List of references

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Within the Portal series, both in-game and in the trailers, are multiple references. There are a variety of references, including, but not limited to, games, movies, songs, and even other games.

General References

  • The achievement, Schrodinger's Catch, is a reference to Schrödinger's Cat, a famous thought experiment conceived by Erwin Schrödinger. It involves placing a cat in a closed box with a neurotoxin and a photon emitter which is capable of triggering its release. The emitter shoots a single photon through a partially silvered mirror which it has a 50/50 chance of passing through, resulting in either the photon harmlessly reflecting back or passing through and triggering the neurotoxin, resulting in the cats death. This results in a quantum superposition of states where the cat is both alive and dead if no observer looks in the box to view the outcome. The experiment is also referenced by GLaDOS in the Lab Rat comic when she requests boxes, cats and neurotoxin.
  • The achievement, Preservation of Mass, is a reference to the Law of Conservation of Mass in Newtonian physics. The law states that the mass in a closed system remains constant over time.
  • One of Wheatley's lines, "Machiavellian!", refers to Machiavelli, an Italian statesman, political philosopher, and author of the 15th-16th century.


  • The achievement Narbacular Drop is a reference to a puzzle game of the same name, Narbacular Drop. It was the Portal team's first game, from which Portal was based off of.
  • One of the achievements labeled Smash TV is a reference to an early 90's arcade game called Smash TV, where two contestants are pitted in a brutal game show in which they're forced to fight for their lives for cash prizes.
  • In L4D2, during the first campaign, the survivors come across an empty bar with a working jukebox. If the players use the jukebox enough, the song Still Alive from Portal will play.
  • In Fable III, when you have become the king, during the quest where you must meet with Paige to break up a robbery, the player must navigate their way through the basement area. This is the only time the player is allowed down in there. Upon discovery of stacks of crates, there is a small entry way where you can navigate through. There you'll find a man in a cell worshipping a crate with pink hearts painted on all sides, a reference to the Weighted Companion Cube found in the Portal series. Next to the cell is a baked cake, also a reference to the fabled cake in Portal.
  • In the game Minecraft, the achievement "The Lie" is giving to the player when they craft cake for the first time. This is a reference to the popular "The Cake is a Lie" Catchphrase/Meme.


  • The achievement, Stranger Than Friction, is a reference to Stranger Than Fiction, in which a man finds out his life is being narrated like a novel.
  • In the show Chowder, during Episode 38 - My Big Fat Stinky Wedding, Chowder was denied access to his best friend, Kimchi's, wedding. While in his rage he said "But, But, But I was promised cake, The Cake was a Lie!"



  • The achievement Bridge Over Troubling Water is a reference to Simon & Garfunkel's song Bridge Over Troubled Water.
  • The achievement Can't Touch This is an reference to MC Hammer's song U Can't Touch This.