Is Portal a horror series?

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#1 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

I'm midway though Portal 2 and the longer I play the series the more I'm convinced Valve has achieved something amazing in creating a horror series that, while containing all the elements of a horror story, isn't perceived that way at all.


I'm curious what people think. How similar is the series to, say, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream?
#2 Posted by yoshimitz707 (2452 posts) -

What are you talking about? Horror needs to be scary. There's nothing in Portal that scared me.

#3 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5254 posts) -
@yoshimitz707 said:
" What are you talking about? Horror needs to be scary. There's nothing in Portal that scared me. "
I don't know. Homicidal psychopathic robots are pretty scary.
#4 Posted by Andorski (5287 posts) -

While Valve gave Aperture Science a creepy vibe to it, Portal 2 is not a horror story at all.

#5 Posted by yoshimitz707 (2452 posts) -
@wolf_blitzer85 said:
" @yoshimitz707 said:
" What are you talking about? Horror needs to be scary. There's nothing in Portal that scared me. "
I don't know. Homicidal psychopathic robots are pretty scary. "
Not when they're constantly making jokes.
#6 Posted by supermike6 (3561 posts) -

I don't follow.

#7 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

If it has any connection to a book it would probably be "Catcher in the Rye" well although good, people think it's far more amazing that it really is, and make things up in their mind that they slowly believe must be true. As in thinking Portal is a horror game.

 

Or that Catcher in the Rye can make you kill people.

#8 Posted by Claude (16255 posts) -

I thought it was a first person puzzle platformer with some cool story elements and a wicked sense of humor.

#9 Posted by Afroman269 (7387 posts) -

wat

#10 Posted by CornBREDX (5126 posts) -

Nah. Portal is kind of a hybrid thriller/comedy with puzzles. It's a weird combination but it's the balance they seem to have struck. Its an interesting breed.

There's nothing scary about Portal, though at times it can be intense (thus the thriller aspect) but leans more on it's comedy. Since Valve is good at what they do they still tend to humanize things and make characters fully fleshed out so even in the comedy sometimes it can turn on you. It's pretty clever although at times the writing felt schizophrenic.

I won't get into that, though, I know most here laud Portal as an amazing story and they are  entitled to believe as they do.
I guess my only point here is the game is mostly comedy with some psycho-thriller vibes to it which is a strange mix so it doesn't always work but for what they did it's pretty cool more often then not.

#11 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5254 posts) -
@yoshimitz707 said:
" @wolf_blitzer85 said:
" @yoshimitz707 said:
" What are you talking about? Horror needs to be scary. There's nothing in Portal that scared me. "
I don't know. Homicidal psychopathic robots are pretty scary. "
Not when they're constantly making jokes. "
Yeah joking about killing you.

And how fat you are.
#12 Posted by yoshimitz707 (2452 posts) -
@wolf_blitzer85: HILARIOUS
#13 Posted by Sinkwater (514 posts) -

If you wanna call Half Life 2 horror, you could have an argument, but Portal? No way.

#14 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5254 posts) -
@yoshimitz707: Not when I'm crying into my empty pudding cups....
#15 Posted by Adus (68 posts) -

If you consider Portal horror then you have very low standards for horror.

#16 Posted by Daveyo520 (6687 posts) -

No, just no.

#17 Posted by Hashbrowns (650 posts) -


Seems more like a dark comedy or maybe a thriller.  There are certainly sinister elements and danger, but most genres have the main character in peril in order to produce tension and drama.  Horror tends to lean more on, well... horror, or a sense of revlusion.  That's why horror movies trade in graphic or disturbing imagery.

#18 Posted by Grillbar (1818 posts) -
@JazGalaxy said:
" I'm midway though Portal 2 and the longer I play the series the more I'm convinced Valve has achieved something amazing in creating a horror series that, while containing all the elements of a horror story, isn't perceived that way at all.

I'm curious what people think. How similar is the series to, say, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream?
"
its not horror its a puzzle game. imo portal to is as much a horror game as black ops or mortal kombat
#19 Posted by IesuNoel (130 posts) -

I'd say suspense but that's about it.  Dark comedy seems to fit the mold better.
#20 Posted by DAFTPUNK (1213 posts) -
@Sinkwater: half life 2 was kinda scary/creepy in some parts, just had this vibe to it.
#21 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -
@yoshimitz707 said:
" What are you talking about? Horror needs to be scary. There's nothing in Portal that scared me. "
Well that's the point, really.

Portal 2 is, ostensibly, a game about a character trapped in an endless maze and being forced to endure a torrent of testing.

