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Friday, September 28, 2012

57

Girl Talk: Companion Cube

Oh Companion Cube, weighted block dearest to my heart. Your steadfast devotion has seen me through years of stasis, countless taunts from murderous A.I.s, and so, so many portals.

When we first met, I didn't immediately realize just how special you were. I'm sorry for that, Companion Cube. You seemed like just another weighted block, bearing hearts instead of Aperture logos. As the voice of GLaDOS informed me, however, you were different. You stayed by my side throughout Test Chamber 17, cheerfully allowing me to use you as a platform. You selflessly blocked and redirected Aperture Science High Energy Pellets that would have killed me instantly on impact, and sat patiently on big red 1500-Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Supercolliding Superbuttons in order to let me open doors. We grew even closer when I played the “Least Portals” bonus challenge, requiring me to carry you for far longer than I did in the original level. (I never completed “Least Steps” or “Fastest Time,” mostly because I was terrible at them, but why would I have wanted to spend less time with you anyway, dear Companion Cube?) I was shocked and dismayed to see you callously replaced by a plain, heartless sphere in the Advanced version of Level 17. It just wasn't the same without you. 

When we approached the end of Test Chamber 17, I was exuberant. We did it, Companion Cube! Together, you and I had bested the hardest level yet! Little did we know the heartbreak that awaited us. GLaDOS, that sadist, had ensured that there was no way to exit the chamber without tossing you, my faithful Companion Cube, into an incinerator. I looked for another way, my darling cube; I really did. I shouted at my TV, to no avail, and I considered refusing to leave you at all, remaining in that chamber until my body died and my bones crumbled to dust. Sadly, it was late, and I didn't have enough snacks and caffeinated beverages stocked to attempt such a feat. I never believed GLaDOS's assertion that I had euthanized you faster than anyone on record, however, and from that moment on, my motivation shifted. Others might have thought my efforts to kill GLaDOS and escape the Aperture Science facility were fueled by tenacity and a selfish desire for freedom, but I tell you now, Companion Cube — I was in fact driven by a thirst for vengeance. When I did succeed at dismantling our tormentor and blowing up the facility, I thought that I would re-enter the world as a hollow, loveless mute person, but then I caught a glimpse of you waiting in the dark, with cake! The implication that GLaDOS was still alive disturbed me, but I was heartened to see that you, Companion Cube, apparently were too! When Portal 2 was announced, I knew we'd see each other again.

I don't like to talk about that time when reanimated GLaDOS fizzled some cubes cleverly disguised as you in Test Chamber 7, Companion Cube. I just knew they weren't really you, and GLaDOS was certainly lying when she claimed to have “warehouses full of the things,” but I had already suspected that you were sentient. If you weren't, you just wouldn't be so, so ... companionable. I took advantage of the broken emancipation grill to bring your redesigned doppelgänger along on my journey, but GLaDOS fizzled it once again. It hurt, Companion Cube. I won't lie, it was far more painful than any insinuation about my weight or parentage. I may indeed be, as GLaDOS attested, slightly deranged and maybe even a little bit lonely, but your devotion was certainly no mere byproduct of my sad, empty life. The very thought! And so I portalled onward, determined to settle the score.

Eventually I acquired another companion who, while delightful, just didn't have as much heart as you. Or any heart at all. But she did assist me in finally making my escape from the Aperture facility. I barely had time to process the thought of singing turrets and blink at my first view of sunlight in ... how many? years, when the door of my escape shack reopened behind me. What could it be? Yet another A.I.? Droids to drag me back in again? NO! It was you, Companion Cube! Slightly singed, but still intact! Wheatley may regret betraying me, GLaDOS may want me the hell out of her existence and away from her facility, but you, Companion Cube, you never left me.

I know you've been loved by many others, Companion Cube, and commemorated in forms ranging from costumes to jewelry to freezers to cupboards to fuzzy dice and everything in between, but I know that your love for ME is abiding and true. And for my part, I'll always need you.

Some might say you're just an object, Companion Cube. But me? I say you're a crush object.

 

Previously: Raz. 

