Play Some 'Potato Sack' Games, Help Portal 2 Release Early

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Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

On April 1, Valve launched the Potato Sack on Steam, a $38 bundle that contains a total of 13 middling-to-awesome indie titles. Today, it’s been revealed that the Potato Sack is more than just a cost-efficient means to get your hands on a lot of games: it’s also the key to unlocking Portal 2 on Steam before the title’s actual release date.

Nestled inside the Potato Sack was the beginning of an elaborate ARG that spanned e-mail, the games’ files, and the web. The supposed last piece to solving the puzzle was available at this Aperture Science Web site, which once had a countdown timer that ended at around 9:00AM PST this morning. Most fans believed, due to several not-so-vague hints, that when this timer was finished ticking down, Portal 2 would be unlocked on Steam. Oh, how tantalizingly close they were to the truth! 
  

  

On its countdown site--its post-countdown countdown site--Valve revealed another countdown of sorts called "Glados@Home." Confirming the speculation, Valve says that when this clock hits zero, you'll be able to play Portal 2, possibly early. How early you can depends on the catch of Glados@Home: the web site is somehow computing how much time people are spending in the Potato Sack games. When the allotted time is spent in each game, Portal 2 will unlock. Right now, it's saying the game will unlock in about 90 hours, which is... Tuesday, the day the game hits anyway on the PCMacXbox 360, and PS3.

If you get real quiet right now you can probably hear a mix of sighs and groans from brick and mortar retailers, who are getting the carpet pulled out from under them a bit here. Assuming you guys fire up some indie games and actually get Portal 2 out early in the first place, that is.

#1 Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

On April 1, Valve launched the Potato Sack on Steam, a $38 bundle that contains a total of 13 middling-to-awesome indie titles. Today, it’s been revealed that the Potato Sack is more than just a cost-efficient means to get your hands on a lot of games: it’s also the key to unlocking Portal 2 on Steam before the title’s actual release date.

Nestled inside the Potato Sack was the beginning of an elaborate ARG that spanned e-mail, the games’ files, and the web. The supposed last piece to solving the puzzle was available at this Aperture Science Web site, which once had a countdown timer that ended at around 9:00AM PST this morning. Most fans believed, due to several not-so-vague hints, that when this timer was finished ticking down, Portal 2 would be unlocked on Steam. Oh, how tantalizingly close they were to the truth! 
  

  

On its countdown site--its post-countdown countdown site--Valve revealed another countdown of sorts called "Glados@Home." Confirming the speculation, Valve says that when this clock hits zero, you'll be able to play Portal 2, possibly early. How early you can depends on the catch of Glados@Home: the web site is somehow computing how much time people are spending in the Potato Sack games. When the allotted time is spent in each game, Portal 2 will unlock. Right now, it's saying the game will unlock in about 90 hours, which is... Tuesday, the day the game hits anyway on the PCMacXbox 360, and PS3.

If you get real quiet right now you can probably hear a mix of sighs and groans from brick and mortar retailers, who are getting the carpet pulled out from under them a bit here. Assuming you guys fire up some indie games and actually get Portal 2 out early in the first place, that is.

#2 Edited by stringbacon (87 posts) -

Anyone wanna gift me SMB?

#3 Posted by smiddy (360 posts) -

Meanwhile at Valve...

Online
#4 Posted by CaLe (3996 posts) -

They could have been a little clearer on exactly what we need to do to increase the number.

#5 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -
@CaLe said:
" They could have been a little clearer on exactly what we need to do to increase the number. "
It's hard to get clearer than "play games that are in the Potato Pack."
#6 Edited by ShiftyMagician (2129 posts) -

Game On Valve...

#7 Posted by PhatSeeJay (3322 posts) -

Yeah... Think it's the first time a PR campaign have actually made me more eager to see a game released on the actual launch date. Good job, Valve.

#8 Posted by CaLe (3996 posts) -
@benjaebe:  Play them as in just launch them and then close? Keep them running? Do whatever it takes to get the potato in the game? ......... Yeah, so clear.
#9 Posted by GoodAssLettuce (100 posts) -

It would be nice if this effected the console release of Portal 2. I wonder if Valve does release it early on PC if retail will break the street date

#10 Posted by DirtyData (78 posts) -
@CaLe:  They're Valve, they do what they want, the way they want, when they want to. Everyone's dream should be to not be a slave to stock holders (some would say this is why GiantBomb and other Whiskey Media sites are so effin' amazing).

