Those who have been following Valve's Portal 2 alternate reality game (ARG) have no doubt been impressed with the sheer complexity of its puzzle, and with so many people dedicated to the cause of solving it, Valve must be impressed with those who've participated.
It's only natural then that Valve's own concept of reverse-Valve-time might come into play here as a reward for a community that really loves their Portal-driven puzzle game. According to an announcement on the Steam community page, playing games featured in the Potato Sack Pack could help expedite the release of Portal 2. It's not clear if this early release will be just for Steam, but an early retail release seems unlikely.
"Well, the end is definitely near. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of ingenious test subjects, we've located enough potatoes to generate the required power to start the GLaDOS reboot process. It's not too late to participate, though. The more CPU power dedicated to the process, the faster it will finish. What does that mean? From now until release, play any or all of the Potato Sack games to expedite the launch of Portal 2. Your efforts will be tracked on the official GLaDOS@home page."
"The Potato Sack games are all great, and each one has also received a massive Portal-themed update. So why not get a taste of Portal 2 now while you help launch it?"
"There's also still time to collect all 36 potatoes. Anyone accomplishing this feat by the time Portal 2 launches will receive a very special, non-hat-based reward."
Straight from the source, this confirmation is all the reason you need to drop everything you're doing and start playing some indie developed video games. The progress bars at the GLaDOS@home page are time based, with different games requiring a different overall time investment based on the number of gamers that own the games. Games that are owned by fewer gamers require less overall time played for the bar to fill completely.
For those not familiar with the ARG that Valve has set up for the launch of Portal 2, on April Fools Day a special package of indie developed game was made available on Steam called The Potato Sack. This pack of games features 13 indie-developed games which have all been updated with a slight potato themed twist.
Early hints had pointed to Valve's involvement and exploration of the updated games revealed a number of changes which would come to be understood as hints towards a Portal 2 themed ARG. Why potatoes? The addition of the letters r l and w to potato could be used to spell out POrTAl TwO.
At time of publication of this post, the countdown timer/projected launch date at the GLaDOS@home page is clocking in at just over 91 hours which is Tuesday when the game comes out (i.e. not early). Will you be playing the potato sack games to help speed up the release of Portal 2?
Portal 2 will be released on Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac on April 19, 2011, or sooner if enough gamers get involved on Steam.
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