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It's a good day to be an NVIDIA SHIELD owner. Valve's Android ports of PC shooter classics Portal and Half-Life 2 just dropped in the Play Store for $10 a pop. They're only for the SHIELD (even other devices with the Tegra 4 chipset aren't invited to the party), which is a bit of a mixed blessing - these games really require a full controller to play.

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Valve teased an Android release for the 2007 classic Portal way back in March, but we only heard about the Half-Life 2 port last week (via crowbar). Since both of these games run on an older version of Valve's Source engine, it makes sense that it didn't take long to get HL2 up and running once Portal was finished. Ryan Whitwam got his hands on an advance copy of Portal for a full review if you're on the fence about a purchase. Half-Life 2 should be essentially the same, at least in terms of performance.

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If you're the kind of gamer who likes a solid, rounded experience, and especially if you're a fan of physics puzzles, go for Portal. It's a fan favorite for a reason: the dimension-warping gameplay is a pillar of modern gaming, relying more on careful thought and planning than pew-pew shooter skills. The short but sweet story is also a hoot, thanks to Ellen McLain's timeless performance as the sarcastically murderous AI GlaDOS. If you'd rather go for a more straight-laced shooter with a longer story, Half-Life 2 is your game. Its action-packed and lengthy single-player campaign has solid gameplay and science fiction story elements, not to mention some great characters and unique weapons. Make room: both games weigh in at over 2 gigabytes.

And if you're just a fan of Valve's games in general, you stopped reading about two paragraphs ago and your wallet is already $20 lighter. It's worth noting that the NVIDIA SHIELD is on sale for just $199 at the moment.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Kieron Quinn

    *Buys a shield*

    • jn

      good job man!

      • Mark Burley

        Nothing against the shield but I want to play this in 1080p on my 40 inch TV that's why I bought a mojo are we out in the cold?

        • Antoeknee Akacheese

          you do know the shield can hook up to the tv through an hdmi wire or through wireless if your tv is a smart tv.

  • Johnathan Rodriguez

    Half Life 2 confirmed.

    • Brendan


      • Daniel DS


        That's the joke, Brendan

        • Brendan

          Oh. Heh.

    • HL

      Half Life 2 sucks....confirmed .

      • MasterOfYourMum

        Your mum on knees....confirmed :D

  • getdummied

    No Nvidia, I'm not going to buy your lacklustre handheld to pay for a game that I already own and have beaten many times 10 years ago.

    • Brendan

      Cool story.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Tell us how you really feel.

    • http://androidandme.com/ Taylor Wimberly

      Lackluster compared to what? The Shield is the best gaming I've ever experienced on Android.

      • hoosiercub88

        People really just don't understand that gaming on a regular tablet/phone is never going to be as good or immersive as something you directly interact with, instead of tap tap tapping on a piece of glass. I wouldn't mind a Shield, and if the library of games like this keeps increasing I might just get one, especially if they start making exclusives or even *gasp* bring some sort of cross platform Steam support for Android even if it is only exclusive to the Shield. Sort of a SteamOS type thing.

        • Russell Walker

          Gamestream works surprisingly well if you have a PC with a decent Nvidia GPU.

          • hoosiercub88

            I'm unfortunately still running a 560ti so my GPU won't work for it, but I've heard good things about it.

          • didibus

            So does Kainy if you run an AMD card, or older Nvidia.

          • Vince Longman

            You can also use an app called limelight to stream from a Nvidia GPU to any phone
            I can remember, but there's also a similar app for AMD GPUs one as well

        • WhoaManWtF

          I have a Moga Pro and a faster device than the Shield with a better screen. I prefer the controller layout and it interacts with and looks better than a shield while being multi functional!

      • James

        "The Shield is the best gaming I've ever experienced on Android."

        Mobile devices suck balls for gaming. So that means very little.

        • discotechnology

          nvidia shield 1 would be way nicer with an inch larger screen. But if you ever game on xbox 360 or with a controller you will not be unhappy with the controls.
          I actually quite enjoy it. I didn't expect to ever keep my shield but it has been pretty cool for the year i have had it.

      • jn


    • Kokusho

      Then don't. Why should anyone care ?

    • jmscar82

      If anything...download the emulator called Retroarch to a shield. Then download tons of roms...then hook an hdmi to ur tv...then u get basically free amazingness in the form of retro gaming on your tv with perfect controls. Shield is the best handheld since gameboy advance sp.

