Geek Wisdom of the Week: “The cake is a lie!”


By: Victor “Fiefo!” de la Cruz

The most memorable quotes of wisdom can come from unexpected sources. In order for it to be memorable, the quote has to resonate with people, even if they did not hear or read it personally. As long as it strikes a chord with people, it will spread its message.

An example of this comes from original Portal game. While it’s not really a secret, Valve did a good job making it “hidden enough” so that it becomes a nice little reward for players who decide to explore each stage of the game.

The Quote: “The cake is a lie!”

The story behind the quote: As mentioned, the line comes from Portal, a FPS game where the player controls Chell, a young woman trapped in an underground facility of Aperture Science and is told that she will have to traverse various test chambers armed with only the titular Portal gun. GLaDOS, the AI running the tests, informs Chell that all of the “tests” will be well worth it because of the reward if she completes it: a cake.
Unfortunately, the “reward” appears to only be a ruse. An unseen person has been writing on the walls of the facility, noting down that GLaDOS is actually a maniacal machine and takes pleasure in torturing people, using the test chambers to cause them harm. This person, according to the Lab Rat prequel comic, has been trying to get to Chell but unable to rescue her. The best thing he can do is leave messages scribbled on the walls trying to warn her about the danger.

One of the most memorable messages that he wrote is something the normal player may not encounter. If the player explores the 16th test chamber (as seen in the video above), you will be able to find the quote.

The Geek Wisdom we can take from it: There are a lot of people that will try to dangle a reward in front of you in order to get what they want. The best modern example would be the “Nigerian Prince” scam, where a person requests an “investor” to deposit a significant amount of money to pay off/bribe some people but the payoff would be a much large amount than the amount “invested.”

There are always going to be individuals out there that will try to take advantage of good-natured and naive people. Always remember that, if a stranger offers you cake, then the cake is probably a lie.

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