It’s been a crazy week for fans of the Portal that have been following the gaming press. After last patching the game with minor fixes in June 2009, Valve have pushed two cryptic updates live for the game this week, both of which made changes to the game itself.
The first added several radios to the game’s levels in addition to the ones already present in the game. Usually these just play some fairly crazy, mexican sounding musak, but several forum-posters on various sites have found that placing these radios on the various red buttons scattered throughout the game as part of the game mechanics, causes them to broadcast a new series of signals.
Things only get crazier from there. Portal fans from a bunch of fan forums, bless ’em, have examined the transmissions and managed to decode them into morse code and images of security camera footage from Aperture Labs – the installation the game takes place in. The rabbit hole went further, though, as an MD5 hashed phone number for an old-school Bulletin Board Service was found in the images which itself had MORE cryptic images.
I love that Valve put this stuff out there knowing that their fans are crazy enough to do the work. I guess that’s what happens when you have to wait so long for sequel announcements! <cough>Episode 3</cough>
The second update to the game, which JUST went live actually changed the game’s ending – albeit very slightly.
I’m not going to spoil it for you, but if you HAVE finished the game, you can see the updated ending over at Giant Bomb.
All of this looks like it points to an announcement for Portal 2 at the GDC next week where Valve’s Gabe Newell is receiving the Pioneer Award for the Game Developers Choice Awards 2010.