Valve Want A Video For Exile Vilify

It'll be hard to beat just this static image.

I love grumpytrousers mumblers The National, so was particularly excited when I found out the band would be contributing a specially written song to Portal 2. And somewhat disappointed when Exile Vilify appeared in the form of the broadcast of a tinny radio in a hidden corner. Then I found this and listened to it eight hundred times in a row. Soon there will be excuses to listen to it many times over again, as Valve have set the challenge of making a video to go with the song. The winner will receive a prize pack, including a guitar signed by the band, and some Portal 2 merch. Videos need to be up on YouTube (tagged “PORTAL2NATIONALEXILE”) by July 15th. Let’s see an RPS reader win this one.


  1. Dozer says:

    Windows Movie Maker locked and loaded!

    • Picklesworth says:

      Same here, but, err, they kind of need to give us a copy of the audio for this, don’t they? I don’t exactly feel comfortable ripping it from the game and sticking it on YouTube :/
      (And I doubt their lawyers do, either. Poor guys must get regular heart attacks).

    • Tei says:

      In a similar contest, the Yogcast provided different versions of the song (with voices, withouth, etc). And the Yogcast are (supposedly) amateurs.
      We can pretend copy laws don’t exist, but is better to nullify the issues.

    • thegooseking says:

      You could just buy it. I know it’s at least on and iTunes in the US (though not, as far as I know, in the UK, but amazon’s probably a better idea in the US anyway, since you’ll get an mp3). The version in the game is, as John pointed out, tinny and radio-y, while the version you can buy isn’t.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      > The version in the game is, as John pointed out, tinny and radio-y, while the version you can buy isn’t

      No, the proper version is in the game files. I’m not sure if the tinny one is there as a separate file or just done with realtime effects, but the proper one is there waiting to be copied out.

  2. JFS says:

    Heck, that sure is a nice page and a wonderful guitar.

    • Dozer says:

      I’ve had it playing in the background the last half hour while I attempt to read every word Carl Madearis ever put on the Internet and I haven’t even noticed any guitar – just the marvellous piano and strings! Or did you mean the prize?

    • zeroskill says:

      Im pretty sure he ment the guitar you can win.

    • JFS says:

      Yes, I meant the prize. There is no guitar in the song, which is very good. It’s just so beautiful. As is the guitar. ;)

    • McDan says:

      It really is a beautiful page to listen to that music to, I’m excited that I’m actually seeing the National this summer. Although they probably won’t play this song, which would be a shame. I’ll also attempt to make a music video, but it’ll be terrible.

  3. zeroskill says:


    • psycho7005 says:

      agreed. Really enjoyed this song and never found it in portal 2.

  4. Angel Dust says:

    It was a mighty shame that the song was used in such an off-handed manner. While I loved Portal 2, I gotta admit I prefer its more melancholy(Ratman) side to the overt comedy and this song fit perfectly with that.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yeah, my big criticism of Portal 2 is that at times it went too broad and gag heavy and lost a lot of the menace and darkness the original had. Which was a pity I think.

      This music > Turret Choir

    • skinlo says:

      I personally disagree about the humour side of it. The song is good, but I also like the Turret Serenade songs as well.

    • Bhazor says:

      I probably just like dark/atmospheric humour more than most. Especially since I just started listening to Blue Jam.

      link to

      That said I do think comedy works best when combined with drama. Really I just never took Wheatley as seriously as Glados so for me the drama never worked when he took over.

    • robaal says:

      Really I just never took Wheatley as seriously as Glados so for me the drama never worked when he took over.

      What could be scarier than an omnipotent imbecile?

    • Catalept says:


      … omnipotent imbeciles aren’t scary. They’re intimidating… but not remotely terrifying. That’s something I felt quite strongly during Portal2’s story. Wheatley went from funny to amusing to irritating to so irritating I wanted to kill him… and I knew I would, because he was a moron.

      Beating GlaDOS: “She’s dead. I’m safe. I won!”

      Beating Wheatley: “Take that, you irksome little twat”

      I confess to feeling somewhat annoyed at the end. For some reason I resented Wheatley’s survival much more than GlaDOS’s. How strange.

