This may be sacriligious to say, but on my very first playthrough of Bloodborne, I hated it. Like, I really, really didn’t like it. I knew there was so much praise for the game, and I dabbled in a bit of Dark Souls previously, so I had a slight idea of what I was getting into. I knew the story enraptured so many people so I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So I borrowed the game from my friend, fired it up, died, probably 200 times, rage quit so many times until I got to “YAHAR’GUL (comma) THE UNSEEN VILLAGE”, and that’s what killed it for me. There were these bell ladies that could infinitely regenerate enemies, there was a huge difficulty spike because every enemy did so much more damage, and nothing there gave much experience so I was stuck in a frustrating rut that just caused me to give up because it wasn’t fun anymore.

So I mulled it over for 6 months, took a break, and noticed that the game of the year edition was on sale for 20 dollars, I decided “hey, maybe I can do it this time. I have a fresh outlook on Bloodborne, my mind is clear, I know how to deal with the frustrating parts now, I can deal.” So after watching some lore videos to find out what’s actually going on in this game, I purchased it, and it became my very first Platinum trophy on my PS4.

So, what made Bloodborne my first ever completion? What made me want to finish all of it, as opposed to my frustrating slog that sullied my view of this game? Well, this is incredibly petty, but I picked the Saw Cleaver instead of The Hunter’s Axe at the beginning of the game. Yes, a single weapon change allowed me to 100% an RPG and spend 50+ hours on it. It turns out, the Hunter Axe did not fit my playstyle at all. See, Bloodborne has phenomenal combat. It has delicately crafted animations for the player and enemies so any playstyle can be viable. The problem is the Hunter Axe was a slower, more zoning weapon. It could keep enemies at bay, and was only meant for one or two strikes before recuperating. It was meant to hit hard and infrequently. When it comes to combat in any action game, I am a complete offense lunatic. I have almost no patience, and I just go in on enemies. Now, in Bloodborne, this doesn’t quite work as well, unless you have a quick weapon to complement your playstyle. So I picked the Saw Cleaver, ran with it through the entire game, and I enjoyed it a lot more.

Behold the glory that is the Saw Cleaver

Hitting Things Well

But there’s obviously more to it than a weapon change. Bloodborne, is a phenomenal game, you just have to learn to embrace its oddities. The Dark Souls/Bloodborne series had combat that I was unfamiliar with. I was always of player of Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, quick, responsive, stylish action games. Bloodborne’s combat is different than that. It’s more grittier, it’s more deliberate, and it has much higher risk and reward. I wouldn’t equate the combat to a game of chess, as chess requires you to read a human opponents thoughts, but Bloodborne puts a huge emphasis on understanding enemy movements, and reactions to your movements.

I’m going to try and illustrate a combat scenario to better enhance my point. You could walk in front of a boss, and they could swing at you. So you roll behind, and start swinging at the boss with your Saw Cleaver. However, the bosses in this game are smart, and have a swift retaliation to your swings from the back. So you take some damage from that, and you internalize that knowledge. Now, you can still roll behind and swing, however, you know when to limit yourself. You don’t push yourself too far, take a few swings, dodge the back swipe, and continue an assault on their front. It becomes a sort of ballet between you and your opponent. Unless you have the saw cleaver and then you can just stun lock your opponents without having to think seriously WHY IS THIS WEAPON SO GOOD FOR A STARTING WEAPON.

Another great thing about Bloodborne’s combat is the rally system. See, when you take damage, you don’t immediately lose your life. It becomes life that can be regenerated through attacks. So, to compliment my insanity with the saw cleaver, there was the rally system that encouraged offense. See, I wasn’t a huge fan of Dark Souls’ combat, which again, is probably sacreligious to say. I thought it could be kind of clunky, and it focused on defense too much. The problem isn’t with the game, it was with me. It didn’t suit me, so I didn’t enjoy it. It’s still a great game, just not my flavour. But Bloodborne let you go hard, and go hard frequently. With every swing, there is satisfying feedback. There is usually a large blood splatter, a gushing sound effect, and it makes you want to keep swinging. It makes you want to just hit, hit and hit more. And that is brilliant. Not because I just sounded like a serial killer and if my mom watches this she’ll probably think video game’s are evil, is because that feeling of wanting to keep attacking, and keep swinging at your opponents is relevant to the game’s story. I’ll go more in-depth with this later, but in Bloodborne, you play as a hunter. The biggest duty of a hunter, is to hunt beasts. Hunters become so addicted to killing monsters and beasts, that the line between them and other monsters are blurred. They become so infatuated with the hunt that they turn on their fellow humans. Everything to them is a target. Now this level of insanity doesn’t happen to YOUR character in the game, but the rally system is a fantastic gameplay mechanic that compliments offensive playstyles, but it also reflects the game’s narrative. The game doesn’t make it a point to shove it in your face how clever this system is. It’s very subtle, and it’s one of those things that, as you think about it more, makes the game better. And Bloodborne is full of moments like that. You’ll be walking around in real-life, thinking about whatever, and then Bloodborne crosses your mind. And you start thinking “man, that game is so gratifying and addicting!” But you think about it more. You think about some tiny detail in the game world, and it always enhances your appreciation of the game. Bloodborne is a game that gets better with thought, and I think that’s the mark of something truly special.

