Most nights I stay up way later than I should working on freelance coding projects. Last night I opted to take a break from that and spend a little time relaxing with The Orange Box. The Orange Box is Valve’s newest release and comes packed with essentially 5 total games. 3 of those games are in the form of Half-Life 2 content, but that’s not important. What is important is the fact that the other 2 games happen to be Portal and Team Fortress 2.

I started Portal about a week ago and just hadn’t set aside some time to finish the game as I knew it was relatively short. I finished it last night and I am still having sweet dreams about the endeavor. I can’t remember the last time a game left me with such a splendid taste in my mouth. Even at $60 for the whole package, it could be argued that the price tag was worth Portal alone and that the rest of the content is just gravy. I decided to find out by jumping online and playing a little TF2. Let’s just say that I wasn’t very good and I racked up a whopping 2 kills. I played a few more rounds, each as unsuccessful as the one before it.

I’ll have to make it a point to keep playing TF2 as it was quite enjoyable, but I’ll need to do a little research on what exactly I am supposed to be doing as I kind of just wandered around until someone snuck up behind me and killed me.

At any rate, picking a Game of The Year for 2007 is going to be no small feat. With BioShock and Halo 3 preceeding it, things could get ugly. I think it’ll end up coming down to perceptions. There was no way that Halo 3 would ever live up to the expectations that had been set for it, so unfortunately it’s viewed as a disappointment. BioShock on the other hand had people describing it as interactive art so it’s easy to see how your expectations change how a game is viewed post release.

I think with The Orange Box everyone expected it to be awesome and then Portal was just so much better than anyone could have imagined that it really made the whole experience almost euphoric. For what it’s worth, I am calling the shot now. There will be a huge number of sites giving The Orange Box the Best Overall Game Award. I’m not saying I won’t do the same thing or that it won’t be warranted, but I am still calling it.