    • Reverend Speed says:

      Also – humanising GlaDOS? Cheap.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The Turret Song is far darker than this. Homicidal robots dancing and singing to a nice happy song is quite dark. An indie band being all moaney and whiney like the National is about as dark as an emo. Can’t stand this song, didn’t fit in with the atmosphere of the game at all, and funnily enough ruined the dark atmosphere when I encountered it.

      More Nine Inch Nails/Kraftwerk insipered electro please!

  5. propjoe says:

    I thought its placement in Portal 2 was marvelous. By the time I had found it, I had already finished the chamber, but I sat and listened to the whole thing. On the tinny radio it sounded more haunting and gave a feeling of just how empty Aperture was and how totally alone Chell is. It was by far the most emotional moment I had in the entire game.

    • The Innocent says:


    • misterk says:

      Completely agree. It comes at a moment in the game where everything has started again, and you feel totally trapped. I found myself carrying the radio around, until mournfully coming to the particle field and realising it could come no further.

  6. Compo says:

    I love the music and I adore the picture, it’s my new wallpaper of course. Would be amazing if I could compete with the professionals in this competition.

    • abremms says:

      the wallpaper is absolutely brilliant. I don’t change mine often, but this one is just too good.

  7. Guiscard says:

    The National, meh. Get Mike Moransky to dig out the guitar again, and lets have some more of the (surprisingly good if not original) Midnight Riders stuff.

  8. Dagda says:

    I came across this Half-Life 2 video a few weeks ago. It contains the song in the post:

  9. NaturalDre says:

    How do you change the volume on each song >_>

    • Dozer says:

      I don’t think you can. The first one is the song, the second one is just the sound of a rainstorm.

    • Starky says:

      You can right click the bar and “view on youtube” if you like, which will give you volume control.

    • Hyetal says:

      Arrow up, down.

  10. Metonymy says:

    When did some bland voice, making:


    sounds over and over in a vaguely musical way, become entertainment? I’m not singling you out here, I’ve definitely encountered this kind of thing many times before, and I always assumed it was some white, first-world, “we don’t have enough work or suffering” angst, the expected diversion of sheltered 20-somethings. When I recently experienced a well-groomed mexican friend of mine telling me about the band ‘Keane,’ I knew the world had changed around me.

    • Dozer says:

      The voice of this track is the piano, not the singer. The strings have more of a voice than the vocalist. I like it.

    • edit says:

      Hold up.. When was it decided that music must be measured as ‘entertainment’? It’s a language of communication, and a more articulate and expressive one than verbal languages when it comes to conveying emotion. If you stop expecting vocals to deliver the whole kick all the time and let the music itself speak to you, entire realms of music will open up to you which may have seemed meaningless before.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      The lyrics are pretty clearly enunciated. Plus what Dozer said.

    • Metonymy says:

      I was hoping you would catch my real meaning, that its unimaginably bad.

      I wish I understood what compelled entities (that share my genetic signature) to intentionally channel their creative energy into something like this. I can understand the purpose of rap, for example, even when I don’t appreciate it. I equate the poetry of Tupac to any English poet of antiquity. But this, it’s just horrifying whining. It is an unintentional parody of human thought and emotion. Parody can be funny and elevating if it exposes human weaknesses, but this kind of music only demonstrates one thing: the singer has never had a human experience, and subsists on the surface emotions of a life without challenge, tragedy, or age. It doesn’t possess soul. It isn’t authentic. If I knew a way to extract this kind of trifling introspection from humanity I would, but I’m afraid I already do: it’s called a baseball bat.

      Don’t tell me I’m out of place, giving my opinion on this piece. The poster praised it, and I have presented my take on it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Tupac is so insanely overrated it makes me weep.

    • Thants says:

      @Metonymy: Yes, we’re all free to have opinions. The problem is that your opinions are baffling and incomprehensible. The things you say sound like they should be about a genocide or some other horrific crime, not a pleasant little melancholy song.

