Portal goes free in Valve education push

Portal goes free in Valve education push

By Rob Crossley

September 16th 2011 at 10:20AM

Games can help educate the next generation 'in amazing and unexpected ways', studio claims

PC kingpin Valve has unexpectedly waived the price of its acclaimed FPS puzzle game Portal.

The title is free to install on PC and Mac until September 20th.

Valve said it wants Portal to be played by teachers to understand how much potential the puzzle game has in educating young students.

“It’s eye-opening to see how video games can be used in amazing and unexpected ways to help educate our next generation,” Valve said in a statement.

“Using interactive tools like the Portal series to draw them in makes physics, maths, logic, spatial reasoning, probability, and problem-solving interesting, cool, and fun which gets us one step closer to our goal—engaged, thoughtful kids.”

Valve’s efforts echo the UK games industry’s push to build a new generation of games designers.

Earlier this year, NESTA collaborated with industry luminaries Alex Hope and Ian Livingstone to publish Next Gen – a widely-applauded govt advice paper on how to improve games education.

One key proposal in the report is to improve the engagement young pupils have with games; an initiative which could be one step closer to fulfilling if educators and pupils play and learn with Valve’s award-winning puzzle game.

“Today, innovative educators are finding ways to incorporate Portal and Portal 2 into their classrooms—helping teach physics and critical-thinking skills,” Valve said.

“One of the biggest challenges in teaching science, technology, engineering, and maths is capturing the students’ imaginations long enough for them to see all of the possibilities that lie ahead.”

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Earlier this wek, BAFTA and Abertay University launched a new games engine targeted at school children.

The Games Unpacked tool is a ‘drag and drop’ games editor that allows young pupils add grassy platforms, glowing power-ups and dangerous traps onto a pre-built game world.