Jennifer Culp has a bigger crush on GLaDOS, but plans to seek professional help for it. Sometime.

57 Comments / Post A Comment

wee_ramekin

This. Is. Great.

TheBourneApproximation

@wee_ramekin It was a triumph.

Summer Somewhere

@TheBourneApproximation I'm making a note here: huge success.

TheBourneApproximation

@Summer Somewhere It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

elbows on the table

@TheBourneApproximation I'm not even angry.
I'm being so sincere right now.

fondue with cheddar

@elbows on the table It's so delicious and moist.

elbows on the table

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) Look at me still talking
when there's Science to do.

EpWs

@elbows on the table Just keep on trying til you run out of cake.

elbows on the table

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher guyssss I've been singing this for an hour now

Summer Somewhere

@elbows on the table Have you heard the version on JoCo's latest album with Sara Quin on vocals? I died.

elbows on the table

@Summer Somewhere no! no, but I'll be looking as soon as I get off work.

youresmalltime

The cake may be a lie, but the love? So real, baby.

SarahP

Someting tells me that if Jennifer Culp gets married, she'll be one of those people with a Companion Cube cake.

Or she'll just marry the Companion Cube.

OhMarie

Oh my god this level broke my heart. BROKE IT!

I made my husband a t-shirt with that black and white person-and-cube icon on it.

catsuperhero

I cried when my husband incinerated the Companion Cube. Broke my heart.

steve

If you listen closely to the companion cubes early on in Portal 2, you can hear them playing you a version of the turret opera. THEY REALLY LOVE YOU

Summer Somewhere

I... ended up with a crush on GLaDOS after Portal 2. Sorry, cubie.

Summer Somewhere

@Summer Somewhere Yeep! I just read the tagline. "Jennifer Culp has a bigger crush on GLaDOS, but plans to seek professional help for it. Sometime." ilu, culp.

TheBourneApproximation

There was even going to be a party for you. A big party that all your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend, the Companion Cube. Of course, he couldn't come because you murdered him. All your other friends couldn't come, either, because you don't have any other friends because of how unlikable you are.

TheBourneApproximation

Also, Garrus, Alistair? I love you, I really do, but this is the best Girl Talk yet.

(Also, it is NOT HELPING with my resolve to hold off on playing Portal 2 until Christmas vacation, for when I really need it. Nooo, I am not going to read anything after that last picture, I will be strong and hold out away from spoilers and nrrggggggggggghhhh. *explodes!*)

SarahP

@TheBourneApproximation Whoa, whoa, watch what you say about my Garrus.

TheBourneApproximation

@SarahP Garrus vs. Companion Cube may be the internet's version of Sophie's Choice.

SarahP

@TheBourneApproximation Let's all just revel in the thought of Garrus holding the Companion Cube.

(Why is there not already a picture of this on the internet?!)

Jennifer Culp

@SarahP Ahahahaha, but there IS apparently this incredible drawing of Garrus calibrating Wheatley!

wee_ramekin

(Also, I apologize for my lack of skill in that picture. I don't have Photoshop, just the MS Paint.)

TheBourneApproximation

@wee_ramekin Well this just became the best thread ever.

Also, not Garrus/Cube, but here is a nice piece of Portal/ME fan art.

SarahP

@wee_ramekin I didn't think it was possible for my Hairpin crush on you to get any bigger.

Look! They're sitting on Companion Cubes!

BornSecular

@TheBourneApproximation OMG This is the best. Ever. So glad I ignored the piles on my desk.

bitchycrosstownexpress

@TheBourneApproximation My boyfriend and I have been done with the co-op version for AGES, but as I am not great with shooter video games and also REALLY scared of turrets (I had to stop playing right before bed because it got my heart rate and adrenaline up too high to sleep), I am still stuck in the last stage of Portal 1 and haven't even started 2 yet. Which drives him crazy because he can't discuss some great important theory he has about Chell with me.

TheBourneApproximation

Also, I have said this before in a Girl Talk, but recommendation for next time: Adam Jensen. He is the silliest cyborg! (And Deus Ex: Human Revolution is beyond awesome.)

lavender gooms

@TheBourneApproximation In addition to my usual requests of James Vega (LET ME LOVE YOU, JAMES) and Kain Highwind, I can now add Zer0 from Borderlands 2.

