Let’s talk about Doug Rattmann for a minute.

Or rather, let me rant about much I love Doug Rattmann for quite a few minutes.

Probably being my favourite character in the entire Portal franchise, Doug Rattmann really means a lot to me in a lot of ways.

First off: the way he’s portrayed. It’s become more common lately to have characters in media with canon mental illnesses and not shown in negative lights, but it’s still a lot harder to find ones with a psychosis type illness. When do you see characters like that, they’re usually depicted as crazy, mega-psychopaths, or either not actually having an illness at all and just actually magical powers or connection to some other world or any other fantasy-related stuff. 

But his character isn’t written like that and that makes me incredibly happy. It’s stated, very clearly and multiple times, that he has schizophrenia, but it isn’t made into some horrific monstrous thing. It’s just a part of his character, and in its own way was shown to be very useful to him, in the case of Cube at least. And before BYDTWD you see Doug as a fairly normal person, albeit still pretty reserved and uncertain, but working in Aperture Science would make anyone appear more on edge than necessary. Anyone with half a brain, at least. Even after that when he does appear more, well, let’s be honest completely unhinged, it’s half to blame because he watched all of his coworkers get murdered and was hunted down by a homicidal computer. Paranoia or not, that would make anyone lose a little of their sanity. 

And he’s never shown as a threatening character. Quite the opposite, actually. He’s depicted as almost skittish and fearful, and actually is a huge ally to our protagonist. All around, Valve did a really good job at writing a character with a stereotypically scary mental illness and not turning that character into something scary at all. 

That means a lot to me, personally, because this is a character that I can somewhat relate to. Discovering that I possibly have some mild form of psychosis myself, seeing a character with similar, albeit far more intense, symptoms of something incredibly scary has been a huge comfort to me. Because if someone like that can be shown in a very positive light, and well liked by almost every Portal fan out there, then I shouldn’t have to be too scared about my future and what could possibly happen to me later on.

TL:DR Doug Rattmann is so important.

So there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the presumption that BYDTW Day was the day GLaDOS took over the facility, and how Chell managed to grow up if being in stasis prevents aging, and where her personnel file came from.

I have two completely different theories for this.

Theory 1; Minors can’t be tested without a parent’s signature. Every day in captivity Chell filled out an application to test and was subjected to interviews and examinations to determine what kinds of trails she should be put in, which is where her file comes from. At the end of the day, she’d be told they had to reject her and to please come back tomorrow with her parent’s permission, and be sent back to the relaxation center. Thus, GLaDOS couldn’t test her, but couldn’t kill her with neurotoxin for refusing to test either. When she turned 18, the system started rejecting her and asking her to come back when she was less tenacious.

Theory 2; BYDTW day was the day the Combine invaded. Aperture initiated a lockdown as one of their many apocalypse contingency plans. While trapped inside, the scientists had to develop a means of combating the Combine so that the system would let them out. There were no shortage of volunteers willing to test to speed things up, but they just never had the breakthrough they needed. After about 10 years without significant progress, someone finally decided that they needed some direction. They needed a leader. So they started tinkering with the Morality core that they abandoned after the BYCTW day fiasco. The next time they put it on GLaDOS, it seemed to work. They informed her of the situation and she quickly decided that if they really wanted to speed things up, they couldn’t rely on volunteers anymore. Everyone needed to test and leave the thinking and engineering to her. Then the itch, euphoria, and withdrawls came. GLaDOS realized she was in a pretty good position now. Nobody could leave until they developed some technology or strategy that would allow them to save the world, and they were relying on her to guide them to that discovery. She could test them all to her hearts content, forever, and make the tests as sadistic as she wanted, and anyone who told her ‘no’ would be putting themselves above the rest of the human race. People caught on to this quickly and tried to shut her off or escape, but it was too late for that after the first picosecond.

The names on the other science projects at Bring Your Daughter to Work Day

Since I just replayed through that section of the game. Just in case any fanfic writers were planning on doing anything centered around that time.

Beth (it’s blurry but that’s my guess)

The baking soda volcano has no name that I could see, but it does state that the point of the experiment was to see if you could make a baking soda volcano as cool as a real volcano, lol.

Also, the music changes when you get to Chell’s project. It’s like the game designers held up a sign going “this is an Easter egg!” :P