I just finished playing Portal, a fun little puzzle game that’s part of Valve’s Orange Box.
The game is clever, you have a gun that fires wormholes – you fire two holes, a start point hole and a destination hole. Then you or other objects can move back and forth between the two points as if they were connected. Then you have to solve puzzles to get to the exit.
For example, there might be a big red button on the floor. When you stand on the button, the exit door opens, but when you walk off the button to go to the exit, you step off the button, so the door closes again. Nearby is a crate. So you put one side of the wormhole on the ceiling above the button, and the other side of the wormhole you open under the crate. The crate falls through the hole and emerges from the hole in the ceiling, landing on the button, holding the exit door open so you can walk through.
That’s the basic gameplay, which gets tricky when gravity comes into play, since you might fall from a height into a wormhole in the floor and emerge from a wormhole in the wall – since the holes are at 90 degree angles, your downward falling momentum is converted into forward movement.
The game itself is smart and fun, but what really makes it a great game is that as you move from room to room, there is a deranged AI talking to you over the intercom. The AI says such funny things in a dry deadpan humor that makes the game extra fun to play.
Without spoiling anything, at the end of the game, there is a song about the AI.
Crazed AIs are always so much more fun than normal ones.
I was trying to think of fun crazed AIs I had seen in games/books/movies…
Portal (game) has the Aperture Computer.
Red Dwarf (TV) has a few that aren’t technically deranged… Holly (dim), Talkie Toaster (obsessed with toast), Kryten (inferiority complex).
Marathon (series of games) has Durundel.
Wargames (movie) has WHOPPR, though it figures out something most generals don’t get: nuclear war is bad.
2001 (movie) has HAL.
Galaxy Rangers (TV) had an android having a nervous breakdown.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book, radio) has Eddie the shipboard computer, and Marvin, who is not deranged, but depressed.
I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting… but yay for deranged AI! =)