Coulton on Portal

In case you missed it, MTV’s gaming blog ‘Multiplayer’ yesterday threw up an interview with Jonathan Coulton, the dude who wrote Portal’s ever-catchy Still Alive, about the story behind that very song. It’s fun, if not hugely illuminating, but most importantly addresses the vital cake question:

I don’t think I ever got any cake, but they [Valve] promised it all along. I will say they have the greatest table of snacks in their kitchen that I have ever seen: baskets and baskets of granola bars, and candy and all kinds of gum and Tootsie Rolls and Nerds and Doritos in little bags.

Valve’s Eric Wolpaw (and ex-Old Man Murray funnyking) weighs in at one point, revealing that also considered for Portal’s music was Ben Folds. Ew. I suspect I’ll have nightmares tonight about a horrific alternate reality where that actually happened, like the ones I sometimes have about Robert Zemeckis sticking with Eric Stoltz instead of Michael J. Fox for Back To The Future.


  1. Kieron Gillen says:

    Meer – you love the Shatner album, so you can’t diss Ben Folds that much.


  2. John Walker says:

    What’s wrong with Ben Folds?!

  3. SteveTheBlack says:

    What’s wrong with Shatner?!

  4. Schmidt says:

    Man, first a dig on Halo 3, now Ben Folds? It’s putting a strain on my worldview to deal with a site this awesome landing on the wrong side of such key issues.

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    Nothing’s wrong with Shatner – it’s that Ben Folds collaborated with him on the album, ergo Alec likes Ben Folds work.


  6. Alec Meer says:

    It’s primarily the guy’s voice that irritates me, and my over-literal mind simply imagined Still Alive sung by him instead of Glados, which wasn’t a pretty sound.

  7. The_B says:

    Yeah, but Shatner doing Common People. I mean come on!

    It’s so bad, it’s almost good.

  8. Alec Meer says:

    While saying I ‘love’ the Shatner album is reaching, I guess I will forgive Folds a great deal because of the moment in Common People where Joe Cocker starts singing and, the first time you hear it, you don’t realise it’s a second guy, so for a second you think Shatner’s just gone mad. Glorious.

  9. NightShade says:

    Nerds… I have had a craving for Nerds for 5 bloody years now and have yet to find them anywhere. I would kill for Nerds!

  10. Bozzley says:

    William Shatner and Henry Rollins = comedy gold

    I hope I can rant like that when I’m Shatner’s age.

  11. Deadron says:

    Erm, wasn’t that Joe JACKSON on Common People?

  12. Alec Meer says:

    Oops, yes it was. That was my fingers typing before my brain had kicked in.

  13. simonkaye says:

    I can’t be the only person who actually prefers the Shatner cover of Common People, can I?

  14. Anti-Bunny says:

    There’s a photo of the snack table here: link to

  15. fattakin says:

    Folds is great, but it would have ended up Foldsy no matter what. The anonymous feel to it works for me, and a masterpiece has been created!

  16. MedO says:

    “You know, the video game history that has … how many famous video game songs? I’m talking about songs with lyrics. Any?

    We floundered.”

    Um… Winds Nocturne anyone? It’s on Youtube: link to

  17. The_B says:

    Also see: Poets of the Fall – Late Goodbye from Max Payne 2

  18. MedO says:

    Just remembered the music from “Beyond Good&Evil”, a few tunes there had lyrics as well (Akuda House – Propaganda, for example) though they were all used as background.

  19. Evil Timmy says:

    Going way back, and although it wasn’t in the game…if you looked around on the Deadlock CD (still one of my favorite TB games), there was a WAV file with a guitar-and-vocals track, which I will here title ‘If I Ever Get Back Home Again (The Recruiter Song)’. Written by Paul Kwinn, a lead programmer/designer for the game, it describes one colonist’s experience in the fierce and unforgiving world of Deadlock. It also goes on to describe what said colonist will do to the recruiter who buttered him up to embark on the mission, should he ever return to Earth. I haven’t been able to locate it online, so the lyrics and a short description will have to do: link to

  20. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Folds is great, but it would have ended up Foldsy no matter what. The anonymous feel to it works for me, and a masterpiece has been created!
    As much as I love Folds, I’m inclined to agree. Still, I wish he’d made an attempt at it so we’d have a B-side for the inevitable ‘Still Alive’ single.

  21. Miles says:

    1. That Max Payne song is AWFUL

    2. Ben Folds is brilliant, but this is a much more Coulton-y project.

  22. Nick says:

    Strangely, I always thought Jeremy Coulton sounded a bit like Ben Folds.

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