(zoom in on health bar when taking hits at the start. Show the rally come back. When discussing combat in dark souls, show darksydephil gameplay of him getting bodied. When talking about hunter bloodlust, show the gascoigne cutscene at the beginning. then just show more gameplay of hitting a lot of stuff.)

You uh, you thought I was done talking about the combat, didn’t you? Nope. Not at all. Combat is Bloodborne’s meat and potatoes, so it gets the most gushing from me. Bloodborne has a lot of weapons, and they all have different movesets and properties. You can have generic swords and axes, but you can also have a sword that splits into two, and an arm of a god as a weapon. There are so many weapons to fit any playstyle, that it’s actually incredible. But what makes the combat so strong, is how simple, yet varied it can all be. Bloodborne doesn’t have the fancy combos of Bayonetta or inputs of Street Fighter. You have a light attack, a charge attack, a dash attack, a jump attack, a heavy attack, and a rolling attack. Most combat is done through hitting R1, R2, or L2. 3 attack buttons. Super simple. However, like Super Smash Bros., the actions of each weapon are different for each button. See, in smash bros., every character has the same inputs the PLAYER has to do, but the result on-screen is different. Bloodborne is just like that. One weapon’s R1 attack could be a horizontal swing, but another’s could be a stab. One prioritizes swing a group of enemies or body parts, while the other emphasizes safety and poking. Two very different necessities all on one button. Once you learn Bloodborne’s controls in an hour, you can use any weapon and use any playstyle. A problem I had with games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, is you get new weapons like halfway through the game, and they have properties and move sets that you need to upgrade and learn, and more often than not, it’s just not viable. You usually end up sticking with your tarting weapon because you feel the most comfortable with that. But Bloodborne’s experimentation is low-cost, because each weapon is viable. You just need to learn how to use it. However, I will say, that Bloodborne is guilty from that upgrading sink problem. If you fully upgrade the Saw Cleaver, you aren’t going to spend your rare upgrade points on something you might end up not using because it doesn’t scale with your stats.

There’s a bunch of other technicalities to gameplay, like builds surrounding specific weapons, stat scaling, but I won’t bore you with the statistics. I just wanted to emphasize how great the core of this game is, before going onto other aspects. So yeah, Bloodborne’s combat? Fantastic.

Gravestone Graphics

Bloodborne is probably the prettiest game I have ever seen. It isn’t just because of its graphical fidelity, but also because of its aesthetic. The Victorian gothic look isn’t something you see very often in games, and the usage of striking, beautiful skies, decrepit architecture, pointed-black fences, and ostentatious colours makes the game an absolute feast for the eyes. Everything is hand-crafted and beautifully put in place. There are visual cues everywhere, and each area is believably inter-connected. I like the choice to set the game in a single city. It makes exploring new areas believable because they are so close and small to one-another. In RPG’s like Final Fantasy 7, I find it hard to believe I can go around the entire world in 1 minute if I keep flying. Bloodborne avoids that problem by containing itself to locations that can be accessed by walking. Yharnam is an intricate city that has been plagued by the hunt. The pompous imagery shows decadence and hedonism, which is fitting for the literary aesthetic this game is going for, and the city of Yharnam itself. Yharnamites are suspicious of outsiders because they have pride. They have pride that their city carries a miracle cure, and that they are better than the rest of the world. So again, like the combat, all of the imagery is world-building and visually striking. It seamlessly hits both categories.

But the real kicker for the visuals, are the gravestones. Seriously, there are so many gravestones. Sometimes they stick into each other, and it’s really weird. Like how does anybody get anywhere in this world when there are gravestones everywhere. Carriages can’t go anywhere, there’s probably mad traffic, it would probably be a nightmare. Oh yeah there’s also a plague that turns people into beasts and makes this town inhabitable anyways so I guess that’s a bigger issue but like, whatever man. Anyways, visuals in Bloodborne are fantastic.