      Honestly, whatever you find so horribly objectionable about that song is entirely in your own mind.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I didn’t know Keane were still going. Gosh, but they were awful. Of all the moody-moany-old-man bands, The National are easily the best. I mean, consider Elbow. Consider them.

      It’s a shame that Matt Berninger appears to have given up writing interesting lyrics, though. High Violet was all portentous mood.

      Oh, and Metonymy? Your posts appear to be mostly “I don’t understand how people can like things I don’t like”. You seem a simple soul.

    • skinlo says:

      Instead of being pretentious, why don’t you just say you don’t like the song? Much simpler and easier.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Rap is absolutely a valid art form, it already has a long history from jazz/beat poetry, though old school, Public Enemy, Native Tongues, even Gangsta had some good moments.

      That said, Tupac’s greatest contribution was as a roadie for Digital Underground.

  11. Davee says:

    Dang, I never discovered it in the game. Great page you found there though, John – very… soothing.

    I know I’ve heard Exile Vilify before though. When was it first released?

    I really want to see what YouTube can come up with this, it should be great (and awesome if it becomes the official music video – Valve’s apparent close co-operation with The National suggests this). :)

    • The Dark One says:

      I’m pretty sure it was created for the game.

    • Dinger says:

      American cable TV show Covert Affairs used Exile Vilify at the start of their Season 2 opener; for all I know they use it as a theme song.

  12. Tmoore says:

    My gawd. Could i love this band more?


  13. tenseiga says:

    Man chell looks happy… and she deserves it I guess. I hope someone doesn’t retroactively drag her back down… or maybe I do. good luck to everyone participating!

  14. Fathom says:

    This is for Half-Life 2, not Portal 2, and I made it: link to

    • Improvidence says:

      It’s a really great one. Well done! When I first saw it, I wanted to send it to everyone I knew to get them to try out Half Life, but the spoilers made it tricky to recommend. Good luck in the contest!

    • Fathom says:

      Thanks, and as far as I understand you can use whatever footage you want for the contest. Film stuff, game stuff, anything. So I might do a film music video.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I second Improvidence’s motion. That was nice.

    • zeroskill says:

      Absolutly awesome work Fathom. Very well doen.

    • Acorino says:

      Some of the picked action scenes didn’t fit very well with the song I thought.
      But otherwise it’s truly beautiful and made me realize how powerful the visual storytelling of HL2 can be at times, the few bits that are there.

    • Dagda says:

      Yay the creator linked the video too!

    • Qeyleb says:

      That was beautiful, Fathom. I hope you win.
      Echoing what Improvidence said — man I’d show this to even more people if I knew they wouldn’t be spoiled. (I have no problem showing people who I’m sure will never play Half-Life 2.)
      I think I like the first half of the video the best: the focus on the Combine occupation and the downtrodden citizens. Seems to fit the song best.

  15. MasterBoo says:

    What an amazing coincidence, I was listening to the song when I entered RPS and saw this post.

    Good vibes I guess

  16. raptormesh says:

    Love the song, thanks RPS. I haven’t played Portal but I do love their tracks.

  17. timmyvos says:

    I thought this one’s pretty good:

    • Dozer says:

      “As seen on:
      Comments for Rock, Paper, Shotgun.”

      Haha, I love the Youtubes.

  18. lucasdigital says:

    Brilliant song, and certainly the rightful successor to Still Alive. If it stops being available on Spotify it will because I WORE IT OUT….

    • Thants says:

      Surely Want You Gone is the rightful successor to Still Alive!

    • subedii says:

      Definitely prefer “Want you Gone” to “Still Alive”.

  19. Joe Duck says:

    Chell deserves a moment like that more than any other videogame hero I can think of.
    This link made me happy, thanks again RPS.

  20. cgears09 says:

    I’m planning on embarking on an animation venture off this, I’ll probably shoot past the deadline, but I don’t really care about the prize.

    EDIT: I’m thinking about animating the Rat Man story.

