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Radios can be found through the Enrichment Center in Portal, and less frequently in Portal 2. On March 1, 2010, a Portal update expanded the radios' role within the game, using it within an alternate reality game to promote Portal 2.
When they are initially found in test chambers in Portal, the radios are set to the frequency 85.2 FM, and play an instrumental version of "Still Alive". They also initially have a red light on them. Since the Portal ARG update, when moved to specific locations within the test chamber where they are found, they will play seemingly random sounds consisting of noises and beeps, and the light turns green. However, when some of them are played through an SSTV decoder, the sounds reveal images, with letters and numbers, which lead to a now defunct BBS server (see the Portal ARG article for more details). Others are simply Morse code.
Radios are destroyed when taken through Emancipation Grills, however after the Portal ARG update they will instead emit another sound.
In Portal 2, a radio can be found one of Rattman's dens, playing "Exile Vilify" by The National, with a mural containing odd lyrics painted on the wall behind it. This radio still has the same frequency as the others. Again in Portal 2, a radio can be found falling from a Vital Apparatus Vent, which will play another hidden SSTV image when taken to one of Rattman's dens within that chamber. When decoded it shows a picture of the companion cube on the surface of the Moon. Finding this easter egg will activate the achievement entitled "Final Transmission".
- The radio found in the ruins of the Portal relaxation vault in Portal 2 does not play "Still Alive". Additionally, the radios found in the ARG do not appear in the old chambers.
- However, a functional radio drops from a Vital Testing Apparatus Vent in Test Chamber 06 in Chapter 2 still plays "Still Alive", provided it is caught properly. If the radio hits a wall too hard or a Weighted Storage Cube is dropped on it, the music will stop, although the radio itself remains functional. Catching the radio without hitting it too much is possible through creative use of portals.
- In Portal 1 in the last level, there's a radio in the parking lot. Shooting it makes it bleed.
- In Portal: First Slice, if you carry the radio from the Relaxation Vault into the room with the button using the Gravity Gun, (obtained using the command "impulse 101") & use the primary fire to shoot the radio into the air, if it hits a wall or the floor, the music will stop. However, repeatedly dropping a Weighted Storage Cube on it will not do anything.
Behind the scenes
- In the USA, the 85.2 MHz frequency actually does not exist as a FM radio frequency, as the latter does not start before 88.1 MHz. The frequencies set before 88.1 are reserved for the commercial broadcast televisions. Furthermore, only odd frequencies are valid—not even.
- On March 1, 2010, Portal was updated as part of the ARG to have a total of 26 radios (including the ones already present before the update) playing in the Test Chambers, always in an area more or less difficult to reach (but given to the player by the music playing), and with a red sprite added to the switch. The radio transmission frequency is also said to have been changed "to comply with federal and state spectrum management regulations", as said in the update. In-game, the radio must each time be moved in a particular spot of the Test Chamber. When doing so, the music will be scrambled by interferences, then Morse code or data transmission sounds will be heard, and the red sprite will turn green. To be made in each Test Chamber, finding all radios and jamming the transmission will unlock a new Achievement, "Transmission Received", although its description is simply "..?". The analysis of the Morse code and data transmission sounds led to many intriguing finds. The presence of these new radios seen through the Enrichment Center are likely non canonical, as they only serve the ARG. They may even be removed later.
List of appearances
- Portal (First appearance)
- Portal: First Slice
- Portal: Still Alive (Non-canonical appearance)
- Portal ARG
- Portal 2
- LEGO Dimensions (Non-canonical appearance)