Ambiguitus

So Bloodborne, like the rest of the Souls series, is intentionally vague with its story. You are often given very few direct answers from NPC’s on what exactly is going on, so you the player have to piece the story together through item descriptions, notes strewn around the world, and visual cues. But, again, most of this stuff is super ambiguous. I could be walking around, slicing people up, then I read a note that says:

“Madmen toil surreptitiously in rituals to beckon the moon. Uncover their secrets.”

and I just say to myself “al-alright yeah sure, you’re the boss game, whatever you say.” You can pretty much run through Bloodborne without talking to an NPC or understanding the story. And you might say, well, that sounds weird. Why would you play a game that you can’t even understand? To that I say, have you seen what NPC’s in this game say? When you run up to an NPC who is actually eager to exfoliate details about Yharnam, they’re just as bad as the notes! They say stuff like “AH, THE BLOOD OF THE UNDYING BLOOD HUNTERS SAPPED THE SOUL OF THE GODDESS YHARNAM. THE HAUNTED ASHEN BLOOD TOOK HER SANITY, AND LEFT BEHIND DECREPIT RUINS. HE HE HE HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH” And again, to that I say, “alright”.

This ambiguity is another reason I just gave up on the game on my first go. I had no idea what was going on, and it felt like the game expected me to have it all figured out. I was confused and frustrated with the lack of answers, and I wanted a reason for all this hunting and killing…and THAT is what Bloodborne WANTS you to feel.

Bloodborne wants you to be confused about the world. I mean, why wouldn’t you be? You get thrown into this hunt as a hunter against your will, and now you have to kill a bunch of humans and monsters because the world tells you to? Who wouldn’t be confused by that? Couple that with the fact that, oh, spoilers by the way, there are apparently cosmic gods roaming and lurking in the world and nobody can notice them unless they are woke enough? Yeah, i’d be confused as well. But it’s only through player exploration and note reading that some answers become known. The player has to go out of their way to gain insight into the world. Knowing more doesn’t change the outcome of the game, but it does change your perspective on everything. Lines of dialogue gain new meaning, and the world looks more terrifying than it already did initially. The more woke you are, the more interesting, and terrifying your experience becomes. It heightens the game, but also makes you more crazy for thinking about it. Which leads me into the last point:

Horror

Usually action games aren’t scary. They employ scary looking creatures, but you can always crush them with some ridiculous weapon. They aren’t generally a threat. The monsters in Bloodborne are similar to this, but Bloodborne strikes a particular horror. Cosmic horror. The fear of the unknown. The fear of actually knowing the truth to the world. The phrase, ignorance is bliss, applies very heavily to Bloodborne. The more you know about these gods and their control over the world, and how ultimately futile your actions are to combat them ruining humanity, that’s scary. You can run through, chop enemies up, and then just beat the game and go “huh, that was alright I guess. I had fun and it was satisfying to crush all of those hard bosses”. But looking at Bloodborne with a critical eye, allowing yourself to become enveloped in its atmosphere and world are its greatest strengths. Bloodborne isn’t scary because of big spoopy monsters. Bloodborne is scary because of how powerless you are to truly stop anything. Despite your adventures, despite you uncovering so much of the world and progressing as a hunter, it’s ultimately meaningless. You’re a pawn in a bigger operation, and you can never be more than that. Unless you get the secret ending and become a god but that’s besides the point.

Conclusion

So Bloodborne went from one of my most frustrating experiences to one of the best i’ve had in years. I learned to take it slowly, and absorb every detail. I learned my playstyle, and found weapons that complimented it. I took in the imagery, and played more patiently and smart. I enjoyed it so much more. I haven’t had this big of a 180 on a game ever, and, if you haven’t seen the millions of other people recommending this game, it’s got my seal of approval. Because my seal of approval totally matters, right guys?

Thanks so much for watching this video guys, I hope I was able to show why this game is one of my favourite’s in recent memory and why it was my first platinum. If you enjoyed this review, please subscribe, I make content about video games that’s analysis, reviews, and editorials. My channel is centered solely on video games, and even though I’ve only gained 20 subscribers in 2 weeks, seeing that kind of growth and support on my content just warms my heart. To see this channel grow and become something large would be a dream come true. Thanks again so much, and you viewers mean the world to me. Have a fantastic day.

Wendy’s, you guys have a problem.

There’s an epidemic going on. I’m sure if you’ve been on the internet in the last few weeks, you’ve noticed it too. It doesn’t take a savvy eye to notice the tricks that the world is playing on us. I am of course talking about Wendy’s usage of the may may’s in an attempt to promote their business. And it needs to stop.

NOTE: I am fully aware, that my post is sure to attract more attention to this issue, and I realize the best course of action to actually quell this is to not talk about it. Making fun on Wendy’s won’t make them stop, it will encourage them to continue. This is all in good fun and I don’t actually care. Yes, I am a hypocrite.

