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Jason Spence -
October 19th, 2007
08:00 am

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I got Valve's The Orange Box on Steam the day it came out, and had a few hours of fun playing through Portal and Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Portal is a great game, and I had an awesome time playing through it. It's difficult to convey its unique approach, but this article at Gamers With Jobs gets close:
Portal is an object lesson in interactive storytelling. We in the media are so fond of shaking our heads, scratching our beards and looking for the "art" in videogames. Well it's time for us all to shut the hell up. This is it. It’s in this finely crafted, lovingly rendered piece of short-story literature.
Like most players, I was pleasantly surprised at the ending credits sequence. Portal's antagonist GLaDOS has a somewhat musical synthesized voice in the game, and the credits have that same voice break into full song, singing a song written by Jonathan Coulton. I was so enamored by how perfectly it fit with the end of the story that I couldn't help but look for more information about how this beautiful piece of art came to be.

It turns out that the voice is done by Ellen McLain, a classically trained opera singer from Tennessee, and she does quite a few voices for Valve's products. I was rather surprised that her domain namesake wasn't registered, and that she didn't have an article on Wikipedia. I ended up registering the domain and starting a dialog with her about having her take it over, and I also stubbed out an article for her on WP. Further investigation revealed that the reason for her lack of Internet presence was that someone from Valve misspelled her name as "Ellen McLane" when crediting her for her work in the original Half-Life 2, and this misspelled version was repeated all over the Internet by people sourcing forum posts from Valve for the correct spelling. I ended up mailing gaben@valvesoftware.com about it, and received the following response from Jeep Barnett at Valve:
Hi Jason. I'm personally fixing all the McLain spelling mistakes right now. Thanks for the heads up. :)
I'm not the only one who noticed this, either. Searching for Ellen McLain turns up this post from a blogger named John Walker, who says:
It has become my sole mission to get Valve’s super voice-over champion, professional soprano Ellen McLain, to have her name spelt correctly anywhere on the internet.
As I type this, most of the pages linked to by the first page of a Google search for "Ellen McLane" have already been fixed, although Google's cached copies are still wrong.

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From:wintersweet
Date:October 20th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)
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Good deed, well done.
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