“I'm not even angry.
I'm being so sincere right now.
Even though you broke my heart.
And killed me.
And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.”—GLaDOS
“…just this tiny little passive-aggressive computer, who’s all alone until people try to come in and murder her—so of course she gets upset. But she seems to have this real affinity for cake.”—Ellen McLain
What could be cooler, and more terrifying than a mad god...a nearly omnipotent creature with a mad-on for us? Our modern version of this dystheist fantasy is the insane computer. For us modern, scientific types, HAL 9000 (from 2001: A Space Odyssey) or AM (from I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream) are our nigh-inescapable boogeymen.
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is the mad goddess in the game Portal. Created by Aperture Systems, GLaDOS was originally installed as a disk-operation system (and fuel de-icing system), which is “arguably alive.” When the artificial intelligence went completely operational, on the company’s first bring-your-daughter-to-work day, things started to happen. Bad things.
While there were protocols in case the AI "became sentient and/or God-like," she managed to circumvent them by the clever stratagem of flooding the facility with nerve gas before the installation of her morality core.
In the context of the game, GLaDOS is the narrator and hint-giver, also the heckler that taunts the player with promises of cake and death. GLaDOS quickly shows herself to be a self-admitted liar, amoral (and hilariously flaky) antagonist, and cake aficionado.
After Chell, the protagonist escapes (destroying the facility, and, presumably, GLaDOS with it), the AI sings a beautiful (and dangerously catchy) song, Still Alive, over the end credits.
GlaDOS is voiced (with undeniable brilliance) by voice actress and singer Ellen McLain.
YouTube, GLaDOS commentary (featuring Ellen McLain) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=648DRxIfgx4
Portal Game review on Blogspot: http://portalgamereview.blogspot.com/
Playing the game and talking to friends who played a lot more than I did
John and DL, for assistance and hours of Portal fun