    • discotechnology

      The handheld itself is pretty cool. It's the lack of killer apps you can't find anywhere else that stinks.
      Totally a niche device that is best suited for people away from home wishing they had their xbox with them.

  • baza58

    I like that logo easter egg in the headline.

  • CerealFTW

    I just want to be able to run this on my n5 with a moga controller..

    • hoosiercub88

      Well you can't.

      • Mkvarner

        How sure are you? Might work to edit build.prop?

        • hoosiercub88

          I mean, I'm sure that you could side-load these and make them work, but only in a Tegra4 equipped device.. these are probably pretty specifically optimized as such and would be a poor experience on anything else.

          • Rocky45

            "They're only for the SHIELD (even other devices with the Tegra 4 chipset aren't invited to the party),"

          • hoosiercub88

            yes, because there is just an overwhelming plethora of Tegra4 powered devices out there..

          • Mkvarner

            Yup, they are trying to reach the big market with the rich people that buys mostly terrible Tegra 4 HP tablets.

        • Bilal Mahmood

          im sure that it could be side loaded on to a Note 2 there couldn't be anything in the game which could be GPU specific pair a dualshock 3 and it should work

      • CerealFTW

        Well no shit. I said I wanted to, I never claimed that I could

  • Casin

    For some reason on my rss feed this article's icon had a 3 on that half life symbol. I got excited until I opened the article and saw either the rss reader or AP trolled me.

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      I don't know what you're talking about. [innocent whistle]

      • Scott

        OK that's insanely hilarious.

      • WhoaManWtF

        good job!

      • Matthew Fry

        "Believe it."

  • http://infotainmentempire.blogspot.com Rob

    Can anyone give me an honest assessment for the port? Review incoming on performance/graphics? I don't mind spending $10 on a game if will entertain me for at least a few hours. Multiplayer would be awesome.

    • German Leon Azzi

      It was reviewed thoroughly in this same site a few days ago.

      • http://infotainmentempire.blogspot.com Rob

        I read the Portal review but was out of town the last few days. Looks like I will have to wait until I catch up on my RSS feed for the post. Thanks for letting me know it exists.

        • Ameno Sagiri

          I only tried the first 30 minutes or so of Half-Life 2 so far.

          I take notice to lot's of small details and problems in games since I've been gaming on a high end PC for the last couple of years.

          In comparison to PC:
          Lot's of noticeable framerate drops, and the controls are very delayed most of the time (Input lag). Compared to a PC, I find this extremely hard to play.

          Graphics are on par with PC, but I believe they have AF turned way down or off completely in favor of bilinear or trilinear filtering.

          I'm pretty sure there's no AA, or very little AA, but it's really not noticeable to an annoying degree because of the dense pixels being packed on that tiny 5 inch screen.

          Geometry, models, sounds, textures, particles, and all that seem to be the same. The only graphical absence seems to be AF and AA.

          It's an ok port, but if you're REALLY not interested in playing it with these problems, I wouldn't bother buying it. It's a better port than Jak and Daxter for the Vita by a stretch.

          • http://infotainmentempire.blogspot.com Rob

            Thanks for the input, I think I'll pass on this one for now.

          • TaintConstrictor

            Oh god jak and daxter for the vita, I beat the entire series on vita hitting only around an average of 10fps, a nightmare of nostalgia

  • Ilya Potekhin

    Look at everyone being excited about a 10 year old game being re-released for 1 (one) specific device.

    • jm9843

      Look at everyone being excited about one of the greatest games of all time being re-released for 1 (one) specific device.


      • a

        "one of the greatest games of all time"


    • Scott

      If you've ever played them you'd understand.

      • rg

        I've played them, and they suck. Is it impossible for you to comprehend that not everyone likes what you like? Pick any game, movie, TV show or song that you think is awesome. There will be at least a 1000 guys who think it sucks.

    • Mauro

      You didn't play it don't you?

    • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

      I am excited about two Source games being officially running on Android now.

      • unsivilaudio

        Word. I hope they continue porting Portal's.

  • firesoul453

    Shield is actually getting good games? Nice. Still not worth the money though.

    • BBS

      $199 for all android games and PC games streamed to your device?

