(slowpoke) Dark secret of the companion cube in game theory

Video can be viewed here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5w6ieaTxGA

Just kind of stumbled across it and it's quite a disturbing theory. Though in many regards, it makes sense. I'd often wondered about the caustic acids in some test chambers to boot, were they turned more viscous and discolored with all the bodies and material of test subjects that had fallen in over time?

Where are the bodies? With everyone having died at nearly the same point, save for test subjects who were activated over time, there would be no one to properly bury them or humanely dispose of them, so in that regard the Cubes provide and efficient manner of storage and retain a purpose beyond this.

As for people tossing cubes through grids in custom maps, they are just that, custom maps. It's kind of breaking the cannon to some degree. As for a lack of corpse related files or textures, I doubt actually having bodies in the game was something they wanted in the theme.
After all, think about it. Isn't the POTENTIAL for humans, living or dead, crammed into the cubes far more ominous and disturbing than people chucking around rag dolls 5 minutes after it's discovered?

Erm, except that video is, like, full of holes...

Though I must say - it's Aperture Science, they could do it. It's not the one and only explanation, though, it would be rather silly to believe so

siomasm:
I'd often wondered about the caustic acids in some test chambers to boot, were they turned more viscous and discolored with all the bodies and material of test subjects that had fallen in over time?

Two words - drain, refill. There you go. Or did you expect that test subjects would be caught just before they hit the deadly acid and then stuffed into tiny boxes. Think about this for a second. And not we move on.

siomasm:
Where are the bodies? With everyone having died at nearly the same point, save for test subjects who were activated over time, there would be no one to properly bury them or humanely dispose of them, so in that regard the Cubes provide and efficient manner of storage and retain a purpose beyond this.

So let's get this straight, GLADoS has the ability to snatch and dispose of any corpses at will but CANNOT dispose of it without a companion cube? How does it make sense? We've already seen there is quite a lot of control over the facility (ruined rooms returned to normal, for example, and everything being kept squeaky clean, too), there are even furnaces along with tubes for stuff and so on. It's not like there is lack of opportunity or ability to deal with bodies aside from stuffing them in metallic coffins.

However, as I said, it's absolutely not beyond Aperture to be making companion cubes, if you catch my drift, however, at the same time, it's totally not beyond them to...not do it, either. GLADoS did call them sentient and...yeah, what if they were? Are you going to tell me Aperture Science, the guys with the mantis people, behaviour cores, and screaming robots, those guys - they wouldn't make a sentient cube? Or what if GLADoS talks with disdain about cubes - I can't remember her saying kind words about...anything, to be honest. And so on and so forth - while certainly a theory, it's not the theory.

I'm a fan of the Game Theory videos, but I always found this one a bit... unnecessary. Companion Cube doesn't need any additional intrigue, any conspiracies projected onto it seem excessive.

DoPo:

So let's get this straight, GLADoS has the ability to snatch and dispose of any corpses at will but CANNOT dispose of it without a companion cube? How does it make sense? We've already seen there is quite a lot of control over the facility (ruined rooms returned to normal, for example, and everything being kept squeaky clean, too), there are even furnaces along with tubes for stuff and so on. It's not like there is lack of opportunity or ability to deal with bodies aside from stuffing them in metallic coffins.

Expect the fact you're thinking that there is any logical thinking behind it.

The operation of the Aperture Science runs inefficiently. For example, the mechanical line for making turrets; the sheet of metal is cut into shape parts, the turret is assembled and packaged. After that, the turret is unpackaged and the turret is sent off for recycling metal for even more turrets. Apparently the cardboard is never recycled and sent to a storage room to rot.

He makes a case that there are dead bodies inside the cubes, and then tries to argue that they can speak.

HOW can they SPEAK if they're DEAD? And how would a body inside the companion cube survive, anyway? And don't say "miniature technomagic life support", that's just stretching it.