Wendy’s is attempting to capitalize on internet culture to promote their business. And I don’t blame them. However, when using memes, you have to be subtle, or else it comes across as too 55-year-old-big-bang-theory-ish. Wendy’s can kind of do this. Their Twitter is pretty good, and as soon as you comment memes, especially current hot memes like Overwatch and Pepes, you get plenty of exposure from Facebook posts going “DID THEY JUST” or “WHO MADE THIS?” Twitter’s retweet function also guarantees plenty of exposure, because believe it or not, Twitter memes are hot. This could also potentially lead to the ratchet Twitter community posting about this, which could then learn to subreddits like r/blackpeopletwitter, and then it just spreads like wildfire. More exposure means more shares and retweets. Take a look at this heartfelt article posted by the Wendy’s twitter:

It’s touching, right? A fast food restaurant that gave food to homeless people before they were about to close down? They even through in a “youth movement” buzzword to attract the attention of more people and make this even more positive. I’m a firm believer in Volunteering leading to positive contributions in adolescents and teenagers, so this image really puts a smile on my face. It got a few hundred favourites, and almost a hundred retweets. That’s awesome.

Now look at this:

This is a video of CNN discussing hard-hitting facts. Wendy’s Twitter beef with a customer. This has 2600 favourites and 1100 retweets. Furthermore, this wasn’t even posted by Wendy’s. This was re-tweeted by them, so they spread it to an even wider audience of 1.22M followers. The memes have overtaken acts of kindness. And yes, I am fully aware that the example I used previously is propaganda for a company that slaughters countless animals and probably a lot of other junk, but still, it is a positive, tangible change.

What started this initial Twitter craze was Wendy’s beef with a customer on Twitter. Now, I am going to be quoting a scientifically reviewed website, knowyourmeme.com for this issue. A Twitter user by the name of “Thuggy-D” questioned Wendy’s claim to fame; Their never frozen food. He scathingly, and I mean savagely, there were no survivors, said this to Wendy’s: “your beef is frozen and we all know it. Y’all know we laugh at your slogan “fresh, never frozen” right? Like you’re really a joke.”

And after some back and forth, Wendy’s coyly mentioned “there are other places to store beef than a freezer”. Which leads to the most savage insult in history that shook up the world for approximately 2 seconds: “You don’t have to bring them ibto this just because you forgot refrigerators existed for a second there.”

Boom. Done. Everybody just dead. According to Knowyourmeme, this tweet got, and I quote: ” nearly 62,000 retweets and 153,000 likes.” Now think about this from Wendy’s perspective. You are a fast-food burger chain who plays second-fiddle to McDonalds. Wendy’s was never as popular McDonalds, and according to revenue statistics from Food Drink & Franchise, Wendy’s is the fourth most Profitable fast-food restaurant in America, with McDonalds in first by a comparative landslide. So imagine you’re the Wendy’s Twitter, and for the first time, you got this ridiculous exposure for roasting a customer on Twitter. You get exposure and positive feedback from, let’s be honest, insulting a customer. What do you do? Do you return to being the generic, stoic business that remains profitable, but not as profitable as desired? Or do you capitalize on this opportunity to gain more exposure on the internet and drive more customers to your product? People are already heuristically intrigued by positive and visually appealing imagery, why not pursue this light, campy persona? And they did. Oh god, did they pursue the memes.

People wanted to be roasted by Wendy’s, I guess for more exposure to themselves but because there was a crack shown in a business that was once stoic. But i’m not going to lie, some of these are hilarious. Here’s a compilation if you want to see their best roasts, but my personal favourite is a girl named Mika asking Wendy’s where the nearest McDonalds is, and their response being this:

That got 13000 retweets. That’s amazing. It showed that Wendy’s had some brevity and could be open to its customers.

So, if that’s all harmless fun, what’s the issue? They just post memes and roasts to people, right? Well there are a few problems with that. The first is that Wendy’s pursuing memes is nothing new. They have been attempting to capitalize on Internet culture for the past few years, and they have been failing miserably at it.

