Team Fortress 2 becomes Free to Play forever

Did you know that Team Fortress 2 is the best multiplayer game in the world today? It’s better than your Calls of Duty, your StarCrafts, your Worlds of Warcraft, and better than Farmvilles too. I’ve talked about how TF2 is better than Metal Gear Online at length. The same points apply to almost anything out there today.

And now it’s just a free thing, that you can have and enjoy.

Thank you, Valve. Thank you for being heroes.

New Team Fortress 2 update + site

The Über Update is upon us.

Featuring some mafia-related gear for the Heavy and Spy, as well as a new map, the update will surely be a doozie! It’s also going to include the “Meet the Medic” video (finally!)

Along with that, the Team Fortress 2 blog has been revamped to include class profiles, update history, comics, and awesome artwork.

Unfortunately, all of this content will cost you a whopping zero dollars.

Oh, and if you don’t own the game, you can now play it FOR FREE this ENTIRE WEEK!

E3 2011 Thoughts & Reviews

In this article, I provide a long analysis of some of the latest games and hardware being shown, and why various sequels  have left me wanting more while others inspire dread.

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Why the Wii U will be a great console

The Nintendo Wii U, codenamed “Project Cafe”, was officially unveiled at E3 just days ago. It’s already the subject of much debate and concern. I believe these concerns are stupid, and based on a few critical misconceptions.

The critic’s argument goes like this:

“The Wii was supposed to be revolutionary, but in the end it just sat on our shelves and collected dust! Only some of the first party titles developed by Nintendo were cool, and the rest were crappy. It was a huge disappointment, so therefore we should expect the same from the Wii U.

“The failure of the Kinect and Move motion controls, as well as the mediocrity of the Nintendo 3DS, also reinforce that Nintendo’s strategies are filled with bad ideas and they can’t be trusted to innovate.”

Nintendo Wii U console and controllerEven if I agreed that the Wii was a failure (which I don’t,) it’s a fallacy to argue that its failure translates into some kind of doom spell for the Wii U. In fact the only problem the Wii really had was the misunderstanding of what it was trying to do! And that was thanks to the ridiculous interpretation given by gaming sites and magazines.

For those of us who bothered to pay attention, we know that the Wii was trying to appeal to people who never normally played games. This is called the blue ocean strategy, in which a company targets new demographics instead of always trying to satisfy the same small group of devotees. This was a stroke of genius, even if it made them unpopular in the eys of the old fans. Millions of people who never paid attention to consoles were suddenly intrigued and willing to give videogames a try, so yes, the Wii was a success, not a failure.

However, the game industry (and other millions of gamers) felt betrayed, so they left the Wii out in the cold. The old paradigm was having trouble coping with the fact that Nintendo was returning to it’s family-oriented origins and shrugging off the imaginary “debt” that they owed to the 20-30 year old nerds who supposedly kept the industry afloat. “You can’t break up with me! I’m breaking up with YOU!” The Wii got a bad name for no good reason, and to this day I can’t talk to a fellow gamer without hearing about how the Wii was a “gimmicky failure”. They just can’t comprehend that Nintendo wasn’t trying to impress them, and that’s okay.

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So it’s E3? Settle down, people.

Another year, another E3 to get all excited about, right?

Well… Yes and no.

Yes, there’s the possibility that we’ll see awesome games, consoles and innovations; Nintendo supposedly has a new console to reveal, and of course Kojima Productions will have its own spotlight, even if the man who the company is named after is shunning the event. Some think that Sony and Microsoft will also reveal their plans for new consoles, even if it’s basically just a concept. So there could be sweet news!

But as my old grand-uncle William Shakespeare used to say: all that glimmers is not gold. There’s also the harsh reality that businesses love making huge promises that ultimately become stupid disappointments. If you’re the kind of person who is satisfied by simply having something new to speculate about (a stance I’ve been known to take), then it’s probably a win-win situation. But please, if you’re going to speculate, do it right: balance your hype with some criticism and realism, okay? 70% of all new ideas are garbage.

Is this a Team Fortress site?

No it’s not.

But maybe it should be, because hey, it’s my site and it’s sure as hell more interesting than any Metal Gear news.

This is a new, fancy, cool comic done by the guys at Team Fortress 2 — ie. Valve Software — for free.

Do you see it? Here’s the link again in case you missed it. That’s 10 pages of extremely well done digital comic, deepening the already surprisingly deep story/world of the Team Fortress 2 universe. Why? Because apparently they wanted to make their new, interesting, completely unnecessary update more awesome. We learn some actual backstory about the Heavy, see pictures of the Sniper’s parents, and (for some reason) have an actual story explanation for the existence of the Meet the Team videos. Allow me to remind you that this is a cartoonish First Person Shooter multiplayer game.

The story also explains why the update is being made: as a cunning plan to allow the Administrator to spy on everybody without having to deal with annoying directors.

As for the update itself, here’s an exciting video that actually explains it.

Basically, TF2 will now feature a “Replay Editor” which can be used to capture, edit and share impressive/funny/memorable moments of gameplay. That may sound lame, but then you watch the video and realize they’re running a contest and giving away a digital award to the people who submit the best movies! There are a bunch of categories, and they can be easily shared on YouTube and Steam.

Why do I mention this? Because dammit, other companies COULD BE DOING THIS KIND OF STUFF.

Kojima notices that green is vivid

Sorry I missed mentioning this earlier, but Kojima has recently noticed that green is a vivid color. [link]

Less importantly, but still sort of worth mentioning, are his heavy-handed compliments towards L.A. Noire:

It seems that “L.A. NOIR” will be released in Japan on 7th July(the Star Festival). It is the most and the only game that I am looking forward to playing. English version will be released in May. I cannot wait, but as it is the detective game, I should wait for the Japanese version. This game may change the future of “adventure game.” I’ve got a big expectation! [link]

It seems “L.A. NOIR” has all the elements such as investigation (on-site investigation, door-to-door investigation, hearing, tailing), car chase, gunbattle and arrestment etc. This will be the great title not only for whom like noir novel but also for whom like police drama and an old investigation type of adventure like me. [link]

Of course I agree with Kojima’s sentiments, since L.A. Noire looks to be both highly original and perfectly realized, which is a rare combination, but I doubt that it will change the future of anything. Kojima is an idealist, and he thinks that innovation will influence the direction of an industry, but he underestimates the game industry’s love affair with juvenile fantasy exploitation and low-brow frat boys. Even if the game is a success commercially, nobody else will be willing (or able) to attempt copying the level of intelligence, originality or class that L.A. Noire will possess.

The game industry may respect men like Kojima and applaud games like L.A. Noire, but nothing will budge it from it’s current trajectory.

 

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