That's, essentially, the plot of the novel turned game "I have no mouth and I must scream" which involved a group of people in a VR chamber who were tortured by a machine "God" who kept transforming reality to maximie their torture and to keep them from killing themelves.

Or, alternatively, it's very much like the punishments given to the denizens of hell in Dante's INfornero, where they are forced to repeat the same tasks endlessly.

Just because the game is filled with jokes (which Chelle is not likely to find as funny as you do) doesn't mean it's not a horror situation. In fact, it makes it more of a horror situation.
#22 Posted by IBurningStar (2165 posts) -

I see a sci-fi dark comedy more than anything. There isn't anything creepy or monstrous about anything that goes on.

#23 Posted by BeachThunder (11860 posts) -

I guess you could perceive parts of it that way. Afterall, the only difference between GLaDOS and Shodan is that one pretends to give you cake...

#24 Posted by Hizang (8532 posts) -

It's not a horro part, heck Half Life is more of a horror than Portal. How is this exactly a horror game?
#25 Posted by Yanngc33 (4496 posts) -
@Hizang: Agreed, I consider Half Life to be a horror game during some parts, Portal 2 does not have any of the trappings of a horror game
#26 Posted by Soapy86 (2620 posts) -

I sort of agree with OP. At least as far as the first one is concerned. 


There was a moment in Portal 1 when I was sitting still, quietly trying to solve a puzzle in my head while listening to the music. It was at this moment that I realized, not only was there music in Portal, but said music was CREEPY AS FUCK. Then I began paying closer attention to the game and started to notice shit like how there were offices overlooking many of the test chambers, but there was never anyone in them. Coincidently, these revelations came just before the point when Glados starts to get less subtle with her ill intent. So all of this kind of came together at just the right time, to give the rest of the game a very sinister vibe for me. 
#27 Edited by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

No. Having good ambience doesn't make it horror. Fact is, its just Chell down there and she never talks so there's not much at stake. As opposed to Half Life, where Alyx is around. All you have is a dumbass robot, then later a smartass robot in a potato and frankly its not a huge loss if either of them die. And you say "Silent Hill just has one character most of the time". Yeah, but its an actual character with a voice and emotions.

#28 Posted by Gamer_152 (14072 posts) -

It's definitely dark, but I don't think it's horror. The game tries to thrill you, it tries to make you feel smart, it tries to make you laugh, but I don't feel like it ever tries to outright scare you.

Moderator
#29 Posted by RobotHamster (4171 posts) -

It's definitely a horror game, the night after I beat it I kept having nightmares I turned into a potato!!!

#30 Posted by bybeach (4792 posts) -

I agree with Dark comedy, thriller, puzzle and such.
#32 Posted by DystopiaX (5301 posts) -

I don't think so...I wasn't really scared at all. Portal 1 at least (haven't picked up 2 yet) did a very good job of creating an eerie/creepy atmosphere after the reveal that GlaDOS is evil, but I wasn't ever really scared by the game.

Online
#33 Posted by eskimo (476 posts) -

No, it's clearly science fiction.

#34 Posted by ajamafalous (11964 posts) -
@Sinkwater said:
" If you wanna call Half Life 2 horror, you could have an argument, but Portal? No way. "
#35 Posted by Vexxan (4620 posts) -

Portal is not scary, it's a first person puzzle game that comes with a lot of jokes.

#36 Edited by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Even in the final fights there's not really much of a sense of urgency, and prior to that you can really take your sweet time the whole way through. Maybe if Rattman was chasing you around the whole game with rapey eyes. Horror is me being afraid to go to the next room, or afraid to stay in the current room. 

#37 Posted by probablytuna (3626 posts) -

No, Portal is too funny to be a horror series.

#38 Edited by ThePhantomnaut (6197 posts) -

The Australian band Portal sounds like horror.   

#39 Posted by Contro (2040 posts) -

No horror in this game.

#40 Posted by Vodun (2370 posts) -
@yoshimitz707 said:
" What are you talking about? Horror needs to be scary. There's nothing in Portal that scared me. "
Nah, horror needs to TRY to be scary. You finding it scary is beside the point.
#41 Edited by crusader8463 (14419 posts) -

I always thought of it as an 80's comedy horror, like Gremlins or Ghoulies, without the killing and, sadly, full frontal nudity. If it wasn't for the jokes going off every 30 seconds, and if Gladous was constantly in her bitch mode, I could see it easily being a horror. More of a psychological thriller then anything.