Try to watch this video and see if you don’t curl up in shame. The Memer, was their first bit of advertisement that attempted to utilize memes to promote their business, but it failed to understand internet culture. Firstly, this was an outdated meme. It used outdated meme text, and it was a joke that didn’t make any sense. They add “like a boss” at the end of it, which was also 3 years past its expiration date. Now, there is a difference between “real life time” and “internet time”. 3 years in real life time doesn’t sound like a whole lot of time. But, 3 years in internet time is over a decade. Trends go so fast on the internet, that if you attempt to utilize memes, your advertisement will swiftly become dated within a few months. Memes die very quickly. The memes that shine the brightest in popularity snuff out that light the quickest. It’s why you don’t see Rage Comics anymore. They were overutilized and over saturated on the meme market to the point where the mere presence of them ticked people off. So this show’s Wendy’s laggard mentality when it comes to internet culture for their Television advertisements. And that is a problem. Tweets are one thing, but Television ads have much more staying power, and can be repeated to viewers much more frequently. TV ads also have much more visual stimuli and memorable imagery for the viewer. Note how Wendy’s uses the colour “red” a lot. Red, in North American Culture, signifies passion and fire. Red is a striking colour, and Wendy’s wants to get your attention with their advertisment. Making an actually well-calculated meme on Twitter is fine, because Tweets in general become irrelevant over time. Nobody remembers a Tweet about a deal on a burger 2 months after it’s made. People have way too much stuff in their life to possibly remember that. People will move onto the next trend or the next thing that catches their attention. And hey, I guess “The Memer” resonated with me after I first saw it, so I suppose it did its job. But it didn’t make me want to go to Wendy’s. It made me want to make a video making fun of Wendy’s. This ad doesn’t make the Spicy Chicken burger look appealing. The memory of “The Memer” will be constantly associated with it, rather than some positive filipino-kid-ukelele that usually plays during FIFA pack openings.

The second problem with this ad is just how forced it is. Like they’re talking about how dope this spicy chicken sandwich is, and then Wendy’s lady just goes “just ask the memer his opinion”. Like it comes out of left field and has no subtlety whatsoever. That’s another big problem, this meme is right in your face and has absolutely nothing to do with the product. A joke becomes unfunny and sticks out if it has nothing to do with the content at hand. It’s why a lot of Family Guy’s cutaway gags fail, because they are completely unrelated to the plot of the episode. The presence of The Memer is such pandering to internet culture, that they’re going to get ridiculed. Memes are stupid, they’re idiotic, but I love them. A lot of people love them. You can’t possibly escape their “XD so relate” qualities. They are dumb, relatble jokes at this current point, and they are the ultimate inside joke. They have become synonymous with the word “joke” at this point. When I scroll through my fb feed, I see garbage. But I expect garbage. I expect political garbage, I expect targeted ads, I expect propaganda, I expect cheese-filled cooking videos, I expect garbage memes. It has become so engrained in the internet browsing experience, that them popping up out of nowhere is business as usual. A meme popping up in an advertisment about a burger, from a company that is usually calculated and deliberate with their advertisements is textbook pandering, and the consumers of internet culture know it. We all know it’s uncomfortable and forced and just does not work…

So they did it again in December of 2016. One month before writing this, Wendy’s did the exact same thing again. They repeated the same formula as The Memer. Talk about how good their burger is, shove in an unrelated meme that, hey, is hot at the time. At least there was some improvement. It’s notable that this occured right after The Twitter roasts and Wendy’s posting pictures of Pepe’s. They saw that memes could be profitable, but didn’t understand why it worked on Twitter. See, it was fine on Twitter because Twitter businesses are uber serious and to the point. It’s pretty much used just for advertisements. Once they break that mold, all hell breaks loose. But again, this ad is low budget and isn’t even very appealing. Like, it just looks like it was cobbled together in a few hours and done on a single take, and they just went with it. Hell, I could do a better ad than this. The acting is terrible the Bee Movie meme is ham-fisted, and guess what? Everybody hates this ad. And there are also these, awkward, terrible giant lips on the bees, it’s just horribly unfunny, and I can’t even tell what the product is advertising. It’s garbage.

So, this leads me to the penultimate point: Wendy’s the memes need to stop. The usage of memes in advertisements detracts from their entire point, and nobody finds them appealing. People don’t like to see memes in places they don’t expect them. Your Twitter memes were a surprise, but that’s Twitter, which is loaded with Memes. A completely forced Bee Movie joke, and the Memer are horrible and don’t encourage people to buy your product. Memes are fads. They come and go, and are completely forgotten. And I understand if you want to use memes to make a terrible ad that makes the ad memorable. Yes, people remember the ad, but they don’t remember it for YOUR product. They remember it because of your misunderstanding of internet culture. The memes date your ad and make them uncomfortable. When A&W tried to do it, it was terrible. But they ACTUALLY realized there was a problem with it, and took their product seriously. They know they’re lame and they make fun of themselves for it. They use jokes that don’t rely on people to know a reference. A reference is NOT A JOKE. A reference is a reference. Memes are essentially inside jokes at this point. By focusing the ad on an inside joke, you repel the audience you are trying to pander to, and ostracize potential buyers.

