I’ve been homesick lately. All the anti-consumer changes to the internet as we know it and the heartbreaking death of Web 2.0 have me longing for that 00s online world. While writing about my experiences playing Line Rider and Runescape, frequenting forums, and generally enjoying the freedom the world wide web afforded me, I also played Portal for the first time. Only it wasn’t developed by Valve.
Portal: The Flash Version is a 2D version of Valve’s iconic puzzle game, swapping the iconic first-person action for a side-scrolling atmosphere, yet retaining many of the game’s core tenets. There are boxes and turrets galore, as well as good head-scratching puzzles. Developer We Create Stuff released the game before Portal actually came out, so excited about Valve’s puzzle that they created 40 levels based on trailers alone.
Like many people, this was my first experience with Portal. However, while most gamers jumped to the official game as soon as it was released, my non-gaming PC self was relegated to playing the flash version for years. The family computer could run browser games quite well, but struggled in the starting level of The Hobbit, so Portal felt like a stretch.
Portal: The Flash Version holds up quite well, even after playing Valve’s technically superior game. The puzzles nail Portal’s vibe, many of the story beats are the same, and it even has cake at the end. It’s an impressive recreation of the full game, somewhat prescient of the modern trend of “demaking” classics like Bloodborne. Except it was released Before the game that inspired it. It’s an amazing game for a bunch of hobbyist developers to make as a freebie, but it’s even better when you realize it’s here earlier, even if just by a day.
My favorite thing about this game is that it was free to play. It is a flash game and can be played in your browser. There were no ads, no donate buttons, just the game being hosted on the developer’s website. Sadly, since Flash is no longer supported, it is no longer available there, but is hosted by multiple flash gaming websites. You’ll have to ignore the annoying sidebar ads, but it’s as pure an experience as you’ll get on the modern internet. We Create Stuff did exactly as the name suggests: it created stuff. He didn’t do it for money or fame, he made this game out of passion and a love of gaming.
Flash Portal was incredibly popular, so much so that the developer soon created a mod for Portal, moving its 2D levels into 3D. This didn’t go unnoticed by Valve, who included the mod in their bonus content in Portal: Still Alive for Xbox 360. It’s still available for free on PC, which is testament to the creators’ commitment to creating freely available fun.
We Create Stuff is still making games and isn’t limited to Flash versions of triple-A titles. In Sound Mind is a first-person psychological horror from the team, which has catapulted itself to relative infamy with a simple idea, executed to perfection. The developers have built a career based on their passion, but I wonder if that’s possible in 2023.
If Portal: The Flash Version was released today, would it have the same impact? First of all, it couldn’t be released as a Flash game. Even if it ran through some other browser plug-in, would it have a blatant ad or battle pass? Would Valve step in – we’re in more contentious times now – and shut it down rather than embrace the team’s creativity? Would it have been as successful as 2007? There’s a chance it would gain an Among Us-style reputation and streamers would flock to it, but that seems unlikely. Perhaps the creators could launch a Patreon to fund development? Would he gain a small following on Itch? It’s been 15 years since its launch, but it could also be a century. We are now in a different era, where games like Portal: The Flash Version would struggle to succeed.
Next: The Adeptus Mechanicus is dead, long live the Adeptus Mechanicus
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Image Source : www.thegamer.com