Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Portal as Inspiration or Copycatism: Adult Swim's Give Up, Robot

Imagine a game where a feminine robotic voice, psychotic and condescending throughout, leads you through a gauntlet of puzzles, each more difficult and mind-numbing than the first, within a vague parameter for some goal or function, that eventually leads to further frustration, and defeat.

Now, I know what you're thinking "well gee Pat, I don't have to imagine it, I can just run down to le' Drover's Den and hook up Portal" well slow down, slick.

The game I am referring to is a completely different, yet strikingly similar video game mindfuck known as "Give Up, Robot" playable on the Adult Swim website. While I have yet to spend even a minute playing portal, I have sunk countless hours, curse words, and flails into the Give Up, Robot game.


Now, gameplay wise, I don't see many similarities. GUR doesn't have any kind of portal, or transport, or magical teleporter. You've got this claw, like a grappling hook, and you have to swing, and climb, and spin, and jump your way through a 2-d platformer.


Where the similarities come in is in the atmosphere of the game. Like in Portal, you are alone in something that seems like a test facility. There is a goal in mind, but it is vague and possibly a trick. There is a female voice leading your movements, and helping you through certain points, but also mocking you with every failure, and generally disapproving of your every move. While in Portal, our female guide becomes more and more psychotic, or whatever, further into the game, our female guide in GUR gets frantic, and panics at the thought of the robot hero making it to the end. This signifies a key difference I suppose, GLADOS wants you to finish, because there is nothing there but victory for her, but the robot guide in GUR doesn't want you to, because that means defeat for her.

Has anyone else played Give Up, Robot? Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

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