But that’s the end of my pointless rant. I understand that this video brings awareness to their memes, and I know this issue is ultimately pointless, but I hope that, by the off-chance you’re watching this Wendy’s, please stop using memes and take yourself seriously. people will respect you a lot more for that.

 

So Valve Released their Steam Awards for 2016. They’re dumb. But everybody probably knows this just by looking at the categories. I’m going to go through each category 1-by-1, give my thoughts on the winner, whether they deserved it or not, and probably compare it to the other nominees. Also note that Video Game Awards are completely pointless. You can like a game without feeling the need to validate it through some arbitrary award.

Keep in mind that these awards are COMMUNITY VOTED (whichmeansthey’reapopularitycontestandnotindicitiveofwhowouldactuallywin) But remember, much like my opinions on these awards, that fact is completely pointless. These awards are written to draw out the “rawr so random and dark XD” crowd and it showed. Anyways, onto the opinions.

AWARD #1: Villain Most in Need of A Hug

Winner: Portal 2

 

Portal 2 is a fairly strong choice. I know of the villains in Farcry 3 and 4 and they don’t need a hug. They’re just coo-coo crazy. Borderlands 2’s antagonist would also be fitting, due to him being ostracized by his friends and you kind of killing his wife, but a hug for Wheatley in Portal 2 would be fitting. Dude’s got like no friends and nobody thinks he’s cool. I think you’re cool, Wheatley. I see a lot of myself in Wheatley. Round, eager to help, blue core powering my bodily functions, fat as fu-

Good old Wheatley

AWARD #2: The “I thought this was cool before it got an award…(put in waif hipster bullshit) award:

Winner: Euro Truck Simulator

I am not German. I have never visited Germany, and I have no family roots there. This lack of German blood within me is why I am indifferent to Euro Truck Simulator 2. I can understand why this game won this award. Stardew Valley got attention from a lot of reviewers singing the praises of it, myself included, moreso than the let’s playing community. Unturned got a lot of attention because of its superficial resemblance to Minecraft, and it was released when Minecraft was hot with mostly adults and not children. Paladins is a game that exists. Starbound is similar to Terraria, and while I haven’t played it myself, it has a very dedicated developer and a very strong base game in there. But I believe Euro Truck Simulator 2 deserves this award because it was always slightly popular, but not to an extreme end. But, with word of mouth and a very dedicated fanbase, Euro Truck Simulator 2 game was able to sell 3.5 million copies on Steam. I mean, when I heard that people liked the game, I thought they were just being ironic. I assumed that you had GTA to excercise the fantasy of not driving properly, so why would people want a game that’s just like an everyday job? I hate transit, I wouldn’t want to play Bus Simulator 2017. Who would want to play a Bus Simulator? My favourite part about Bus Simulator, is the construction workers with beer who walk in the front of the bus without paying and the bus driver goes “ah hey dude: and slightly raises his hand and then just decides “ah you know what I don’t get paid enough”…doesn’t that sound entertaining? But as I saw more YouTubers discuss this and talk about how great of a game it is, and how much an accurate simulation it is, I sort of understood a bit more. Driving terrifies me in real life. I get really worried when somebody hits the breaks hard or i’m close to a car. Driving just makes me uncomfortable, and it probably does that for others as well. So I understand if people want to zone out and simulate what truck deliveries are like. I applaud this game for taking an innocuous task and transforming it into a game that, hey, all of Germany loves, so who am I to judge? Germany is an amazing nation when it comes to football. Where does Canada Rank? Oh no. Ooooh nooo that’s, uh, a-anyways well done Euro Truck Simulator!

(play footage of Euro Truck Simulator. Show image for when each game comes up.)

