Maps in Games

Finding our way in the diaspora of game worlds

Sometimes Testing Has to Occur Outside the Confines of the Lab

Returning to the depths of Aperture Science, we find another of GlaDOS’ nefarious plans in motion. Since Chell was exiled from the facility, this sociopathic AI is now free to put robots Atlas and P-Body to work on a variety of tasks, for totally legitimate scientific testing. At the end of her team-building course, the two androids are asked to navigate the basement of the facility, there to boot up what appears to be a missile targeting system. Nothing major, then…

Providing GlaDOS’ system with the necessary disk prompts this radar readout, of an unknown, angular coastline. It places the testing facility somewhere near the ocean or a lake – perhaps Lake Michigan, established site of the Aperture Science labs from the single-player campaign. The outline on this readout doesn’t seem to resemble anywhere real on the Michigan peninsula, however. A river mouth can be seen towards the lower edge of the map, and much of the inland area is populated by cuboid bodies of what may well be water, or some sort of agricultural feature.

In this instance it is what is shown upon the map which tells the story. Hostile targets have appeared on GlaDOS’ readout, and the players have taken an active role in calibrating some sort of targeting system, trained upon those hostiles. It’s all done at a blissful remove upon a map readout, for now…

Taken on my first playthrough of Portal 2’s co-operative mode, with friend and contributor Liam Nicholson. Everything is seen as in situ, save for the Handheld Portal Device’s targeting reticule.

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