So yes, they could be more clear, but hey, it's Valve.

Much respect.
#11 Posted by InsidiousTuna (385 posts) -

I've seen a lot of people complaining and groaning about Valve lying to them or tricking them. There's a disgusting sense of entitlement out there- people are complaining that they put in a bunch of "work" to find secrets in the Potato Sack games, and they believe that they deserve Portal 2 early. It's just gross. People played a bunch of games in order to play a metagame. That's not work, and they didn't earn a reward. And this sentiment isn't just from consumers, either- this shitty behavior is pretty widespread. I'm actually really impressed with Valve- this is an awesome publishing move. The devs of the Potato Sack games are making a ton of money and getting a lot out of this. Good on them, and shame on everyone out there boo-hooing that they don't get Portal 2 early.

#12 Posted by Anthal (20 posts) -
#13 Posted by Killroycantkill (1409 posts) -

I know this might be crazy and not as awesome as getting Portal 2 early. But the only thing I think of when I read Glados@Home is that they're going to make a Portal themed area for Playstation Home.

#14 Posted by JammyMan (21 posts) -

I wonder what the energy cost of every die hard portal 2 fan leaving these games running for a whole weekend is...

#15 Posted by Fudge91 (199 posts) -

MARKETING
#16 Posted by chessman2391 (21 posts) -

As I understand it now, the bars fill up at a rate proportional to the number of users playing each game. The bars won't empty if fewer people are playing each game, they'll just fill up more slowly. The potatoes probably act as some sort of multiplier. So, the best thing to do is at least open one of the games in the pack and idle in it indefinitely.

#17 Posted by mattman734 (84 posts) -

Man valve is such and evil genius, if activistion or EA pulled something like this there would be rioting at their doorsteps.  But yeah play those games i want portal 2

#18 Posted by ajamafalous (12007 posts) -
#19 Posted by Animasta (14698 posts) -
#20 Posted by Anthal (20 posts) -
@Laketown: How do you figure? The source on the page lists it as 'potato_count'.
#21 Edited by MrQuizmo (54 posts) -

Oh man, I only just learned about this stuff two days ago, and it all looked pretty crazy then. Now, it looks crazy, but it's ended in a fairly straight forward challenge.And frankly, I'm down with it. Portal 2 will be out soon, and if everyone participates in this challenge, then it'll be sooner than expected.
So, dust off your Hat Idling skills, we need you for one more mission. Then we'll let  you retire in peace....

Until next time.

#22 Posted by l3illyl3ob (283 posts) -

ARG participants have been getting everyone to idle in The Wonderful End of the World.  This idling is resulting in the bar filling up rather quickly.  In a few hours, it should be full, with relatively few potatoes being earned in it.  Maybe potatoes multiply the speed at which the bar fills, but there's no proof for this. 

#23 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
@stringbacon said:
" Anyone wanna gift me SMB? "
Same here. I now realize that my computer can play games from 2010, as long as they're 2D.
#24 Posted by psylah (2177 posts) -

Well there is little to no incentive for me to take part in any of this, as I have already put my cash in for the PS3 version on Amazon, and that ships on the normal date.

Poor deal for the folks who wanted to get the PS3/PC package.

#25 Posted by jennoa (90 posts) -

I find this to be a genius, if insidious, move on Valve's part.

#26 Posted by Skald (4367 posts) -

Good for Valve, helping the indie developers.

#27 Posted by bybeach (4848 posts) -


HUH?

 

I'm really at a loss here. Back to work outside in the sunshine getting my garden going.

#28 Posted by MaFoLu (1858 posts) -

Valve has now made me buy the Potato Sack, which I had pretty much no interest in getting since I already had SMB, Amnesia and Audiosurf...


