Portal was First Released in 1986, and was an Activision Adventure Game

Illustration for article titled emPortal/em was First Released in 1986, and was an Activision Adventure Game
Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Portal may be the name for a contemporary series from Valve, about mad robots and jumpsuits, but it's also the name of a video game first released nearly thirty years ago.

Advertisement

That game, Portal - Valve got the trademark after the original ceased using it - was a strange adventure title for personal computers, and was published by, of all companies, Activision.

Portal's story is a great one: you're an astronaut who, after spending 100 years in space on a mission, returns to Earth to find everyone gone and the planet an overgrown wasteland. Picture Life After People, only in a text-based adventure game.

Advertisement

Your goal, then, is to talk to a computer system called Homer, and by going back through its records try and piece together what happened. And that's it! No killing, no jumping, you were essentially digging your way backwards through a very depressing story. Think of it as Dear Esther 1986, if you will, complete with the very valid point that it was only half a game, the other half being some kind of interactive story.

Indeed, so heavy on story was it that in 1988 it was re-released as just that, a novel.

While that story is an interesting one, the game part left a little to be desired, your interaction with Homer being more than a little crude and obtuse.

Advertisement

Still, it had its fans, and that coupled with the name's popularity coupled with the current Kickstarter madness has its original creator, sci-fi author Rob Swigart, hoping to get the cash together for a "proper" remake, this time as " a full-fledged computer game with modern technology, music, sound effects, art, voice acting, and gameplay".

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I remember that game. It's also on the Activision Commodore 64 15-pack, which came out in 1995 (for Windows 95). That collection also has Hacker, Little Computer People, Web Dimension, Toy Bizarre and a number of other games.

One of the funny things is the voice clips and effects that were on the disc where, while playing you could hear a clip simulating your girlfriend periodically calling you to remind you that you're supposed to go out on a date.

I'd love to see this re-released but I don't see this happening (especially Hacker).