Portal 2 speedrunning isn’t just about who can get around fastest: another category exists that focuses entirely on getting around using as few portals as possible.
As shared by prolific Portal 2 speedrunner PerOculos, the latest breakthrough is on the Chapter 4 level Column Blocker, which had previously been completed with a minimum of two portals. Back in 2016, another speedrunner called Jetwash demonstrated that a zero-portal route would be possible for the level, but admitted some “crazy bullshit luck” would be required for the method to work. After a lot of practice, PerOculos managed to jump to the cage, turret climb and then perfectly align that (frankly ridiculous) turret throw.
“In my brain, I practiced enough to know I only needed to mind two things,” PerOculos said. “Timing the throw, and throwing it up high enough, and it came together so well.”
According to the community leaderboards, there are a fair few levels completed by the speedrunning community without portals. PerOculos has previously managed to complete other Portal 2 levels such as Bridge the Gap without firing a single portal, showing remarkable dedication to defying the will of Aperture Science. A segmented speedrun in 2017 (made of the combined efforts of several speedrunners) proved Portal 2 could be completed with 100 portals – a number that seemingly needs updating.
Famously, Valve initially planned to release a Portal prequel without portals, an experiment called F-Stop that used an in-game camera mechanic called Aperture Camera. Eventually, the project was canned in favour of Portal 2. It seems rather fitting, therefore, that there’s a speedrunning community still committed to completing the game’s levels without them. I guess we’ve come full circle.