There were certainly parts where she was pissed off to the point where that I could have seen it easily being terrifying had they wanted to go in that direction.
#42 Posted by PerryVandell (2103 posts) -

Sure some of the jokes are a bit morbid, but I wouldn't call Portal 2 a scary game in any regard.

#43 Posted by Immuniity (241 posts) -

Short answer: No

Long Answer: No, dont be stupid

#44 Posted by IchiroYagiza (442 posts) -

...nope.

#45 Posted by RiotBananas (3600 posts) -
@Afroman269 said:
" wat "
#46 Edited by Kjellm87 (1728 posts) -

Is Zelda a horror game?

#47 Posted by Icemael (6317 posts) -

Portal is no more horror than a Pixar movie.

#48 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

People seem to be suggesting that portal can't be horror because it's funny. that's ridiculous, since many horror films such as Army Of Darkness are known as some of the best comedies of all time.

To people suggesting it can't be horror because it's not scary, that's completely subjective. I don't find nearly any horror film to be scary. To those saying it can't be horror because it's not gory or violent, the only horror films I DO find scary aren't gory or violent.

As was mentioned before, SHODAN and GlaDOS are actually very similar. Only, GlaDOS makes jokes while torturing you.

The point of the original post is that Valve has created a nightmare scenario, that of a  hellish prison of being forced to repeat the same tasks over and over again until you slowly drift into insanity and despair (as the people who came before Chell and wrote on the written have done), and cleaned it up to make it appear holy. Thus is, really, the entire joke of portal.

Instead of making the whole thing dark like Doom 3, they made it bright white. Instead of making the tormentor have a deep male voice, they made it have a sing-song female voice. Instead of making it directly curse and torment you, it curses and torments you with backwards compliments and false encouragement.

I think it's important to remember that Chell clearly doesn't find any of this funny, and if she were given a voice, she would likely spend 90% of the game screaming and crying. Also, just because the game sanitizes it's death situations, that doesn't mean that Chell isn't frequently riddled with bullets, burned with lasers, drowned, scalded, crushed, or impaled.

The cake is a lie.

The shiny facade of Portal is a lie.

So what is it really?

#49 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

"@Kjellm87 said:

" Is Zelda a horror game?
"

Majora's Mask? Yes. Yes it is.

Why would you think it isn't? Because it's part of a series that generally isn't considered to be?

From Wikipedia: 
"Plots written within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage, commonly of supernatural origin, into the everyday world. Themes or elements often prevalent in typical horror films include ghosts, torture, gore, werewolves, ancient curses, satanism, demons, vicious animals, vampires, cannibals, haunted houses, zombies and masked serial killers. Conversely, stories of the supernatural are not necessarily always a horror movie as well."

also

" Horror films deal with the viewer's nightmares, hidden worst fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Although a good deal of it is about the supernatural, if some films contain a plot about morbidity, serial killers, a disease/ virus outbreak and surrealism, they may be termed "horror."

Maybe Horror doesn't mean what you think it does, and maybe both Portal and Majora's Mask aren't the games you think they are.
#50 Posted by imsh_pl (3295 posts) -
@JazGalaxy said:
" People seem to be suggesting that portal can't be horror because it's funny. that's ridiculous, since many horror films such as Army Of Darkness are known as some of the best comedies of all time.To people suggesting it can't be horror because it's not scary, that's completely subjective. I don't find nearly any horror film to be scary. To those saying it can't be horror because it's not gory or violent, the only horror films I DO find scary aren't gory or violent.As was mentioned before, SHODAN and GlaDOS are actually very similar. Only, GlaDOS makes jokes while torturing you.The point of the original post is that Valve has created a nightmare scenario, that of a  hellish prison of being forced to repeat the same tasks over and over again until you slowly drift into insanity and despair (as the people who came before Chell and wrote on the written have done), and cleaned it up to make it appear holy. Thus is, really, the entire joke of portal.Instead of making the whole thing dark like Doom 3, they made it bright white. Instead of making the tormentor have a deep male voice, they made it have a sing-song female voice. Instead of making it directly curse and torment you, it curses and torments you with backwards compliments and false encouragement.I think it's important to remember that Chell clearly doesn't find any of this funny, and if she were given a voice, she would likely spend 90% of the game screaming and crying. Also, just because the game sanitizes it's death situations, that doesn't mean that Chell isn't frequently riddled with bullets, burned with lasers, drowned, scalded, crushed, or impaled.The cake is a lie.The shiny facade of Portal is a lie.So what is it really? "
At no point in Portal or Portal 2 is GLaDOS torturing you.

Also why do you suppose that Chell doesn't find the jokes funny?

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