Rules of Portal

Posted: February 10, 2013 by tacohead30 in Uncategorized

The Rules of Portal 

I started off this session on Portal in “Test Chamber 13.” I don’t know how long the game is but I hope I have enough left for my last journal!


For this journal, I was hoping to focus on the “Rules of Portal,” or the three main categories of rules defined in our textbook, Rules of Play. Constituative, operational, and implicit rules are the three categories in which the rules of digital play can fall under. I want to attempt to recognize rules from Portal and try to place them into one of those three categories.


Constituative rules are the foundational rules of a game; they represent the logic behind playing the game. In Portal, there are a few examples of Constituative rules, but this concept is a little more abstract in my opinion. I came up with a few examples: 1) To complete the level, the player must navigate through the level to the elevator which will take the player to the next level. 2) Before a player may advance to the next level, he must activate every switch to open the doors to the elevator.


Constituative rules were a little tougher to identify for me on Portal, and distinguishing between operational rules can be tricky.


Operational rules represent the rules that are definitively outlined, and relate most with a players interactions with the game and are really the essential to physically play the game. For example: 1) The player is able to fire a blue portal with the right trigger on the controller, while the left trigger will fire an orange portal. They will only work on certain walls within the test chamber. 2) Only one portal of each color may be active at a time. If you shoot a portal of the same color of a portal that has already been created, the new portal will replace the old one. 3) The player can jump with the “A” button. 4) The player can pick up, hold, and move cubes with the “X” button, and can drop them by again pressing the “X” button.


Such rules as these represent the essential instructions on how to fundamentally player the game, in this case Portal.


Implicit rules are often rules that are taken for granted. In the case of Portal, some implicit rules are as follows: 1) The direction to move your joysticks will correspond with how the player will move on the screen. 2) The player can pause, save, load, or quit the game by pressing start at any time during gameplay. 3) When a player saves, s/he will be able to pickup their progress from the exact point in which they saved.


These types of rules are very basic and may be assumed by most players. Portal doesn’t have as many rules as an MMORPG, where you would find many more implicit rules based around social etiquette during gameplay.


So there they are! The rules of Portal!


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