Sci-Fi Shorts: Tempo Has Portal-Style Fun With Physics

By David Wharton | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

One of the things that makes Valve’s Portal games so much fun is the way the titular Portal gun — excuse me, the “Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device” — lets gamers play around with physics. Starting from the basic concept of shooting portals onto any flat surface, the game gradually introduces new ways to exploit and expand that idea, and things get really entertaining once you realize that momentum is maintained when passing through a portal. That conservation of momentum is the core idea behind Tempo, a fun sci-fi short that introduces a very Portal-y device and then runs amok with it.

In this case, the device at hand can speed objects up or slow objects down. When those objects are in motion, however, their momentum remains the same. So a thrown baseball will still break through a pane of glass, it’ll just do it sllllooowwwwwlllllyyyyy. The inventors haven’t quite worked out the kinks, but it gets a trial by fire when some unfriendly sorts show up wanting to “borrow” the device. Tempo is a nice mix of high concept and comedy, and it’s totally worth 14 minutes of your time.

Tempo was created by the folks at Red Giant, including director Seth Worley, who co-wrote the short with Neil Hoppe, Aharon Rabinowitz. You can check out even more of Red Giant’s flicks over on their Vimeo page.

And while we’re talking Portal, here’s another couple of fun shorts we’ve highlighted in the past.