Team Fortress 2

On nights like this, I won­der how I’m going to kill the time before it’s late enough to fall asleep, wor­ried that I’ll be bored on a Friday and con­se­quent­ly faced with the fact that I’m so very alone. I was crav­ing some kind of human con­tact tonight, but spend­ing time with peo­ple takes too much ener­gy nowa­days so I decid­ed, instead, to play Team Fortress 2.

I pur­chased it on an impulse, but this was still three years after TF2 first came out. There’s a very good rea­son I avoid­ed buy­ing it for so long: it’s the sequel to Team Fortress Classic, one of the games I was most addict­ed to in my life, and a huge time sink1. An entire day could go by with­out real­iz­ing it when I was play­ing TFC, and I pur­pose­ly did­n’t buy TF2 when Aaron was get­ting into it too; I knew I would­n’t stop if I had friends encour­ag­ing the habit.



I was first intro­duced to TFC in res­i­dence of my first year of uni­ver­si­ty, and many years after were spent play­ing with my room­mate, Pita. Usually as only one unit: the sniper. It got to the point where I would only eat, go to class, and play. There was noth­ing as sat­is­fy­ing as see­ing giblets fly­ing after a charged head­shot, and to feed my addic­tion I start­ed a sniper clan, ran prac­tices, and orga­nized match­es. Yeah, I was that seri­ous about it. At one point, I could reach a zen-like state in the game, and killing peo­ple became a med­i­ta­tive exer­cise.

One time, a clan­mate and his friend drove up from Illinois (which to Ottawa is almost 1500km!) to meet me, and we hung out and drank and ate wings. It was a pret­ty good time in my life.

TF2 sniper


So tonight I start­ed up TF2, feel­ing nos­tal­gic, play­ing a famil­iar map port­ed from the orig­i­nal, push­ing a 3‑to‑1 kill ratio like old times. Even with some rather sig­nif­i­cant game­play changes from the orig­i­nal (the rifle does­n’t charge when not zoomed in, no grenades, lots of new items with dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties), it felt com­fort­ably famil­iar. The same prin­ci­ples of vision, aware­ness, cov­er, tim­ing, psy­chol­o­gy, and move­ment still applied when duel­ing with oth­er snipers.

There was one oth­er dif­fer­ence though: the imple­men­ta­tion of voice chat. When I stopped play­ing the orig­i­nal TFC, XBox Live had just launched and head­sets were far from pop­u­lar. People used to com­mu­ni­cate main­ly through typ­ing, but now there were peo­ple talk­ing shit and jok­ing around.

On a Friday night, when I was look­ing for a bit of social con­tact, I found the com­pa­ny of a few human voic­es over my speak­ers. They were loud, and sil­ly, and some­times social­ly awk­ward, but I did­n’t care. I did­n’t even need to talk back; it was enough to hear peo­ple com­mu­ni­cat­ing in the cama­raderie of bat­tle to feel like I was­n’t alone.

I can’t believe I stopped play­ing long enough to write that.

  1. Also the same rea­son I haven’t tried World of Warcraft. []


  1. Aw man.. I’ve been mean­ing to get back into TF2 also. Too bad sum­mer is so full of fun things to do.

    • Hahahah, TF2 is also fun in the sum­mer!

      But fuck it, the only thing I did this week­end besides play­ing was laun­dry. I’m offi­cial quit­ting TF2 again. It’s too much of a time killer.

  2. I have some friends who used to be this addict­ed to Halo. I used to sit in their liv­ing room and go .…. “Hi!” weak­ly now and then.

    But I should talk, I spent the whole week­end mea­sur­ing, pin­ning, cut­ting and sewing. ::fin­ger whirl:: I’m such a social but­ter­fly.

    • I think sewing is a pro­duc­tive hob­by, even if it’s not a social one. For per­son­al devel­op­ment, I imag­ine it’d be the equiv­a­lent of teach­ing one­self an instru­ment.

      • For me it’s more like fac­ing an oppo­nent.…. only do it when I real­ly want some­thing the way I want it : )

    • I bet I eas­i­ly top that in Warcraft 3 hours, although that may be because Warcraft 3 came out five years before TF2. Still, that’s quite impressive…I bet you’re the most hard­core TF2 play­er I know!

  3. My id is:“放牛班的戒尺“,U can add me and play togeth­er~~~

  4. i also love tf2.
    the feel­ing i get when i back stab a sniper, medic, heavy, pyro, on the cart is won­der­ful.
    .. or being the sniper that takes out the medic right before they use an uber..
    ahh.. delec­table.

    or an engy that gau­rds an area and tele­ports his team to vic­to­ry..

    the fun is in the prob­lem solv­ing.. or .. how can i make the best use of my abil­i­ties against real prob­lem solv­ing peo­ple.… sin­gle play­er isn’t as fun any­more.

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