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 PC, Mac, Xbox 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.