      • firesoul453

        I guess my views on it are dated. Back then it was $350. I can't say I am a fan of your average ios/android game. Do they have good ones now (besides these two)?
        Do they still require a NVIDA card?
        Is it still Wifi streaming only?

        • BBS

          Mount and Blade, rochard, Doom 3, emulate any PS1, PSP, n64 ect game, you can stream outside of your home if you have at least 5mbs d/l at home and 5mbs u/l where ever you are.

          you still need an nvidia card, that won't change.

          • firesoul453

            I guess its not horrible deal but definitely not the device for me.

      • Askaryan

        199$ for a PSVita with Borderlands 2. Tons of good games, PS1 and PSP titles and all PS4 games can be streamed.

        Sorry, a console with android cant beat this. It doesnt have the games.

        • BBS

          You're horribly wrong, remind me how much memory a PS Vita has? none, no stock memory, the cards for it are horribly expensive, that goes along with the games, they are horribly expensive ($14.99 dollars compared to $0.99 on android)

          Yet again I will list the reasons the Shield is better.

          Stock memory, better CPU, better GPU, expandable memory cheaply, great emulation (I can emulate PS1, PSP, N64, GBA, NDS, Gameboy, just to name a few) And the same as PS4, I can stream any game, that is any game on my PC, which I guarantee will have a lot more games than your PS4 will. with a lot more unique titles as well.

          Borderlands 2 is nice I guess, a native port is always nice, looking at reviews it struggles on the FPS side.

          • Askaryan

            It has 1 gig, which is not much, you can use it to play card games. Obviously, you will want to get a memory card. You pay it for once.

            0,99$ Oh, great, you can pay 1 dollars for games made for touchscreens. I will use my Nexus 5 for that, thank you. I pay more for an Uncharted, Killzone, LBP, NFS MW but at least I get a real, console-like experience. HL2 and Portal is very nice, but nobody is porting new games for the system. FIFA is a joke too. We have real, new exclusives now too.

            I give you the other parts of the emulation other than the PS consoles. These emulators do have problems sometimes, at least on the Vita you have perfect ones.

            What unique games? You are playing with a controller. I imagine it would be quite hard to play Rome II TW. Those games are most of the usual AAA titles which are in the first place were made for consoles even if they get released on PC. And on controller territory, PS4 will have strong exclusives. It would be stupid to doubt that.

            Oh, and the power. It is nice to have, but for what, again? You wont play KZ Mercenary with it, which might need that. You have HL2 and Portal. One 10 and another 7 years old game? What do you need that Tegra 4 for? Gameloft crap [sorry, but those are just disgusting]? Streaming?

          • BBS

            I was describing the pricing difference between the devices, it's about being able to play any game with a proper controller, and not only that, on a strong device with brilliant specs, Valve is a massive company, I

            f they are wiling to give Nvidia their source engine to port then it can only mean great things, while you speak about playing with a controller, you can also connect a keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth, so any game is supported, Console mode allows me to plug the shield into a TV and play PC games where ever I want, Android games are getting better and better, A full port of Mount and Blade is amazing.

            There are no problems with the emulators, it's strong enough to handle it, yeah some Android games are bad, what does that matter?

            Also, I can play PS4/XBOX one/XBOX 360/PS3 on my Shield, you just need a capture card into your PC and you steam away, meaning exclusives can be played.

            When I said the PC exclusives I was meaning the Indie games, or games like Warthunder, Goat simulator, silly stuff like that, which is great fun to play.

          • Askaryan

            Also, I would like to add, that you will be changing to the next Shield next year, because this one loses support as soon as K1 launches. So please, dont brag about the price with a console that has a 2 year life cycle. We have seen this happen to Tegra 3 and Ouya.

          • BBS

            Don't be stupid, Shield is a niche product and there won't be a new one in two years, even if there was one it doesn't matter.

  • Ransom

    EP3 confirmed for being a Shield exclusive. Bow down to mobiles you filthy console and PC peasants.

    • jm9843

      What alternate dimension are you from? That said, I might be in for a Shield 2 at this rate. If Valve would do a proper Steam client for Android to enable their in-home streaming to Shield, the rumored Android TV box, etc - that'd be a killer setup.

      • mobilemann

        the alternate dimension in which you, too have a sense of humor.