The last argument is that cubes aren't affected by emancipation grids because one of them is broken in the room with a cube. But that doesn't prove anything at all, it's just way too much grasping at straws from someone who desperately wants to see his truth realized in some way or another.

mad825:

DoPo:

So let's get this straight, GLADoS has the ability to snatch and dispose of any corpses at will but CANNOT dispose of it without a companion cube? How does it make sense? We've already seen there is quite a lot of control over the facility (ruined rooms returned to normal, for example, and everything being kept squeaky clean, too), there are even furnaces along with tubes for stuff and so on. It's not like there is lack of opportunity or ability to deal with bodies aside from stuffing them in metallic coffins.

Expect the fact you're thinking that there is any logical thinking behind it.

The operation of the Aperture Science runs inefficiently. For example, the mechanical line for making turrets; the sheet of metal is cut into shape parts, the turret is assembled and packaged. After that, the turret is unpackaged and the turret is sent off for recycling metal for even more turrets. Apparently the cardboard is never recycled and sent to a storage room to rot.

No, you're just confirming my point that's further down - Aperture Science could have made a sentient cube, not because of logic (since, come on - a sentient cube - doesn't really have many applications) but for shits and giggles. Also, we know the facility is kept clean and tidy by GLADoS - it is no misapplication of logic to claim that any waste (like dead bodies) would be disposed of. We already know it's happening. However, it is a misapplication of logic to say that the only way this can be done is by placing them in cubes - that is a possibility, yes, but it's saying "it might happen, therefore it did".

As a final note, may I remind you that GLADoS actually did try to dispose of Chell by burning. Kind of hard to put that in a companion cube, but even if you did it won't put any weight in it.

The bodies are used for testing. Corpse related testing. After that they are burned to generate power for the glowing panels at the start of the test chambers that indicate what each test chamber contains.

mad825:

DoPo:

So let's get this straight, GLADoS has the ability to snatch and dispose of any corpses at will but CANNOT dispose of it without a companion cube? How does it make sense? We've already seen there is quite a lot of control over the facility (ruined rooms returned to normal, for example, and everything being kept squeaky clean, too), there are even furnaces along with tubes for stuff and so on. It's not like there is lack of opportunity or ability to deal with bodies aside from stuffing them in metallic coffins.

Expect the fact you're thinking that there is any logical thinking behind it.

The operation of the Aperture Science runs inefficiently. For example, the mechanical line for making turrets; the sheet of metal is cut into shape parts, the turret is assembled and packaged. After that, the turret is unpackaged and the turret is sent off for recycling metal for even more turrets. Apparently the cardboard is never recycled and sent to a storage room to rot.

or sent back to the packing line to pack more turrets ....

Well I guess that's the good thing about "theories": they're just opinions backed by evidence yet can't be proven or disproven. There's just as much arguing against this theory as there is evidence supporting it.

For starters, he kinda contradicts himself. He points out that almost everything that GLADoS tells you is a lie. That fits with her telling you that the companion cubes can't speak and should be ignored if they do (implying that they can speak and you should heed their advice if they do) and yet we're supposed to take her as telling the truth when she says the opposite: that they're sentient? The other way to look at GLADoS's dialogue is that everything she says is designed to hurt Chell in some way or another. Constantly calling her fat, making fun of her lack of parents, etc. More likely, Valve saw what a humorous meme the Cubes had become by the time Portal 2 came out and wanted to play with that some more. She assumes that Chell considers the Cubes to be her friends, and as such decides to kill a few of them right in front of her.

Which raises another point that contradicts the video's last point: if indeed there is organic matter inside the Cubes, then when GLADoS fizzles those first few in Portal 2, wouldn't a corpse drop out of them? If she could fizzle the corpse along with the box, then wouldn't she be able to arbitrarily fizzle Chell at any given moment once she breaks out of the test chambers and starts trying to escape? While in the test chambers it could be said that GLADoS can't fizzle any test subjects as she's bound by the rules of the test: no intervention whatsoever. But once Chell is no longer in the test chambers, the gloves are off and anything goes.

With regards to the Rat Man arguments, the example he brings up about the psychological isolation test proves that Rat Man's just bat-shit crazy. The fact that he takes pills and it makes the Companion Cube shut up is proof of that. Further proof of that is a line of dialogue from the comic that's shown in that video as well.

