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Semiformalishmaybe

Questions Left By Portal 2

There may be some spoilers ahead as I talk about Portal 2.

Portal 2 is set in the same universe as Valve's Half-Life series. It's also a really fantastic game. I've had a few dreams in that setting, and may have geeked out a bit over it.

Questions remaining from the game:

  • What was Aperture Science like when it was in full operation under human control? Is the run-downness almost entirely due to it having been abandoned before either game, or was it always a bit rough around the edges? (My dreams explored this question a lot)
  • How actually-connected was Cave to his research teams? Was his notion of the means of research they did accurate?
  • Was the G-Man involved in Aperture Science in similar ways to his involvement in Black Mesa?
  • How much total funds was acquired/spent on the Aperture Science labs?
Portal Gun:
  • Early in the game, the facility created its own portals, often with no portal gun. Could it do this in general anywhere? Was this under the control of GLadOS?
  • Does the Portal Gun shoot a substance?
  • Does the Portal Gun actually create the portals, or does it mark surfaces that direct the facility to make them?
  • Does the energy needed to create portals come from the gun?
  • Can GLadOS cancel portals? (how did the portal to the moon close?) If so, why did GLadOS permit portals to be opened that were harmful to her?
  • Does the gun or facility have to pay energy for object transits through portals that do not conserve energy? Or is this a bug-in-the-universe kind of thing that might provide free energy if done right?
  • Is there something special about facility walls in the game that permits portals, or will any sufficiently large, flat surface do?
  • Why are portals cancelled when the surface they're on rotates? What kinds of motion cancel a portal?
  • How do portal cancellations work when someone/something is partway through a portal?
  • Could a pair of portals be used to create a better oven? Or a Tokkomak fusion reactor?
Chell:
  • Is Chell actually brain-damaged? (Maybe!)
  • When Chell was growing up with her parents at Aperture Science, did she know Rattman?
  • Did Chell's science fair happen while she was living with her real parents or adoptive ones?
  • Is Chell an acrobat?
  • How does Chell feed herself?
I note that the three-portal gun Wheatley jokes about would only be a good idea if one of the portals were a spare that could swap with an existing portal. Any arrangement where there were a "middle" portal B that would be a target for A but would target C would NOT be a good thing to send a human (or a balloon full of water) through, for reasons that become apparent after a moment's thought.

GLadOS:

  • Is GLadOS restrained to do research in a way external (and punishment-driven, as we see with Wheatley) or internal to her mind? Is she capable of trying to disrupt science?
  • Is the minimally-sentient oversight system able to directly remove GLadOS without a replacement core handy? Can it fetch replacement cores on its own?
  • Did GLadOS (or the other AIs in the facility) fight the invading aliens from the Half-Life series?
  • Did GLadOS send any AIs out of the Aperture Science facilities? (Besides the Party Retrieval Escort Bot)
  • How did GLadOS keep Aperture Science powered?
  • Was GLadOS capable of extending herself and the labs into new areas of the Salt Mines? Was GLadOS capable of digging into the raw earth for expansion?
  • Is it appropriate to consider GLadOS a transhuman?
  • How do GLadOS's powers compare to other intelligences in the facility? How many of them existed before her death at the end of Portal 1 and rebirth during Portal 2?
  • Provided Carolyn really integrates into GLadOS, will GLadOS be able to remain sane given her (panicked? justifiable?) homicide of everyone in Aperture Science?
  • Was GLadOS's killing of everyone in Aperture Science out of anger in her (presumed) forcible transcendence? Or was her mental state not understandable in human terms?

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