Award #3: Test of Time

Winner: Skyrim

*drink from water bottle* Alright, let’s get into this. Skyrim is the worst possible winner out of these three. Remember when I said earlier that community voting is essentially a popularity vote? That shows very heavily with this entry. But, let me compare Skyrim to the other candidates and maybe you’ll see why I hold so much disdain. Team Fortress 2 was released in 2007 and still has an incredibly large and dedicated fanbase on Steam. The game regularly has at least 45000 people playing it, and despite Valve’s lack of care for this game, it has a community that will always be around. Being free also helps. Skyrim was released in 2011. Using some hardcore calculations, Skyrim has been around for 4 less years than TF2 with a much smaller playerbase. Keep in mind, the Skyrim remaster also released a few months ago, so buzz for this game is very fresh. In fact, during the Winter Sale, clicking on this version of Skyrim linked to the Remaster, and not the original. Take that for what you will. I’m not insinuating that this is a conspiracy, because I doubt Bethesda needs advertisement for one of the best-selling video games ever, and I seriously doubt they need the Meme Awards to boost sales. I would also argue that Skyrim, without mods, is still a good game, but one that is definitely dated. The combat in Skyrim is weightless and flimsy, and every quest feels very boring. Everything in the game is a fetch quest where you fight the same enemies in the same caves, and then a Nord comes up to you and goes “MHEET ME IN HIGH HHHROTHGAR WEETH THA OOLFRIC STORMCLOKE”, and I don’t want to do that. The visuals get uglier every year with its, paper mache rocks, its playdoh faces, and its two-dimensional grass and fire. But at least the water looks nice! Skyrim, to use a metaphor that makes me sound much deeper than I actually am, is an inch-deep ocean, if you know what I mean. I understand that it is a Single-player game, and obviously a multiplayer game like TF2 will have more players. But, 4 years in the games industry is an incredibly long time. For TF2 to still be relevant for almost 10 years now is amazing to me. Furthermore, I believe that the core game to the other 4 games are much stronger than Skyrim’s. Civilization 5 has one of the most dedicated and loyal communities for any game. Civilization 5 came out in 2010, which is a full year before Skyrim. And like Skyrim, it is a heavily moddable, single-player only game that, according to Steam stats, has a consistently higher playbase than Skyrim’s. Civ 5 remains not only because of a strong modding community, but because the game is so in-depth that people’s play times can EASILY reach 1000 hours with them still seeing new outcomes. The mods for Civ mean that the potential of the game is endless, and therefore, a much stronger test of time than Skyrim. Terraria, too, I think, is a game with a lot of depth and fun to be had. Despite it being in my Steam library for 4 years, i can still return to it. I can play with friends, and a procedurally generated world and constant updates from the developer means that there is always something new to see in a new world. The content is limitless. However, Age of Empires 2, is a game that released – okay are you ready for this – in 1999. That was before the new millennium. That game STILL has thousands of players to this day. It is regarded as one of the best PC games ever created, up there with Fallout 1 and 2 and Planescape: Torment. This EASILY should have crushed Skyrim, but again, this is a popularity contest. *deep breath* okay, rant is over. Onto the next award.

(black screen at beginning. Roll skyrim footage. TF2 footage. Terraria Footage. Footage for all games as they get mentioned. When bringing up Steam stats, show images of that.

Award #4: Just 5 More Minutes

Winner: Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ALRIGHT, NEVERMIND, LET THE RANTS CONTINUE. If this award were to be taken literally, then it should have been renamed to 45 more minutes because CS:GO matches last a century. I have 25 hours on that game and I don’t feel like I’ve even played much of it. I personally don’t think it is very addictive and I think the other candidates are more worthy. It feels like Valve created these awards just specifically for certain games. I know this title just means “Most addictive game”, but still, CS:GO does not fit this description. This award was made pretty much for Civilization to win it. The “just one more turn” mentality has never been more prevalent for a game than in Civilization. It is so easy to lose hours getting sucked into every turn, because something is ALWAYS happening in that game. I would even put Fallout 4 before CS:GO. Fallout 4, although not my favourite game, is built around addiction. The player is always getting new guns or loot, always making some sort of progress, always getting stronger into some sort of demigod. The player is always progressing. Because of that, awards are small, but incredibly gratifying and frequent. I would still put it below Civ 6, but I would put it above CS:GO. Terraria is crack, man. This game is so addictive, and it is a harmful drug. I’m honestly surprised one of the Clicker Heroes games didn’t make it on this list. Terraria is a game that is so easy to lose your mind in and have 5 hours of your day sapped away. Just, 5 hours, gone, like that. Precious time lost to mining. And mining. And mining. And hating yourse-. Rocket League I wouldn’t reeeaallly call addictive. I know matches are literally 5 minutes long, but I get why people get sucked in. It is a fun game, even if it was made by sentient gods to pit us foolish humans against one another to find out which is the most intelligent and superior. Seriously, if you’re good at Rocket League, then you have ascended mankind. But yeah, CS:GO? Not a strong winner.

(show gameplay of cs:go. show images of other games. show text for text in quotes.)

Award #5: Whooooaaa, Dude!

Winner: GTA V

This award title is very vague. It refers to a game that “blew you away” and it could be for a myriad of reasons. I think GTA V is a game that encompasses many different qualities such as excellent presentation, gameplay, and activities. I get why it won. It probably has to do with the level of polish for each part of its massive open world. Buuuuut if that’s the case, I personally would have put Witcher 3 there instead. Witcher 3’s world is full of beautiful imagery that’s prettier than real life, and even throwaway side quests have minutes worth of world and story-building cutscenes. But looking at the other candidates, it appears presentation and graphical fidelity are what people favoured for this award. But, as it is, I think this is a good call by the Steam community. The award is vague, but if I were to play GTA V, I think I might say “woah, this is certainly overwhelming, fellow male homosapien”

(show gameplay of gta v, then witcher cutscnee when it pops up. text for quotations.)

