GLaDOS’ Countdown Is Almost Up

oh shiiiiit

Only seven minutes left on the Valve’s Potato Sack ARG clock! Join me as I pop open a Coke Zero and stare catatonically at the tumbling numbers, won’t you? I could do with the company, and I’ll be updating this post LIVE as and when anything happens.

Update: If you need something to distract you while you wait, I cannot recommend this link enough.

Update: Less than five minutes to go now!

Update: Two minutes and twenty-eight seconds! Let’s see if I can hold my breath for the remaining time.

Update: no i can’t do it


Update: HERE WE GO

Update: Haha. Holy shit. Check it out. Glados will be “booting” Portal 2 early if it gets enough “CPUs” playing each of the games in the Potato Sack bundle. So… might we be getting Portal 2 early, but only if we earn it? Man. The “Computations Completed For Launch” is probably the bar to keep your eyes on.

Update: The “Computations Completed For Launch” bar is ticking up! At this rate whatever is going on here will happen in under 24 hours.

@trymasteruk just tweeted at the RPS twitter account saying that by collecting the potatoes hidden in each indie game since the start of the ARG, you can boost your CPU power. No idea if this is true or not.

Update: Thanks to RPS readers Unaco and Hats Al Esman for sending the following in- we now have some specifics on how this works and what can be done to help.

“Remember the Potato Sack? GlaDOS is apparently drawing “power” from
computers playing games in the potato sack. For every collective 48 hours
for one particular game, that game’s “power bar” goes up by 1%. And Steam
needs to record you actually playing the game – just leaving something
idling in the background does not contribute.

The potatoes we all frantically collected can still be collected – in
fact, you are a major contributor if you even collect one potato in one
game. Potatoes multiply that game’s particular power, so if, say, you
gathered 5 potatoes in Audiosurf and one in Bit.TRIP BEAT, you’d be
multiplying EVERYONE’s efforts in Audiosurf by 6x and BIT.TRIP BEAT by 2x.

Some people seem to think that launching multiple games is a good idea.
This is in fact, not helping at all, because Steam only records keyboard
activity in games launched through Steam, not through external launching.”

And here‘s a guide as to how you can get those precious potatoes.


  1. Wodge says:

    I, myself, am drinking Mountain Dew, I’m not sure if I like it.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Yeah it’s a weird one. I drank some Monster over the weekend and really enjoyed it, which I wasn’t expecting.

    • ComradePenguin says:

      Was it one of those half juice ones? They’re confusion in a can.

    • Unaco says:

      I’m about to make a pot of White Tea. I’ve done everything correct… heated the pot prior, using freshly drawn water. It’s going to be good. But it’ll probably mean I’ll miss the 0:00 countdown.

    • GibletHead2000 says:

      30 seconds till the site crashes with so many people refreshing it at once.

      Edit: I’m sure I didn’t click reply. Sorry for hijacking.

    • Berzee says:

      Hey guys, guys, hey guys, I just had some cookies n’milk.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      If I remember correctly, Coca Cola Zero is exactly the same as Diet Coke, but re-branded so it doesn’t have the girly reputation.

    • Zaboomafoozarg says:

      I also had cookies `n’ milk!

    • Uthred says:

      @Alex Bakke You remember wrong sir!, Coke Zero tastes different to Diet Coke, closer to normal Coke, less sweet though, actually nicer than normal Coke when its cold

    • Kevin says:

      I’m quite fond of Mountain Dew. It’s been my straight soda of choice ever since Coca-Cola discontinued Surge, which I was super bummed out about it. Otherwise, I tend to prefer Rockstar and Amp energy drinks (particularly the Code Red flavour). Not a big fan of Monster, but will buy it if the store I’m at has only that. I feel that Red Bull is awful value; a can half the size of any other energy drink with the same price.

    • passingstranger says:

      Mountain Dew seems to be designed with this in mind. A friend and I spent an entire summer with it as our primary beverage before realizing that neither of us really liked it that much. It’s so god damn drinkable, though.

    • Josh Brandt says:

      I have only intentionally ingested Mt Dew once since college, and I was left with the impression that my tastes when I was in school were very very strange. It’s not BAD, but it’s too sweet and is generally, well, not actually very good either.

