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.