        • jm9843

          If only the original "joke" was as funny as your retort.

    • http://forum.xda-developers.com/member.php?u=1356962 ThilinaC

      Shield too is a console,you get that right ?

  • didibus

    Bought and Bought!

    I'm playing more on my Shield than my PC. It's about time portables become high caliber, and the Shield is leading the way to make gaming as portable as Phones have made other computing task portable.

  • duse

    Graphics are better in this than most games out today. Valve only puts out the best. If games actually stayed on the trajectory that HL2 set 10 years ago, we'd be in full on VR photorealistic 3D holograms by now.

  • WhoaManWtF

    Sweet now Hundreds of more people can play it.. They should release it on Android so millions more can!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      The worst thing is that why would they even bother with the shield. If you actually purchased a Shield I have a hard time believing that you don't already have steam and own copies of these games.

      • didibus

        With years of Steam sales, Gabe conditioned me to throw my money at him. This is why.

    • BBS

      The licence from Valve will restrict what they can port it to, anyway, why would they bother to port the engine if they aren't going to release it on their new flagship device?

    • Sersoft

      if you are obnoxious enough to own a Shield you obviously already have had tons of PC's and consoles to play HL2 on...

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      They ported these as an experiment to see how they need to modify Source to get it working with Android. Source 2 is going to be cross-platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, xbone, PS4.

      • TaintConstrictor

        I wish I could believe you friend, but The newell has never confirmed anything, so what you say is not true. sorry

        • perfectlyreasonabletoo

          There doesn't need to be an official statement to know what's going on.

          The first game they ported to Mac was Portal, then a few weeks later they released Half-Life 2. Since then they've ported all their games to Mac.

          The first game they ported to Linux was Portal, then a week later they released Half-Life 2. Now all their games are on Linux.

          Now they've ported Portal and Half-Life 2 to Android.

          I don't remember if it was Gabe Newell or another Valve employee, but they specifically stated that they use Portal as their test game for a new platform. Once a relatively simple game like Portal works, a lot of the work involved in porting their other games is already done.

          I'm not suggesting that ALL their past and future games are going to be on Android, all I'm saying is that they now have a working knowledge of how to develop for Android, so as Android-based hardware progresses they'll have the option of releasing new games for it much more easily.

          Source 2 is already going to be on Windows, Mac, Linux, and almost certainly PS4 and xbone (probably even PS3/360), so it's reasonable to assume that Android will be another target platform because it's (IIRC) the world's most widely used OS and they now know how to program for it.

          • TaintConstrictor

            Well your reasoning is smart, but even now we're seeing source 1 being ported, which still isn't even maxed in settings or perfectly porting. We just don't have the mobile processing power for it yet. Remember a quad core 2.2 ghz arm chip is only equal to around half the power of a 2ghz Intel chip. Android, unless it suddenly boasts in power by 2015 will just be too slow for a next gen engine. Even if fully compatible.

  • wfghetrh

    Fuck Half Life. The most overrated media production in the history of man kind.

    • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

      You misspelled Game Of Thrones.

    • qxc

      Yes, finally, thank you. Half Life sucks balls. Glad to see someone agrees.

      • TaintConstrictor

        Okay, apart from well designed and fluent linear maps, interesting yet not over the top force fed story line, simple arcade type fps game, unexpectable gameplay, top tier graphics (for their time), incredibly smart ai, fun moddable engine, overwhelming tech support, and near perfectly polished gunplay that doesnt force anything nor feel overwhelming in terms of extras and oddities. what exactly makes it suck balls, I mean really, half life is midly artistic, simple, and well made. Ive played my fare share of games and can certainly say it is one of the greatest ever made. Name 1 title better than it, 1

        • Krazy Kirby

          Inb4 Call of Doge: the New Dog Model

          • TaintConstrictor

            Ok, you've bested me sir

  • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

    "by NVIDIA Tegra Partners" Really?

    • BBS


  • Cheeseball

    It doesn't seem to have any DRM checks. I'll rip the APK and try to sideload it on a Tegra Note 7. Hopefully it should work since I'm using a Logitech F710 with it.

    • He

      Use Fake Gpu.

      • Cheeseball

        Doesn't work a Nexus 7 2013 (Adreno 320) and Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N9005, Adreno 330) stock or through GLTools. I either get a black screen (with sound in the background) or it crashes.