Rat Man: "You're back."
Companion Cube: "I never left."

The Cube is a figment of his imagination, it's always going to be there. Once the effects of the pills wears off, the Cube is able to talk again. As for the advice that the Cube gives him...would a person inside said Cube know that stuff? In theory it's just a corpse sealed inside of a box with no holes. Assuming a living person is in there would have to assume that they have an unlimited supply of air, water, and food to sustain their life. And even if they did, how would they see the world outside of their box to analyze it and offer advice? In Rat Man's case, you have to keep in mind that he was a scientist working at Aperture, so he likely had a brilliant mind. It's more likely he was projecting aspects of his mind onto the Cube, giving it a voice, reason, and the ability to know what's going on in any given situation.

With regards to what happens to all the corpses of fallen test subjects, they can apparently easily be disposed of. As Wheatley points out at the beginning of one of his test chambers: "I found an entire wing full of old test chambers! Just swept out the skeletons and they're good as new!" Clearly there's at least some form of automated test-chamber cleaning. You even see similar things happening while GLADoS is still rebuilding the place as wall panels reach out and pull piles of junk and debris into the wall itself.

But again, that's why this guy's theory is indeed just a theory. No one can definitively prove that there AREN'T people stuffed inside the cubes, but I'd argue there's far more evidence to imply that there aren't. Anything stuffed inside a small sealed metal box would be dead (and as such unable to speak).

Now, if you wanna just talk about them being sentient - implying that GLADoS was telling the truth - it's probably more along the lines of what DoPo said here:

DoPo:
GLADoS did call them sentient and...yeah, what if they were? Are you going to tell me Aperture Science, the guys with the mantis people, behaviour cores, and screaming robots, those guys - they wouldn't make a sentient cube?

I'd say this is the much more likely answer. Aperture (or perhaps even just GLADoS one day while she was faffing about) decided to create completely pointless - but sentient - companion cubes. It should be noted that in Portal 2, when you're holding the cube you can listen carefully and hear it "singing" a little song. So I wouldn't be surprised if they (more likely GLADoS) designed it to be fully aware of its surroundings but unable to actually speak or do anything but sit there. It's just the kind of hellish existence that GLADoS would inflict upon something purely because she can.

Twenty Ninjas:

The last argument is that cubes aren't affected by emancipation grids because one of them is broken in the room with a cube. But that doesn't prove anything at all, it's just way too much grasping at straws from someone who desperately wants to see his truth realized in some way or another.

Cubes fizzle in emancipation grids just like anything else though...

Honestly I like Game Theory, but only because I see it as an exercise in rhetoric. Find some crazy point of view, then see if you can come up with a convincing argument for it. Often he comes up with crazy, half-baked, irrelevant, or dubious evidence for his claims, but I know from personal experience that sometimes have three pieces of evidence that look right is better than having one piece that actually is right.

That said, it annoys me when people take his videos seriously or try to use them to justify their arguments. Anyone who actually does any research into what he says in them will quickly find the holes, so it's normally just a lazy way of trying to argue your point without actually having to do anything.

wombat_of_war:

or sent back to the packing line to pack more turrets ....

Nope, the dev commentary specifically said it was sent to a storage room never to be re-used.

Mister Chippy:
Cubes fizzle in emancipation grids just like anything else though...

Honestly I like Game Theory, but only because I see it as an exercise in rhetoric. Find some crazy point of view, then see if you can come up with a convincing argument for it. Often he comes up with crazy, half-baked, irrelevant, or dubious evidence for his claims, but I know from personal experience that sometimes have three pieces of evidence that look right is better than having one piece that actually is right.

That said, it annoys me when people take his videos seriously or try to use them to justify their arguments. Anyone who actually does any research into what he says in them will quickly find the holes, so it's normally just a lazy way of trying to argue your point without actually having to do anything.

I'll admit to being at fault here, I should know better than to get (semi) outraged at anything on the internet.

Twenty Ninjas:
I'll admit to being at fault here, I should know better than to get (semi) outraged at anything on the internet.