He speaks in haiku! His helmet flashes emoticons! He can turn invisible! He has a sword AND a sniper rifle! He's bendy!

Also, I sort of love Handsome Jack, but that's because he's evil Sterling Archer.

wee_ramekin

@lavender gooms So, confesh. I haven't ever played video games, and only played computer games in college, BUT...does anyone remember Kivan from Baldur's Gate? Maaaaaaaaaan that dude was ~*~dreamy~*~, what with his growly voice and hot face-tattoos and archery skillz. I was always really sad that you couldn't have a relationship with him.

RocketSurgeon

I just experienced a weird object recognition moment- I was looking at this post and shopping for kitchen storage canisters on Amazon at the same time. And then I see Companion Cube cookie jars.

I have nothing else to add to this post since the last video game I played was Bond, about a decade ago in college. I just always find it odd to have never seen an object/heard a word before and then have it pop up twice in the space of a few minutes.

The Mayor of Bethville

My Portal 2 crush is Wheatley. I know. I know. He's wicked and that, but I knew...the moment he was attacked by those birds. Plus, that time on Extras when Stephen Merchant tried to dig some shit out of the toilet with kitchen tongs. I die every time.

Summer Somewhere

@The Mayor of Bethville My fondness for Wheatley transferred to GLaDOS after it turned out that she was right about him.

The Mayor of Bethville

@Summer Somewhere What can I say? I love villains.

Summer Somewhere

@The Mayor of Bethville But... he's so dumb!

The Mayor of Bethville

@Summer Somewhere Dumb but adorable.

fondue with cheddar

I miss you, Companion Cube. YOU NEVER THREATENED TO STAB ME.

TheAnticouth

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) And, in fact, it cannot speak.

fondue with cheddar

@TheAnticouth If it could talk, it would tell you to go on without it, because it would rather die in a fire than become a burden to you.

Pocket Witch

My sister has already promised to buy me Portal cookie cutters for Christmas. Included, naturally, are the shapes necessary to make a Weighted Companion Cube. There will be many, many cookies.

SarahP

@Pocket Witch I have those! And I just realized I put them in a cupboard after we moved and haven't gotten them out since! I must!

EpWs

I have made not one, but TWO plush Companion Cubes in my life. One of them was life-size, and remains the best gift I have ever or will ever give my boyfriend. The other was smaller, but it was actually weighted, and it got auctioned off for charity. Both were hand-stitched. I could not love them (or this) more if I tried. (It's hard to overstate my satisfaction?)

Probs

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher LIFE SIZED?? Amazing. So can everyone else in the world just get our Nice Try ribbons for gift-giving, since you've already won it?

Summer Somewhere

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Do you have pictures on the internet of either one of these marvelous things?

EpWs

@Summer Somewhere The big one is not but the little one is! Here's one of the pictures from the auction, with an arm for scale! Baby cube! Made of fleece and flannel and poly fill and I sewed a pouch full of popcorn and rice into the bottom so it's actually, like, weighted. Yay!

Summer Somewhere

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher It's adorable! A+++

EpWs

@Summer Somewhere Thanks! It was a lot of fun to make. :) Cost an arm and a leg to ship to Canada, though. BUT totally worth it, because The Children, etc.

elbows on the table

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher oh gosh, I want three.

Probs

I'm genuinely shocked that a casual google search from my phone didn't turn up any companion cube sex toys. Attention Etsy types, you'd just have to make some sort of washable throw to put over the corner of the washing machine.

BornSecular

At an art fair I went to last weekend, one of the hip pottery booths had a tiny cake stand that said "The cake is a lie"!!! I wanted it but was too cheap to buy it because I couldn't actually use it. But it made me happy, and I shared a knowing grin with the proprietress.

Roaring Girl

I have to admit, I didn't get very far in Portal once my Companion Cube was gone. I think I fought through to the part where you have to jump up all the moving pistons, and then my grief overtook me and I could go no further. <3 you, Cubie.

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