Grand Nationals: Portal 2 Video Winners

By Alec Meer on August 12th, 2011 at 11:45 am.

I likez cartoonz the mostest

Well, looky-here. Valve’s put out the winners for its Portal 2/The National make-a-video contest – which is a bit of a relief, as people kept mailing us with their videos like we had some sort of judiciary power. We don’t! We only have that over the life and/or death of every sentient being on the planet. We cannot, repeat cannot, decide the winners of other people’s competitions.

So, here are the two victors, which I shall refer to as Sad Puppet and Cut-Up Lab Rat. Warning: watching them will require you to listen to a maudlin piano song that may affect your mood for the worse.

Placing 1st is C.F.Meister, with his saga of an unhappy sock:

That puppet sure is sad.

Placing 1.00000000001th is MikeMov 89, with the animated tale of Doug Rattman and his unhealthy Chell fixation:

Well done to both. You’ve probably won some kind of prize from Valve.

Oh, and I did a round-up of some of the other entries back here, if you’re interested.

(I like the runner-up better).

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52 Comments »

  1. DainIronfoot says:

    Gosh. Almost all the runner up/1.00000001 place videos are better than the winner.
    I guess the band liked it due to the complete lack of Portal references..

    • JFS says:

      Which is quite understandable, I’d say. I was baffled by the fact that practically every entry was more or less clearly linked to Portal. I mean, on the one hand, that’s understandable as the competition was somewhat hosted by Valve, but on the other hand, from a musician’s or (music) fan’s perspective you’d never get the idea that such a song’s video should have anything to do with video games.

    • Tei says:

      And thats why wen I conquer the planet, and turn dictator, I will send all artist to the pancake mines.

      Random:

      Golden Eye: Source
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGPBFvDz_HM

      Random:
      James Bond (Multiple Sources)

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      Daiv says:

      Tei Earth is Best Earth.

    • JFS says:

      Unless you’re an artist. Then again, maybe the pancake mines aren’t that bad after all.

    • Davee says:

      Except that wherever I look for the song it’s called “Exile VIilify (From the videogame Portal 2)”. But I can understand why they didn’t pick the ones that you wouldn’t understand anything unless you played it.

      Too bad they didn’t pick one with at least some Portal 2 references though. I really liked some of those runner-ups (Best Master Copy was very nice). :(

  2. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    Great game, great song, great band

    I don’t actually recall this song in the game though

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      Lambchops says:

      It’s on a radio in a (not particularly) hidden room in one of the early chambers. A wonderfully understated appearance and I sat there just listening to it (because it was the first time I’d heard it and I love The National) for quite a bit instead of getting on with the game.

    • Sorvin says:

      It played on a radio that you could find in one of the test rooms.

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      Vandelay says:

      It was in one of the little hidden areas, tucked away fairly early on. I missed it the first time too, but went back and found it (actually might have had to look up where it was, can’t actually remember.)

      Considering it must have been quite a coo to get The National on the soundtrack, with a song I presume was actually written for the game (my copy on Spotify is called ‘Exile, Vilify (from Portal 2)’ and I’ve not seen it on any of the albums,) and then to just keep it hidden away, so hardly anyone would find it, was quite a strange choice.

    • Scatterbrainpaul says:

      I guess I need a second run through of portal with a walkthru/easter egg guide. I guess i’ve missed quite a bit of the game

    • KenTWOu says:

      The National in Portal 2 Location (Exile Vilify)

  3. Shadrach says:

    (I like the runner-up better).

    Me two! That’s just lovely.

  4. McDan says:

    Aww, even though mine was clearly the best I did’t place even in the runners up. The system is flawed.

  5. Twilightx says:

    2nd place should have won :-/

  6. echoMateria says:

    The novelty of the puppet video doesn’t even last till the end of the video itself. I like the animated version of the comic, the second video, much better.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Absolutely. Nice idea, well executed, and great material for a minute or so. Then it just kept happening. I was hoping for some narrative to emerge about the sock’s travails. Nope.

  7. Will Tomas says:

    The winner was picked from these two by the band, not Valve. I think the second video is amazing, brilliantly animated and has the pacing down pat, but the first one is something you could put on whatever-MTV-channel-actually-shows-videos-these-days. It’s not bad, and it’s not about Portal 2, but it doesn’t do as much for me.

  8. gwathdring says:

    I don’t get the sock puppet. It doesn’t do anything for me at all. Well … it was cute and interesting for about 30 seconds. Then nothing took it beyond that or stretched it even enough to maintain that level of intrigue.