#29 Posted by TheYear20XX (425 posts) -
@psylah said:
" Poor deal for the folks who wanted to get the PS3/PC package. "
How, exactly? You're still getting the game exactly when Valve said you would.
#30 Posted by Legend (2659 posts) -

Why are people asking for free games here? Most of those indie games are cheap enough..

#31 Posted by Kyreo (4600 posts) -

*sigh*  More Valve shenanigans.  

#32 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -
@Legend said:
" Why are people asking for free games here? Most of those indie games are cheap enough.. "
Most of them are less than 5 bucks too.  >.>

I'm too fucking piss, so to spite everyone I'm idling TF2.  
#33 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -

That's neat.

#34 Posted by iAmJohn (6121 posts) -
@stringbacon said:
" Anyone wanna gift me SMB? "
Sorry dude, I gifted someone else my extra copy. :P
#35 Posted by swamplord666 (1760 posts) -
@Legend: I just think after one user decided to be generous enough to gift a game a day for a week they think everyone is that generous... freeloaders ftl...
OT Valves marketing ploys always amaze me.
#36 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4683 posts) -

The game comes out tuesday. Surely people can wait.
#37 Posted by stringbacon (87 posts) -
@Legend said:
" Why are people asking for free games here? Most of those indie games are cheap enough.. "
I assume some people bought the Potato Sack when they already owned some of the games, and now have duplicates.
Also, free > cheep.
#38 Posted by phish09 (1109 posts) -

My question.  Since I already have 8 of those games, do I really have to buy them again to take part in this, or can I just play Amnesia Dark Descent all night?

#39 Posted by thejke (92 posts) -

Bit trip beat has a special test mode that has portal 2 in the background of the game

#40 Posted by zaglis (910 posts) -

PLAY VIDOEGAMES, DAMMIT!

#41 Posted by Progman9000 (258 posts) -
@phish09 said:
" My question.  Since I already have 8 of those games, do I really have to buy them again to take part in this, or can I just play Amnesia Dark Descent all night? "
The only "Potato Sack" game I own is Audiosurf, and I loaded it up to check.  Totally had crazy GlaDOS stuff in it, so I'd say you're good to go as long as you own the game.
#42 Posted by JoeyRavn (4977 posts) -

I love the ARG, but the game is being released on tuesday. Can't say I care about it coming out just 4 days earlier than originally planned.

#43 Posted by Bakumatsu (357 posts) -
#44 Posted by BigLemon (1022 posts) -
@CaLe said:
" @benjaebe:  Play them as in just launch them and then close? Keep them running? Do whatever it takes to get the potato in the game? ......... Yeah, so clear. "
It's tracking how much time you spend in the game. So, the same counter than Steam is already using basically for tracking how much time you spend in specific games. They just aggregate the data from the potato sack games. I thought it was pretty clear...
#45 Posted by psoplayer (238 posts) -
@MaFoLu said:
" Valve has now made me buy the Potato Sack, which I had pretty much no interest in getting since I already had SMB, Amnesia and Audiosurf...

"
So now you can gift those extra copies to other users here on GB and we'll get there even faster!
#46 Posted by Burn1n9m4n (261 posts) -

Does anyone else see the logical fallacy in buying a bunch of games so that a new game is released earlier than planned just so that you can buy that game as well at full price with no discount? 

#47 Posted by _WAMPA__STOMPA (2 posts) -
@stringbacon: Sure. What's your Steam ID?
#48 Posted by cyraxible (688 posts) -
@Burn1n9m4n: You don't need to buy the games. Just have them run, and given the amount of people who bought all of the games in the special tie-in pack, that shouldn't take too long.

 
#49 Posted by BoringK (268 posts) -

I bought the Potato Sack when it dropped a couple of weeks ago. Don't regret it (only already owned Bit.Trip Beat). But that countdown clock doesn't seem to be moving much faster.

Oh well. I'll be waiting 'til Tuesday for my PS3/PC copy anyway.

#50 Posted by Lord_Ozma (36 posts) -

If you already own the games, just start them up and let em sit. Still counts toward the total time, no "playing" on your part necessary, unless you want to of course. I'm at work now and I have all 4 of the Potato games that i own running in the background to generate more CPUs.


Hoping it'll be released at some point tomorrow...

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