"Enduring Questions" is a mandatory class for freshmen at Wabash College. The syllabus? Gilgamesh, Aristotle, Goffman, Donne…and Portal. That's because it's taught by Michael "Brainy Gamer" Abbot, profiled in this piece by Patrick Klepek that's certainly worth reading on Giant Bomb.
When it came time to talk about the experience, there were surprising responses. Who didn't want to know the fate of Chell at the end of Portal, before we knew she was dragged away? As it turns out, a number of Abbott's students never managed to figure out they were playing as a defined character. They never discovered Chell, so when it came time to talk about their own feelings playing the game, it varied. Some identified as Chell, hoping to escape this bizarre, sadistic facility. Others figured they were escaping. The breakdown was roughly one-third identifying as Chell, the rest never bonding with the character.