Weapons are a constant in many stories for defense and offense in games and stories. Some are technologically advanced and devastating while others are more tactile and primitive. In numerous stories weapons also represent the character’s personality. Look at a fictional weapon and the character attached to it, you will almost instantly get a feel for their personality.
With the announcement from J.J. Abrams about a Portal movie on the horizon, I am reminded of how much I use to love this game. I am a sucker for puzzle games and Valve’s Portal fed my need to figure out the mechanics in the game’s world. As Chell, the protagonist of the game, you wake up to find yourself as a test subject of Aperture Science in a computer guided enrichment center.
Chell is completely silent and we find out very little about the character through the game other than what we are told by the computer, GLaDOS. It sounds like Chell may have been abandoned as a child from what the player is told by GLaDOS, but how can you trust her? She runs you through the center like a lab rat and the player, eventually discovers her intentions are not so innocent.
I find it interesting Chell has to survive using only her wits and what she has on her in an environment she does not seem very familiar with in Portal. Chell must rely on herself to navigate through tests while also working through an environment, which appears harmless and indifferent at first but escalates towards dangerous hostility.
Chell’s weapon, a Handheld Portal Device, helps guide her through the enrichment center tests. Handheld Portal Device shoots two portals of orange and blue, which objects can move in and out. It is not a weapon in the traditional sense. You cannot simply shoot a hostile mob to kill it. The Portal Device not only moves objects to aid Chell forward, it also can move hostile attacks in her defense and turn it back on her attacker. The player must strategically find ways to use the defensive weapon, and at times the defense is used as an offense.
The Handheld Portal Device is my absolute favorite weapon. It imitates teleportation and even reminds me of Star Trek episodes when teleportation has to be used imaginatively. The Portal Device is hands down my favorite fictional weapon due to the creativity and planning required to use it. And not just because you can take a dizzy spin into the portals yourself! Though the portals can be fun to play with…
Like Chell, the portal gun requires the player to use their wits and the items around them. Complete devastation is not always required to move past obstacles or hostile threats. Sometimes all you need is a little ingenuity.
Which fictional weapon is your favorite? The Doomhammer in World of Warcraft? The BFG in Doom? Or a phaser from the Star Trek universe?
I have plans on cosplaying Chell next year and my first endeavor in the project will be building the Handheld Portal Device. There is a Handheld Portal Device replica for $600, but where’s the fun in buying it? I refuse to miss out on the challenge of building the weapon.
This is going to be so much fun! Look for updates on my Portal project in the future. Put your Geeky Talk in the comments and tell us about your upcoming geeky projects.