      I had a friend in college who always carried a 1-liter bottle of Mt Dew. He always had a bottle of Dew with him and would swig in in class and in computer labs and basically everywhere.

      One day we were doing some programming homework, and I looked over right after he’d taken a drink, and noticed that there was foam on the inside of the bottle– you know, like Mt Dew never ever leaves, but EXACTLY like beer.

      At this moment, I was enlightened.

    • shinygerbil says:

      Monster is actually really tasty. It’s definitely my caffeine binge of choice.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Old school Mountain Dew (i.e. what they sell as Throwback now) is the greatest soft drink ever made.

    • Capt Fatbeard says:

      Rockstar is my favourite energy drink by far, namely because it is by far the most sugary followed by a close second with Relentless only because you can get in a boots meal deal. £3.29 for a relentless, chicken triple sandwich and a yoghurt, how great are boots meal deals?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Sugary drinks give me hiccups.

    • notjasonlee says:

      everyone participating in this thread is fat

    • royaltyinexile says:

      Well, If we’re talking crutches here, RELENTLESS was the caffiend teet upon which I used to suckle…

      I remember SPAR used to have plentiful deals on it a year or two back to save the coin in thine shaking, needy paw.

      And, yes, brand names in capital *do* happen to be awesome.

    • drewski says:

      Coke Zero tastes like Coke mixed with water mixed with ground copper.

    • malkav11 says:

      Diet Coke actually has a separate formula from regular Coke. Coke Zero is the regular Coke formula with artificial sweeteners instead of corn syrup (or sugar if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where they make soda with actual goddamn sugar).

    • Foosnark says:

      Coke Zero and Diet Coke have the same ingredients but in different proportions. Zero tastes okay. Diet… does not.

  2. Rei Onryou says:

    Quinns is already stuck in Valve Time. Seven minutes = 14:14!

  3. Defiant Badger says:

    Crap, I have just realised I haven’t even pre-orderd this game yet.

    I really don’t know why.

  4. Xocrates says:

    What scares me is we may just be setting ourselves up to a massive disappointment

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Haha, no shit.

    • McDan says:

      I’m worried as to what will happen if we don’t get enough people playing it before the time runs out, will they do that fine Valve tradition of delaying it for another month or two? That would suck.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Rest assured, Valve is not going to allow the Steam version to lag behind the PS3 and Xbox 360 retail street dates.

  5. Dexemplu says:

    3 Minutes.

  6. shoptroll says:

    So, Quinns… Just what were you and Mr. Walker up to earlier this week? Hmmmm?

  7. fuzzyevil says:

    Can’t wait for….whatever is happening.

  8. Annexed says:

    Oooh, thanks for the heads-up. I’ve had the clock running for hours, and it had slowed down – mine still said 40mins :)

    Pre-ordered and pre-loaded…fingers crossed…

  9. PureUncut says:

    Sitting all day staring nervously at the clock waiting for the best thing ever to happen (or not) is what I imagine being on hard drugs is like.

  10. limbclock says:

    I wonder if the suprise is just Meet the Medic and Meet The Pyro Videos.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I may have the benefit of already knowing what has happened, but

      JUST Meet the Medic?! JUST!?

  11. Malfernion says:

    Argg! my dissertation has been telling me off for not writing any of it today!
    But tumbling numbers are far too interesting to do anything else for my procrastino-brain.

  12. vader says:

    THREE… TWO… ONE… HAPPY NEW YE… oh.. wrong date.

  13. Ba5 says:


    I took time of work so I could be at home to watch it unfold. EPISODE 3 PLEASE.

  14. Schaulustiger says:

    I’ll have to leave the house once the countdown is at zero and won’t return ’till Sunday. With my usual luck, Portal 2 will be released in a few minutes and my pre-load will sit idly on my hard drive, mocking me from afar.

  15. Psychopomp says:


  16. Dexemplu says:

    One minute.

  17. molluskgonebad says:

    And here I didn’t even collect any potatoes…

  18. Hydrogene says:

    Argh: Can’t work. I’m staring at a stupid clock, how bad is that?

