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Welcome to class, today we will be pondering life with the companion cube and portals

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portalwccft2 575x359 Welcome to class, today we will be pondering life with the companion cube and portals

I have not personally attended a university yet as I am still going through high school, but from reading this, I’m getting kind of stoked to see if I could get in on some Portal action while at college.

This is exactly what is happening at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Among other required books that freshmen will have to read, Portal will be one of them. Although I’m not too sure how well “reading” Portal will go…. as it might just be a whole book with quotes from GLaDOS such as “The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice. For instance, the floor here will kill you. Try to avoid it.” Yeah, try to avoid it.

The man behind all of this, Michael Abbott (who runs The Brainy Gamer), is a teacher at said college, and the quote below shows how he got the idea of the game to be in the schools curriculum.

I pitched the idea to my colleagues on the committee (decidedly not a collection of gamers), and they agreed to try Portal and read selections from Goffman’s book. After plowing through some installation issues (“What does this Steam do? Will it expose me to viruses?”), we enjoyed the first meaningful discussion about a video game I’ve ever had with a group of colleagues across disciplines. They got it. They made the connections, and they enjoyed the game. Most importantly, they saw how Portal could provoke thoughtful reflection and vigorous conversation on questions germane to the course.

Unfortunately the fun won’t last for too long for those freshmen as the game only takes an average of 2 1/2 hours to beat. So…. umm….. how about adding a little bit of Portal 2 to the curriculum when it releases?  Or…. Fallout: New Vegas? I mean knowing how to survive in a wasteland could prove more than useful when the apocalypse comes.

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