    • flexm says:

      That sounds like it could be pretty cool, but yeah I wonder if the video has to be for the whole 5 minutes of the song.
      It’s kinda crazy to create something original and good thats 5 minutes long in just a month unless you’re unemployed and have a team to help you out.
      I would probably go for making a 1min thing and hope the judges are nice about it.

  21. MythArcana says:

    I will say one thing; v@|V3 really knows how to pick their target audience…

    • DainIronfoot says:

      Did you not get the hint the last time that no one thinks your clever for replacing letters with other symbols? No?

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      N0 D@1N1R0NF00T, 1T 1$ $T1LL CL3@RLY @ N0V3LTY, @ND N0 0N3 1$ @B$0LUT3LY TIR3D 0F N@M1NG C0NV3NT10N$ L1K3 DR1V3R, M0D3RN W@R3F@C3, TH14F, M$, 3TC B3C@U$3 1T’$ CR3@T1V3, h1l@R10U$ & M@K3$ P30PL3 T@K3 Y0U $3R10U$LY.

    • 4026 says:

      I managed to read that post without even pausing. I vaguely wonder if there’s something seriously wrong with me.

  22. Dana says:

    Here, somone do this:
    Use the rainy map from Left 4 Dead 2, or at least the shaders.
    First scene, camera at ground level, it rains, shows puddles of water. Music starts to roll.
    Side view of the puddle, Chell steps in it.
    Fixed front view of chell, camera rises from the ground level to the Chells face as she walks.
    Various shots from 3rd and 4th perspective showing Chell walking the rainy road.
    Side camera, Chell stops and looks to the side. P-Body sits under the tree, shaking (from the cold), he notices Chell. Chell smiles and offers her hand. P-Body first bit shy, walks closer. They walk together holding hands.
    More various shots from 3rd and 4th perspective showing Chell and P-Body walking together.
    As they walk, camera shows something white sneaking through the bushes.
    Shot of ATLASes face, he looks quite scared and confused.
    P-Body notices ATLAS, pulls Chells hand gently while looking at him. They stop. Chell smiles and offers him her other hand. ATLAS takes it.
    All three off them, walk together holding hands. Camera pans to the sky, it stops raining and sun comes out. Music stops. Credits roll.
    Here, I crafted a ‘masterpiece’ in my mind. But I dont have abilities to make it :D

  23. Ridnarhtim says:

    I know EXACTLY what I would want my movie to be.

    Unfortunately, I have absolutely no movie making skills whatsoever.

  24. Unaco says:

    That song is really not my cup of tea. Load of navel gazing, Indie tosh if you ask me, so I won’t be attempting this challenge. Also, I haven’t played Portal 2, so thanks for the spoiler that there’s a shower scene.

    Fair play to them though. Interesting idea for a competition, and I wonder if they can handle this better than they did the very end of the Portal 2 ARG. Also, is this the kind of stuff that disguises Valve’s slow transformation into Evil?

  25. fullbleed says:

    Did anyone else turn off the music and just listen to the rain?

    • Deccan says:

      After the song repeated for the fourth or fifth time, this is what I did.

  26. reticulate says:

    That was very nice to experience, with me having had a few beers and feeling slightly contemplative.

    Looking forward to seeing the entries in the comp.

  27. Out Reach says:

    A new wallpaper and a tune so haunting i can’t stop listening. Thank You.

  28. mwoody says:

    The piano in this song has always sounded like it belonged in Minecraft, for some reason.

  29. Scandalon says:

    Neat pic, but she should have the shoes/boots kicked off…

  30. groovymann says:

    I and a friend are working on a live action video for this, trying to capture more the feel of the song rather than representing the lyrics or the Portal 2 origins of the song, will post back when it is uploaded

  31. CitizenDickbag says:

    Did I just miss it or did you use a piece of art in your post without crediting the artist?

    The pic is by Emmy Cicierega, from here: link to


    • MD says:

      It was a screenshot of the website he linked to, which itself credits the artist. I’m not completely up with what is expected in these situations, but it seemed fair enough to me.

      (Incidentally though, I hadn’t realised it was an Emmy C piece, so this was interesting to me. I love her collaborations with Anthony (Nedroid) Clark.)