As winter break slowly draws to a close, I look back on it and realized I have accomplished almost exactly none of the things I wanted to accomplish. What I did end up doing was struggling with getting PC games to play on a Mac, and then struggling even further with Portal’s fan-made “unofficial prelude”. That game is completely the opposite of Portal. Difficult. Frustrating. But, speaking as a proud member of its extremely tiny target audience, addicting and fun.

Unlike Portal, the game design is atrocious. Often you’ll walk into a chamber to encounter an object or setup that you’ve never seen before, and it’s only trial and error (and a lot of quicksaves) that will get you to the end of each level. Portal trains the player; Portal: Prelude dumps the player in an unfamiliar situation and kills him if he takes one step out of line.

For people who like those sorts of games, it’s a lot of fun. Just don’t sit and get too absorbed in it; I recommend running it in windowed mode and multitasking. Why exactly such a flawed game can be entertaining and rewarding is beyond me – but maybe I’m one of the (relatively) few players left who likes having to work everything out for themselves. Also unlike Portal, the game has no flow to it whatsoever, as you’ll spend quite a long time performing the same maneuver over and over again until you get it exactly right.

Besides torture via compatibility issues, the other thing I’ve managed to spew out is this comic called 1337sauce. It’s written (almost) entirely in ASCII and has something to do with software pirates, I think. I decided to see how long I could keep it up, and posted the strips on my blog. Unfortunately, it seems like I underestimated myself, as now I’ve made over twenty strips and I’m still going. I still wanted to see how long I could go, though, more as a personal challenge than anything else – and besides, I’m having fun making these! So instead of cluttering my blog up with comics that just plain don’t fit, I’ve moved them elsewhere.

I would recommend that you go play Portal: Prelude, but instead, I’d rather warn you that you’d best not attempt it unless you’re a complete Portal fanatic. It’s made by a dude and his dude friends that have no idea how to make a game, so expect some serious frustration. But if you’re into that, go for it.

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