As you can image, Team Fortress really didn't trip my trigger. While Halflife was better than a lot of other FPSers of its time, even HL:2 didn't really do much for me. What did wow and amaze me was a happy little shooter that, well... isn't really a shooter at all.
Challenging, smart, and downright funny, Portal deserves to win an award this year. Perhaps a trophy. Or a pizza. Or at least a pizza trophy.
The team of people Valve Software hired to create Portal previously wrote games under the cooperate moniker Nuclear Monkey Software. In looking at Nuclear Monkey's main project, it's easy to see where the concept for Portal came from.
The concept of Narbacular Drop is the same as portal: open an orange portal, then open a blue portal, then travel through one to exit out the other. At its core, it's a puzzle game. You have to find the right place to create portals to move objects, flip switches, and avoid dangers.
Narbacular Drop is set in a classic fantasy setting and has "classic" graphics, but the element that makes Portal a great game is there in Narbacular Drop too. It's a free download from Nuclear Monkey's website and there are many free mods that give additional levels and cool new features. Check out this gem of a freeware game by clicking its link to the right.
Why play it? The puzzles with portals cause you to have to think differently. Innovative gameplay is always a reason to give a game a try.