Machinima‘s newest video game companion is its driest one yet. The main channel of the prosperous YouTube network has debuted Aperture R&D, a dry workplace comedy based around the popular puzzle game Portal.
The first episode of Aperture R&D introduces us to its main characters, who all work in the titular research department. A pair of leads–one focused and deadpan, the other talkative and neurotic–play foils to each other as lab partners, with a selection of supporting characters providing added color. This is a series based not on laugh-out-loud lines but rather steady character development. At the end of the first episode, relationships are already changing.
Though it is made by third party production company Wayside Creations, Aperture R&D features the same black humor present in the Portal games. The main comic relief is the department’s blunt robot boss, who does everything she can to keep her workers productive, even if that means holding an event where employees are encouraged to forget a colleague who recently died from a laser blast to the face. As the series’ famed Companion Cube also appears, all we need is some cake to make this a true celebration of the Portal fandom.
The best thing about Aperture R&D is that while it is based off of Portal, it is not an obvious marketing tie-in to an upcoming game, as were other Machinima companions like Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and The Far Cry Experience. Rather, this series was made solely because Portal is awesome. I can’t think of a line of reasoning I support more.