  9. aerozol says:

    The winner definitely captured the feel of the song more.
    The second one was excellently animated, and definitely impressive, it could have been set to pretty much any tune/ beat and it wouldn’t have changed much. The only thing that really suited was the end, which was great when it really mixed with the music emotionally.
    Basically, one lacked the portal theme, one lacked the music theme. I can see why gamers like one, and The National like the other (;

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    TheApologist says:

    The runner up is better. The sock thing is a laugh though.

  11. westyfield says:

    The winner of “Best Video Our Lawyers Won’t Let Us Pick” is, um. It’s quite something.

  12. slpk says:

    How does the puppet one even compares to the second? Or the others shown by RPS. The second is not that great either. Really crappy decision here, glad that doesn’t affect how my life will turn up in any way…

  13. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    The second might be the more impressively made, but doesn’t really go particularly well with the song. Good to recognise the achievement with the runner-up prize, but not a winning entry.

  14. pakoito says:

    The runner-up got me the chills, I hope that’s the one that won and you’re just scamming us.

  15. Donjo says:

    I LOVE the winning video, I think it’s incredilbe. Pretty much all the others went the obvious route of Portal 2 story / references / companion cubes etc. Suits the song and seems to capture some of the emotional themes throughout the game, isolation, breakdown, of being snared, while retaining a sense of humour- sock puppet :) It’s beautifully shot and the colours are really nice. I do like 1.00000000001th aswell but for me the winner is totally justified.

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    Big Murray says:

    I think Valve liked that the winning video was one which didn’t waltz in and say “look at how much technical ability we can impress you with, we must surely win”. It was just one simple idea, executed very well … and I think that simplicity is what won it for them.

    The second video really is just showing off more than anything, really.

  17. reticulate says:

    I liked the puppet.

    But I’ll agree the second probably shows more effort and is related to, y’know, the game the song is for.

    Both worthy, in my estimation.

  18. Spakkenkhrist says:

    Can we see some of the really awful ones now?

    • Donjo says:

      Good thinking.. and review them.. astoundingly terrible games receiving the reviews they deserve is always amusing, this should be no different.

  19. Calabi says:

    The second video ruins the emotiveness of the song the first one fits perfectly. I can see why it one.

  20. Terraval says:

    Wow. I thought those were both bloody awful.

  21. Urthman says:

    We cannot, repeat cannot, decide the winners of other people’s competitions.

    “In fact, we can hardly decide the winners of our own competitions!”

  22. GHudston says:

    I sometimes wonder if I’m looking at the same thing as everyone else.

    The winner was almost 5 minutes of a miserable looking bloke walking about with an equally miserable looking sock puppet and a bag of shopping. That’s it?! Is there some kind of deeper message to it that I’ve missed other than “Sad sock puppet is sad” or “This was the only one without portal references in it”?

    I’ll give it some credit, it was beautifully shot and was edited very well. But you can make a beautifully shot, well edited video out of literally anything. With cool colours and slow fades between shots, this video could have been of someone doing the washing up and still fit the song perfectly. I almost couldn’t watch it all the way through because it just didn’t go anywhere.

    I can’t be the only person here left scratching their head by this…

    • Muzman says:

      They’re a weird sort of indie band and they liked a weird sort of indie video I guess (I presume they chose it)
      *shrug*

    • GHudston says:

      That’s my best guess too. I guess it’s time I start wearing elbow patches on my jackets.

    • aerozol says:

      “Is there some kind of deeper message to it”
      Does there have to be? The song definitely doesn’t.

    • Muzman says:

      Don’t forget the scarf to go with those elbow patches. Very important.
      Skinny jeans too.

  23. Guhndahb says:

    While I can appreciate how the winner might be better for those not emotionally invested in Portal (it’s certainly a more typical music video), the runner-up had me teary-eyed. It meant much more to me.

  24. pirusu says:


    Is stop motion animation. The guy finished too late to enter it in the contest, but kept on goin’ anyways. it’s really good!

  25. Squishpoke says:

    How does a sock puppet win after Rattman?

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    amishmonster says:

    I think I feel worse for Rattman than I do for the sock, which is saying something.

  27. Balobam says:

    Despite not being a video, this is definitely my favourite visual aid to the song – http://rain.nxe7.com/ .

    Just have that on repeat for a while and all is good.

  28. Ryn Taylor says:

    Really? I couldn’t even watch either of them to the end. I got so bored.

  29. CareerKnight says:

    personally I liked the half life 2 vid the best.