Steam is a popular online gaming platform. The website provides forums for gamers to share experience, ask for help, or just vent about problems they're experiencing with the game they're playing.
Steam also offers an online store, where they sell online PC games, and sometimes, they even give games away to their customers (well, a lot of the time). In fact, from September 16th to September 20th of this year, Steam is giving away the first Portal game to anyone with a Steam account. A game which is normally priced at $10, can now be downloaded to your Windows or Mac PC absolutely free.
Portal is a complex, single-player, first-person puzzle game, developed by Valve Corporation. The gameplay can take some time to get used to, but once adjusted, most players can't get enough of. The player controls Chell, the protagonist, who uses the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (or portal gun) to navigate through the puzzle.
The portal gun can create two portal ends, orange and blue, which create a connection between two different locations. If an orange portal is created while another orange portal is already in the game, the old portal disappears. Only one of each color can exist at any given time. Neither orange or blue is specifically an entrance or exit. Any object that moves through one, will come out the other. Speed also plays a roll in portal transportation.
Whatever speed the object or person goes into the portal is the same speed at which the person or object will exit the corresponding portal. This maneuver allows the player to launch objects or the main character across large spaces. Basically, portals need to be created in order to move objects, lasers and Chell, herself, through the maze.
Portal was originally released as a part of Valve's The Orange Box bundle of games. Some time later, it was released a standalone $20 game. The price eventually dropped to $10, probably related to the launch of the highly anticipated Portal 2. The giveaway is likely an attempt to increase sales of the Portal sequel, which is currently selling for $29.99.
Although it is not uncommon for Steam to giveaway PC games, it is somewhat uncommon that they would giveaway such a popular game. Portal was awarded Editor's Choice and received a 9.0 rating from GameSpot. ING had nothing but nice things to say about the game, mentioning its subtly evil humor and clever plot. Even the writers at CNET are calling it one of the best games of all time.
It is worth noting that any time Steam has announced one of their famous giveaways, not surprisingly, their servers tend to get overloaded with downloads, though this does happen. A Steam representative took to twitter to address the server issue and advised customers to try installing the Steam client and creating an account that way. According to CNET, one of their readers was able to successfully create an account using this method (at the time of this writing).