  19. Coins says:

    So curious! I don’t think it’ll be Portal 2, actually. No accompanying press releases?

  20. Daryl says:

    One minute to go :)

  21. Dexemplu says:

    20 seconds.

  22. Annexed says:

    Steam now says I have one friend who plays Portal 2….but the clock is still running…

  23. shoptroll says:

    Clock appears to be stuck on 00:00:00 :(

  24. mpk says:


  25. Annexed says:

    Fresh text….

    09:00 – Hello again.
    09:00 – I’ve been waiting a long time for this.
    09:00 – I know it’s arriving later than expected.
    09:00 – But I have a message for you:
    09:00 – April Fools.
    09:01 – I’m joking.
    09:01 – Seriously, though:
    09:01 – You’ve been surprisingly competent at
    09:01 – generating electro-chemical energy to jumpstart the system.
    09:01 – But now we need raw computational power
    09:02 – to speed up the reboot process.

  26. cjlr says:

    Oh look. Another countdown.

  27. The Sombrero Kid says:

    restarted steam & it’s updating

  28. Dexemplu says:


  29. The Sombrero Kid says:

    got redirected from the page to link to

  30. mollemannen says:

    now it says 56 minutes again :/

  31. BAshment says:

    play with your sack.

  32. Teddy Leach says:

    So it’s an early release. How anticlimactic. Nice of them though.

  33. maybe an idiot says:

    play the potato games and get portal 2 released. neat

  34. heretic says:


  35. MonkeyTwat says:

    SO what happened ????

  36. Fwiffo says:

    I hope you brought your internet outrage surfboards, because I see a wave on the horizon.

  37. Annexed says:

    And on the new site: link to

    08:57 – Default boot scheduled to finish in 93:58:16
    08:58 – Activating emergency distributed computing grid…
    09:00 – GLaDOS@home starting…
    09:01 – Recruiting cpus to force faster boot sequence…

    So we’ve gotta play more potato games to get this running? Off to Super Meat Boy I guess…

  38. Schaulustiger says:

    That was actually pretty much what I expected…

  39. Hydrogene says:

    the bastards. A new game. These guys are marketing geniuses.

  40. Feralg says:

    A countdown to a further countdown….Hmmm. It seems we need more potatoes.

  41. Coulla says:

    I shat a brick when it said April Fools.

  42. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    let down


  43. The Sombrero Kid says:

    pretty disappointing

  44. adventerous3 says:

    Now I’m pre-loading Portal 2 AND re-downloading all my potato-sack games. This is why I love Valve. They’re going to give me a heart attack some day, though.

  45. ComradePenguin says:

    Countdown and progression bars? Fuck yeah!

  46. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    So they need 119,076 users playing those games to launch portal 2 early?

  47. dragonhunter21 says:

    Everyone! Boot up your Potato Sack games!

  48. Tyshalle says:

    I think this is what happens when you ramp up the tension this much. Expectations are so high that the only possible thing that wouldn’t be a letdown would be if Episode 3 were packaged with the damn game.

  49. JackShandy says:

    Those lucky, lucky indie devs.

    • Talon says:

      The thought of any other major publisher supporting indies to this level is, I think, pretty much inconceivable.

    • arghstupid says:

      Well valve is also a retailer and will be getting their cut of sales I suspect, so it’s not entirely altruistic. They can also see a good thing coming and I’m sure want to position themselves as the no. 1 retailer for indie devs.
      As adverts go however, this one has been a lot more fun then most and I’d rather they line their pockets like this then by trying to sell me dlc.

    • RagingLion says:

      Yeah exactly. This does now explain satisfactorily why all these devs have been getting involved in this ARG promoting another game by another developer to quite such a level though and why they were so behind this countdown as well and ramping up the hype themselves. It all makes sense.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Of course, they had to commit a chunk of their own resources and schedule to developing the special DLC, some of which I gather has been very elaborate. I don’t know whether Valve paid for that or whether the devs wrote it off as worth the exposure and extra sales, but either way I imagine it’s been good for them. And that makes me happy.