Congratulations sir, you are now the only person on the internet willing to admit you've made a mistake. You have brought honor on your family for generations to come.

Mister Chippy:

Twenty Ninjas:

The last argument is that cubes aren't affected by emancipation grids because one of them is broken in the room with a cube. But that doesn't prove anything at all, it's just way too much grasping at straws from someone who desperately wants to see his truth realized in some way or another.

Cubes fizzle in emancipation grids just like anything else though...

It's not that the cubes aren't affected by the grid, the argument is that IF companion cubes have corpses in them, then emancipating the cube would leave the corpse behind, as they are organic matter and not Aperture Science testing equipment. Nowhere in either game is there a working emancipation grill you can chuck a companion cube through.

Regardless of if the theory holds or not, it is still really creepy.

Adam Locking:
It's not that the cubes aren't affected by the grid, the argument is that IF companion cubes have corpses in them, then emancipating the cube would leave the corpse behind, as they are organic matter and not Aperture Science testing equipment. Nowhere in either game is there a working emancipation grill you can chuck a companion cube through.

Yes, and 1. emancipation grids still have the ability to allow inorganic matter through. The portal gun, Chell's clothes, the leg brace things. Not passing through means nothing, it may very well just means that the companion cube just cannot be emancipated by the field, similar to the portal gun. It may be a bug or a feature of the cube and/or the grid. Or it may actually mean nothing, too. 2. We know that organic matter can also be emancipated. Portal 2 brings us the lovely warning that you may find your inner year gone (I think it was the inner ear).

DoPo:

No, you're just confirming my point that's further down - Aperture Science could have made a sentient cube, not because of logic (since, come on - a sentient cube - doesn't really have many applications) but for shits and giggles. Also, we know the facility is kept clean and tidy by GLADoS - it is no misapplication of logic to claim that any waste (like dead bodies) would be disposed of. We already know it's happening. However, it is a misapplication of logic to say that the only way this can be done is by placing them in cubes - that is a possibility, yes, but it's saying "it might happen, therefore it did".

As a final note, may I remind you that GLADoS actually did try to dispose of Chell by burning. Kind of hard to put that in a companion cube, but even if you did it won't put any weight in it.

And no again.

What I said supports the fact that Aperture science is mismanaged (ethics aside) - hence the financial decline of the original Aperture science facility.

Also...

What happened in portal 2 has told us that who ever is in control, they lose the plot, go crackers, are one fry short of a Happy Meal. They go insane. You cannot understand insanity. It goes either way.

mad825:

DoPo:

No, you're just confirming my point that's further down - Aperture Science could have made a sentient cube, not because of logic (since, come on - a sentient cube - doesn't really have many applications) but for shits and giggles. Also, we know the facility is kept clean and tidy by GLADoS - it is no misapplication of logic to claim that any waste (like dead bodies) would be disposed of. We already know it's happening. However, it is a misapplication of logic to say that the only way this can be done is by placing them in cubes - that is a possibility, yes, but it's saying "it might happen, therefore it did".

As a final note, may I remind you that GLADoS actually did try to dispose of Chell by burning. Kind of hard to put that in a companion cube, but even if you did it won't put any weight in it.

And no again.

What I said supports the fact that Aperture science is mismanaged (ethics aside) - hence the financial decline of the original Aperture science facility.

Also...

What happened in portal 2 has told us that who ever is in control, they lose the plot, go crackers, are one fry short of a Happy Meal. They go insane. You cannot understand insanity. It goes either way.

OK, I'm thoroughly confused now. When I read that, it seems you're just agreeing with me, yet the language itself seems like you're not agreeing. I'll keep it simple - dead (or not so dead) bodies could be inside the companion cubes. There could also be no dead (or not so dead) bodies inside the companion cubes. There is no conclusive evidence for either of these due to Aperture (including GLADoS) not following a clear enough pattern in their plans, hence either of these is a possibility. This is what I'm saying.

You seem to just be confirming this by supporting the insanity/randomness mentions. Yet you also seem to be disagreeing with me...erm, based on the insanity/randomness.

 

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