealDome, who on Twitter bills themselves as a “Switch, iOS, and macOS tinkerer” and also works on the Dolphin Emulator, the arrival of Portal on the Switch is noteworthy because the game was really nothing more than an add-on mod for Half-Life 2, leveraging that game’s original code at its core. So with Portal ported to the Switch and the Source engine installed on the console, it’s opened the door for Half-Life 2 to run on the portable system as well.
For the time being, this mod isn’t for everyone — you really need to know you’re way around the inner workings of the Switch to make this work — and, as OatmealDome also points out, “the game occasionally crashes, some maps are impossible to progress in, NPC animations are bugged, saves don’t work, and world cameras don’t spawn correctly.” There’s also quite a bit of stuttering in the gameplay, which is not surprising given it’s been only about 24 hours since Portal was made available on the Switch and Half-Life 2 has been in no way optimised to run on the hardware yet.
Eventually someone might put together a guide on how to get Half-Life 2 running on the Switch through Portal, but our ideal outcome is that enough players buy the Portal bundle that Valve follows-up with official ports of Half-Life 2 and Gordon Freeman’s original adventure: two games we’re more than eager to play through again on the can.