Of Rat Men, Indie Pop And Maudlin Sock Puppets


The results of Valve’s Portal 2 music video contest are in, and they’re exactly as creative and inspired as you’d expect.

For the past few months, Valve Software has been holding a music video contest in conjunction with somber indie pop darlings, The National. If you think back to your time with Portal 2 you will recall that The National’s “Exile, Vilify” served as something of a theme song for the game, in much the same way that Jonathan Coulton’s “Still Alive” was the theme for the original Portal.

Though Coulton’s tune had the novelty appeal, The National’s song has a more basic, understated, “this could appear at Coachella” vibe. Since that almost guaranteed that people would make music videos for the tune anyway, it only makes sense that Valve would turn the whole thing into a contest. It’s essentially free publicity and fan service; two things that Valve absolutely loves.

Well, the results are in, and they’re fantastic, and I’m not saying that with the de rigueur game journalist hyperbole either. If MTV still had any sort of cultural relevance, I would clap excitedly to see Matt Pinfield introduce these clips on 120 Minutes.

The video you see up at the top-right is the winner, and the inspiration for that “maudlin sock puppet” line in the hed. Below you’ll find the videos that took “1.00000000001th Place” and 2nd Place, respectively.

Since that song is now irrevocably lodged in your head, you should probably also visit Valve’s contest page and have a look at the handful of runners-up it links to. The entries all range from “awesome” to “sad, but still pretty awesome,” so you may want to bring along a tissue or a plush companion cube to hug. Fair warning.

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