Free Portal

Good news for the 0.5 RPS readers that haven’t played it yet: “Portal: First Slice” has been released as a free download. Only for anyone toting an NVIDIA graphics card, however. It’s described as an “extended demo”, whatever that means. It doesn’t seem accessible if you own the full version of Portal already, so I can’t clarify exactly what’s in it as yet. “Some of Portal” would be a reasonable guess. Update – first third, apparently, which means around an hour of play – well before the omigosh stuff kicks in, but hopefully enough to entice new players into giving the full thing a crack. A Half-Life: Uplink affair, wherein there’s brand new content for the demo, would have been a thousand awesomes, but no matter.

It’s an interesting riposte to the existing ATI-Steam partnership, which offers up a free copy of Half-Life 2 Deathmatch and the Lost Coast to anyone owning a Radeon: a sign of Valve changing graphical alliegances, large amounts of money changing hands, or just of levelling the playing field? As has been observed, most people who want to play Portal have already played Portal, but it’s probably a handy incentive for GeForce distributors to slap on the boxes of new cards, in order to lure in less gaming-aware punters. If you have been dithering about playing what was most sane folks’ game of the year, here’s your chance to try it. Unless you’ve got a Radeon.


  1. Optimaximal says:

    Surely everyone even vaguely interested already has it, if not part of The Orange Box, then stand-alone on Steam…

  2. Cargo Cult says:

    Isn’t an extended demo of a very short (but fantastic) game just going to disappoint?

  3. KindredPhantom says:

    This is a triumph! (for the Nvidia sales dept)

  4. Schadenfreude says:

    I’d like to play it, I would. Just I can never bring myself to reinstall Steam. It was nothing put a pain in the arse back when HL2 first came out (not helped by my meagre 56k connection) and I guess I can’t get over it…

  5. Max says:

    KindredPhantom, that was awful. Truly awful.

  6. Ging says:

    It’s the first third apparently.

  7. ran93r says:

    I vaguely remember activating HL2 over a 56k connection, oh what fun we had. Still, Steam did nothing but impress me last year overall so \o/ Valve.

  8. DigitalSignalX says:

    @Schadenfreude – ditto the initial negative impressions of Steam forever tainting me against it. I’m glad that it seems to be a great outlet for indie gamers, but afraid that it wants to become the *only* outlet, as well as a social networking site, a massive online retailer, and a portal (!) for every multiplayer game in the universe. Think: Wal-Mart.

  9. DigitalSignalX says:

    PS: Like Wal-Mart, it will inevitably become another check that companies will end up bowing and conceding issues to order to remain a part of.

  10. Nobby says:

    I have Portal already, but it says my PC doesnt qualify even though I have an nForce motherboard. Seems to be a video card only offer (or they dont have an error message for people who already have Portal).

  11. SirNuke says:

    Free HL2 Deathmatch! Save me $10 on a game I would probably otherwise never consider getting.

  12. Chis says:


    Had a similar experience myself circa HL2’s release.

    Steam is much better now, and runs just fine on my gaming PC, but it was troublesome for me on this PC, where I do “everything else”. I’d wager it’s not too fond of users trying to multi-task with it in the background.

  13. Freelancepolice says:

    to be fair nvidia are all over ATI in the performance ratings

  14. Junior says:

    I can’t see this leveling the playingfield much in terms of Valve offers.
    I got the Black Box with my graphics card from Ati, the whole of Portal PLUS Team Fortress 2 and all the Halflife you needed.

    A slice of Portal doesn’t really compare…

  15. Freelancepolice says:

    What about a better gpu?

  16. I_still_love_Okami says:

    I still haven’t played Portal.

    Indeed, the only Valve game I’ve ever played in my whole life was “Half Life2: Episode 1”. Yes, that’s right, I’ve never played Half Life, Half Life 2 or Team Fortress. I once played Counterstrike. I think that was 8 years ago. We played 1on1. Two matches.

    I’m not sure, if this makes me a criminal or something like that. I really really really really plan on getting the Orange Box soon-ish. Because I know that I’ll love every game in it. I just never get around to actually buying it.

  17. dAn says:

    It seems you also get Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, and Peggle Extreme.


  18. Garth says:

    I’m making a note here.
    (Had to continue it, sorry)

  19. Duncan says:


    Worth mentioning louder I thought.

  20. StolenName says:

    You have to get pretty deep into Portal to really appreciate it’s humour. As a small download I can’t imagine people playing and then going, “wow, this quirky puzzler has been fun for twenty minutes. Now I’m gonna go play something substantial.”

    Frankly, Portal’s charm is there from the outset but unless you play through it in one or two quick sessions, I don’t believe you’ll ever see the wonder of the game.

    Whatever, least it’s giving people a chance to at least taste a small portion of that cake they’ll never come to understand isn’t in fact a lie.

  21. Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Wit Truncated By Bloglines » Blog Archive » Steam: Thanks A Million (Or Fifteen) says:

    […] too. With that installation comes free HL2 Deathmatch and Lost Coast, whilst NVIDIA users get a Portal demo and, bestest of all, Peggle Extreme (though GeForce drivers don’t include Steam – […]