OK, so I finished Portal, and those of you who have already heard me go on ad nauseum about how amazing it is, you probably want to skip this post.
Portal is one of the best gaming experiences I've had, period. I feel pretty fortunate, actually, to have had some pretty spectacular luck with game purchases lately: Psychonauts, you may recall, had me raving like a fanboy at a Leia's metal bikini-themed costume contest, and Team Fortress 2 has been sucking up a lot of processing cycles on my computer (when the frigging machine isn't on the blink, that is).
One of the "negatives" in some reviews of Portal has been it's rather short running time. Though there is some replayability available via the "challenge" levels unlocked by completing the game, a reasonably good player could probably chew through the basic game in under four hours. It took me about six, I think, but I've played the entire game through again and it took me barely two hours to complete a second time.
The fact that I did play it through again is probably significant, here. I just don't do that with computer games. I can't recall a single puzzle or adventure-based game I've played through twice, with the exception of some of the Infocom text adventures from back in the days of the Reagan administration.
The reason for the replay, and for my continued enthusiasm for the game, is because, while it is eminently clever and very funny, it is also a bizarrely-touching game. You really become attached to the light, musical and extremely diabolical voice of GLaDOS, the computer in charge of the "tests" you are being put through.
The less you know about the specifics, the better, I suppose, but here is my personal plea: SOMEBODY PLAY THIS DAMN GAME SO I CAN TALK TO YOU ABOUT IT!
And play Psychonauts, too, dammit. That game is just too good to miss.