Portal 2 & Puzzle Maker

Emerging Technologies and Edtech April 28, 2014

Country of Origin: USA
Languages: English, German, French, Spanish and Russian
Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation
Year Published: 2011
Website: http://www.thinkwithportals.com/
Platforms: Windows, OSX, PS3, Xbox
Genre: Physics Puzzle / Puzzle Platformer
Subjects: Math, Science (physics)

Portal 2 is a huge commercial hit game for PC, Mac and several consoles, which uses first-person controls in a puzzle game setting. ‘Portals’created by a player’s gun allow temporary breaks in the reality of physics, instantly transporting the player (and all other objects, including light) from one point to another in space. These anomalies allow the player to solve puzzle goals (usually reaching an exit door), but require a thoughtful understanding of space, momentum, and physical causality to do so. Through these spatial tasks, players exercise an understanding of physical science concepts and complex problem solving.

Portal 2 also introduced a cooperative play mode, in which two players must share solutions in order for both to reach the exits. The cooperative puzzles generally require both players to communicate extensively about the nature and sequence of their proposed solutions.

Portal’s Puzzle Maker is a simplified version of the authoring tools used by the game development team. Users can create and publish their own‘levels,’ or Portal 2 puzzles. Creating solvable puzzles that have interesting and appropriate challenges is a high-order cognitive and creative task for students to engage in. Portal 2 is available for retail purchase but is overwhelmingly more popular as a digital download using Valve’s proprietary Steam system.