Acceptance Speech

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At the 2010 Game Developers Conference, Gabe Newell (the CEO of Valve) received the Pioneer Award for his contribution to making possible some of the most important video games of the past two decades. His acceptance speech touched upon various topics, but notably the Portal ARG.


[edit] The speech

To watch the speech, please follow this YouTube link. IF you just want to watch the BSOD part, skip to 7:05 and watch onwards.

In his speech, discussed that engaging with your gaming audience is very important and described in short what had been done so far in the ARG (morse code, SSTV, etc). As was about to go into detail on the future of the ARG the computer running the slideshow he prepared cut to a Windows 9x-style BSOD. He said, "That's what I get for working with Microsoft," and then changed topics to thanking his wife and other people for their support, leaving the Portal discussion hanging. However, just before he left the stage he said "Good luck figuring it out."

[edit] The BSODs

The BSOD shown is the most widely-known variety, having been used in the Windows 9x series (95, 98, and ME). Windows NT, 2000, XP, etc, utilized a different style BSOD. Considering the 9x/ME line was retired 10 years ago it is highly unlikely the presentation computer was running it, making the BSOD an obvious stage.

The staged BSOD was not entirely useless. On further inspection and discovery of high resolution images of the error screen, it was discovered that their contents were in fact relevant to the ARG. The screen appeared to flicker between two separate BSOD screens, which follow.

[edit] The Code

The seemingly arbitrary error code characters in the second BSOD are in fact Hexadecimal EBCDIC encoded letters. In the picture with GLaDOS as the title, the full paired code is:
Directly translated to EBCDIC, this becomes:

This says "Suspend until E3". This seems to suggest that the ARG will be suspended until the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.

[edit] The Convention

During E3, Portal 2 was revealed to be released for the Xbox 360 and the PS3, as well as PC and Mac OS X. Some gameplay footage was also shown, showing some gameplay elements that will be used in Portal 2. The release date was predicted by Valve to occur sometime in July of 2011, but it was later revealed to be released in February 9, 2011.

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