I picked up Portal yesterday, but wasn’t able to play it until today (more on that in a moment) I had heard the game was short, and so I figured I would blow through it in a few hours, see what all the fuss was about, and get back to my consoles.
While I’m not one one those “PC gaming is dead” fanboys, I will say that if my Portal experience is any indication, the amount of suck associated with PC gaming has increased. It used to be that you bought a game, popped the disc into your PC, typed in one of those long CD-keys, installed it, and you were ready to rock-and-roll.
Now you have to first install extra software on your PC, activate your CD-Key using that software via the Internets, and hope that no significant game-farking bugs exist in the game. Granted, we had the last one back in The Good Old Days, too, but publishers seem to be more willing to let the folks who buy the game on Day 1 be their beta testers these days.
Needless to say, two of those three of those things got borked up. Steam installed with no problem, but when it came time to “activate” the key, I kept getting “Invalid Key” errors despite the fact that I had typed it in correctly. I had to submit a case to Valve’s customer service (after making a scan of my CD-Key and submitting it, grr) and then figured I’d probably have to wait until Monday. Back to Twilight Princess, then.
On a hunch, I tried activating the game again today, and lo, and behold, it worked. It would have been nice if someone had told me the problem had been fixed, but no matter. I was just happy because it was Game Time!
I start playing, and life is good; Portal is an awesome game and deserves all the hype it has received. Unfortunately, a bug poppped up after one of the levels, instead of loading the next level, the game would drop me back to the main menu for no good reason whatsoever. Greaat, now it’s Patch Time!
After poking around for awhile, it turns out the bug has been fixed, I have to restart Steam and the game in order to apply the fix. It was another case of “that would have been nice to know” that I would be more willing to let slide if there wasn’t for this client application (that I was forced to install) sitting on my PC that probably could have told me this ahead of time.
Now it was Fun Time again! I would have finished the game alot sooner if it wasn’t for the fact that I kept closer and closer to blowing chunks the longer I played the game. I can usually tolerate first-person shooters pretty well, but every so often, one comes across that gives me motion sickness. Sadly, Portal is now on the list of “games I can’t play for too long unless I want to see that Whataburger I had for lunch again coming out the wrong end.”
In any event, I finished Portal and enjoyed the game, but the varied problems I came across got me pretty “Steam-ed.” The next time I have to pick between the console and PC versions of a game, I will definitely go with the console. You pop in the disc, and it just works, just like The Good Old Days.