        • Coil_Whine

          What? Aww, man. Why do you torture me like this, Nvidia...

        • TaintConstrictor

          I wanna try this with my kindle hdx but since rooting is impossible atm I cant edit the build.prop. Can you tell me your specific steps so when rooting does become an Option I can try my luck. I know the specs are on par with the note 3 but overall the kindle seems to handle gaming better and this might be a little kick in the right direction. thanks man, even if you dont reply.

    • Himmat Singh

      Do let me know if it works on the TN7 or Note 3. Just to be sure though, officially from Google Play, it only downloads to the Shield?

      • Cheeseball

        I can confirm it works PERFECTLY on the Tegra Note 7, as long as you have a proper HID-supported/GameMapper-compatible gamepad. My Tegra Note 7 is not overclocked and is running on stock 4.4.2.

    • didibus

      I think the Shield uses it's own set of API for controls though, unless I'm wrong and it's using HID.

      • Cheeseball

        It does use it's own proprietary API for the controls (NvGamepad) but it can be adapted to the general HID standard using GameMapper.

    • primalxconvoy

      I'm interested to see if a tegra 3 ouya can run this.

      • Cheeseball

        If the GPU was paired up with a considerably powerful x86 CPU, for sure it can run it like it was back in 2004 (Pentium 4/Athlon FX) since the Tegra 3 is practically the equivalent of a GeForce 6600/Radeon 9800 (8 pixel, 4 vertex = 12 ALUs).

  • Matthew Fry

    They should have waited to release it on the 10 year anniversary.

    Anyway, this is a much needed injection into the shield catalog, I'm excited to see what comes next. There are lots of source games.

  • Himmat Singh

    Are these Shield-only? Can't be downloaded to other Tegra 4 devices even from Google Play?

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      From the first bloody paragraph you illiterate twat: "They're only for the SHIELD (even other devices with the Tegra 4 chipset aren't invited to the party)"

      • primalxconvoy

        Perhaps he did and was referring (albeit badly) to sideloading it?

  • Lamm

    If they get Unreal tournament (the classic from 1999) and/or Unreal Championship 2 (for xbox) Running on it, they can take my money.

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      UT on a gamepad?

      • thelionk

        Can't really do any better, if you're going to play this in the bed, the shitter, and the bus, as I do.

  • someone755

    NVidia please, we need this in Europe ;-;

  • http://www.1singur.deviantart.com/ Stefan Dumitrache

    Knowing Valve, they wouldn't port their games to mobile devices that rely solely on touchscreen to control (and interact with) the game. Basically the Shield is probably the only device that Valve sees fit to use to get into portable gaming.

    (Could there be an argument for Vita, though? Could Vita run Source games? And if so, could it be Sony's politics that would keep Valve away from Vita?))

    • thelionk

      Nvidia made the port, not Valve. Maybe if Sony offered Valve to port it themselves it would come out on Vita.

    • primalxconvoy

      Er, so the Moga controller and other HID controllers for Android, plus platforms like Amazon TV and Ouya aren't viable?

      If you check, you'll find that both games are getting a vanilla Android release later.

  • puxem

    a real valve fan wouldnt drop $20 on 2 games.

    • didibus

      Trust me, I hesitated greatly, but my laziness took over, nothing feels better than gaming in bed.

  • Kashmieer


  • OkinKun

    Now they juts need to make the Portal games work with the Oculus Rift.. and make HL3..

  • Sophia Patel
  • jn

    and my friends think shield sucks just because "its a flat xbox controller with a screen on it"
    and they think ipod touch is better. no offence but ipod touch is a weak device "oh the apple ipod touch has a core a5 prossesor" we know nothing about "core a5" but we know tegra 4 is good so we get TEGRA 4!

  • tdurden64111

    5 people just rejoiced!

  • angryshieldowner

    Shield is a buggy hunk of crap. Doesn't work right with most games, and when it does it crashes or freezes a lot. Buyer beware. Cool idea but it feels like its still in alpha/beta testing. Definitely not worth $300+

  • TaintConstrictor

    Can somebody who owns the game tell me what frame rate it runs at? Like is it at a constant 25-30fps like borderlands for vita?

  • Samurninsai

    Other games? Divinity, Shield knight, Isaac? I want more, if I am to get one of those Shield 2s.