May 12, 2008

Spy's sapping my post!

Team Fortress 2 Cast

I owned a Nintendo Entertainment System when I was 4, and since then video games have been something of an obsession a pastime of mine. Seriously, if I devoted even a tenth of the amount of time I spent with Italian plumbers and blue hedgehogs to something productive, I could have learned 12 different languages or cured cancer by now.

Then I leveled up my real-world avatar and things like "responsibility", "finances" and "pants" were things that I could no longer avoid. Between the demands of a day job and something that resembles a normal social life I had little time or energy left to play video games. Most of the time, I was only able to dabble in this, or dabble in that. Everything seemed like more of the same. This was especially true of the first person shooter (FPS) genre, which came in three flavors: tactical, Counterstrike-esque shooter; futuristic, frantic Halo-esque shooter; and World War 2.

Suddenly, along comes a game called Team Fortress 2, and totally recaptures my attention and free time. I'm not the first person to talk about this game, and as God as my witness, I'm not going to be the last. You join a server, pick one of two teams fighting each other, and pick one of nine classes of characters (pictured above). Brief summary: it's a game that favors teamwork and group tactics over "lone-wolf" mentality to accomplish the particular goals of a map.

I could wax poetic about the amount of polish, class balance, and addictability (that a word?) this game contains, but what Gentlemen.really hooked me was the personality. Each of the nine aforementioned misfits- er classes, have their own set of weapons, strengths and weaknesses and personality. This personality is palpable, and oozes out of every detail.

The demoman is a drunk Scottish explosives expert with one functioning eye and can slap people around with an alcohol jug. The Heavy, that big slow brute, laughs maniacally when he fires off a few hundred rounds. The German-accented Medic is a really weak combatant but will still try to put up a fight with a syringe gun in a pinch. And nothing, I repeat nothing, in the game is more satisfying than as a Spy getting behind an enemy rush and stabbing as many of them as possible in the back.

Valve, the game's creator and apparently not content with merely representing the classes' personality in game, also developed several short videos for each of the classes in the "meet the" series of videos. They don't have all of the classes represented yet, but to get an idea of the personality I'm talking about:

This is one of the few games in recent memory that has been able to not only hold my attention for so long, but genuinely continue to excite me every time I play. I could go on and on... but I think I'd rather get back to playing.

1 comment:

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