Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Narrative Speculation of Portal

The "cake is a lie" is the key to understanding Portal's narrative meaning. Possibly referencing the nature of our world, where we are told from a young age that the world is our oyster and there is many splendors to be achieved. But in truth, the prize, goal and cake aren't actually achievable things, just the journey to that lie. However, is Portal referencing the journey to the lie is the prize.
In essence, is Portal trying to bring to mind the delusional world we live in, or bringing to our attention that the "cake" is a journey? (One take)

Another take on Portal's narrative: a warning of technological control.
All things are made by people, so why does Glados control? A likely conclusion might be he was made by the government to control, but he became too unstable and developed a mind of his own. His instability being a warning of too much technological dependence can turn on us. (Another Take)

By the way, me and kconley are taking a narrative approach to our study.

2 comments:

  1. We are so totally perplexed by that first paragraph. Sort of. It's a compelling argument, but I feel like it's somewhat underscored by the fact that the journey doesn't end once you've realized that the cake is a lie. Immediately after you've flung yourself out of the bakery, you're suddenly left to pursue your own vendetta, unrestrained and unguided by the chains, carrots and sticks that GLaDOS held onto up until that point. I'm going to be pretentious and apply some Platonic thought to it - the journey is about overcoming the lies and limitations of the physical (the cake) and instead pursuing the truth behind the events, and applying that knowledge accordingly (hunting down and murdering GLaDOS). Portal's argument is that we shouldn't be sidetracked by the promises of fleeting material goods that can't be guaranteed, but that truth is the highest ordeal. Realizing that the cake is a lie is sort of like figuring out that the shadows in the cave are just shadows. Or something. It sounded awesome in my mindskull.

    I'm likewise not entirely sold on what's up with GLaDOS. Disregarding any new revelations offered up by Portal 2, she was designed simply to manage the Aperture Science Testing Center. Tellingly, she was the product of a madman, Cave Johnson, who also attempted to find 'military shower curtain' applications for the Portal Gun and devised the Take A Wish Foundation. Her maker was a lunatic driven insane by mercury poisoning - the most I think one could read into her is that she's a deliberate caricature of the sorts of sinister AI that you're referring to, entities such as the HAL 9000 or SHODAN of System Shock fame.

    So, now that I am done being an argumentative and pretentious douche canoe (that was for you, Josh), I have to admit that I'm excited to see what your study yields, and I'm not saying that to patronize or mock you. It's clear that you're into the narrative approach, and watching you develop your theses and discover some new factoids should be pretty sweet. Rock on.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have not played Portal 2 yet so thanks for the spoiler. Just joshing. Also, I really enjoyed what you said in your first paragraph. It sounds completely sound to me, and very good speculation of Portal's significance outside of just being a video game (Needs to get around to playing Portal 2 so I can have a better understanding of its narrative significance).

    ReplyDelete