Award #6: Game Within a Game

Winner: GTA V

Alright calm down GTA V, let’s not take all of these awards. Personally, I feel that GTA V is sliiiightly cheating. I know these awards are arbitrary, but GTA V is full of multiple mini-games, and the description calls for the best SINGULAR mini-game in a game. In which, out of all of these, I would probably give to The Witcher 3’s gwent, which was good enough to get its own standalone game. Tabletop simulator is a bunch of card games within a video game, so, that would be a good candidate too. But, can that even qualify? Because without its mini-games, then what is it? Tabletop Simulator NEEDS those mini-games to function as a whole game, seeing the forest for the trees and all that. And, same with Garry’s mod. Garry’s mod is a toolkit, not a game, really. It is a form of expression and creativity. I guess for Stanley Parable they are referring to the red button mini-game within it which is a solid “rawr XD so teh random” pick, but could it be referring to its metanarrative? Stanley Parable has a story that is concerned with talking about the illusion of choice within games, so instead of that meme game, could it be referring to its artistic vision and purpose? Could Stanley Parable’s inclusion be more than just a meme, for these meme-baiting awards? Could the Stanley Parable community be that strong to overpower memes? Nah, probably not. Other than The Witcher 3, these picks are kind of odd. But, ah well, GTA V won another award. The tsunami that is GTA V steals another award even 3 years after it came out.

(show gta v footage. Show awkward gwent game picture when it pops up. Then Stanley Parable. Zoom in on it during.)

Award #7: I’m Not Crying, There’s Something in my Eye

Winner: The Walking Dead Season #1

Prepare to see my masculinity break down. I feel that this is a very solid pick. The first Walking Dead season was a game that understood how to do emotional storytelling very well. It knew how to have hope within a hopeless world, and not be incredibly drab all the time. That’s why when serious character deaths do occur, they hit very hard. The writing for The Walking Dead was very well done and believable as well, and the game captivated a lot of people’s attention in 2012, which was admittedly a pretty weak year for video games. It’s why Life is Strange’s heavy hitting moments didn’t really work as well for me. I wasn’t able to really relate to the characters or their drama, because of its awkward and unrealistic dialogue, so it didn’t put a tear in my eye. I never played This War of Mine but it has “da ludonarrative dissonance”. Undertale is also up there in terms of really emotionally powerful moments. Honestly, for me, these are all REALLY strong candidates. Undertale had sad moments strewn throughout, but nothing that really made me cry. To the Moon is a very short and very powerful game, but I never finished it. So between Undertale and The Walking Dead, it’s hard, but I think I will give it to The Walking Dead. For a game that put Telltale on the map as the “storytelling game company”, this is a very strong game that has a great emotional core. If you somehow haven’t had Undertale or The Walking Dead spoiled for you, they have my strong recommendation. Because my recommendation totally matters, look how authoritative I am. In fact, if you like great stories in games, I would highly recommend all 5 of these games. These are all phenomenal in their own right, but they strike that raw emotional chord harder than most. If you’re up for smiles and tears, then these will all resonate with you strongly. They did for me.

(gameplay of the walking dead. zoom in my subscriber count and scroll down rankings of top-rated Youtube channels)

Award #8: Best Use of a Farm Animal

Winner: Goat Simulator

*slow zoom on footage for 10 seconds of Goat Simulator* ecks dee. Ecks dee, everyone, Ecks dee.

Award #9: Boom Boom

Winner: DOOM

The dude bro category. Again, all of these games are strong candidates, but I would judge them on these three explosion factors: Size of the explosion, Amount of explosions, and visuals of the explosion. With these three categories, let’s rank these games using this criteria. Oh Yeah, we’re doing a list within a list about a list of game awards. Confused yet? Good.

5th Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Amount of Explosions: 1/5

Visuals of Explosion 1/5

Size of Explosion 5/5

*read this all in pegasus voice*

Total amount of explosions here are lacking. I suppose it is good to do one thing really well rather than a bunch of small things poorly. The big boom if you cannot defuse the bomb is indeed an explosion…but there are just too few to truly win the highly coveted “Boom Boom” award.

4th: Kerbal Space Program

Amount of Explosions: 3/5

Visuals of Explosion 3/5

Size of Explosion 2/5

The explosions are a consequence, or an intentional result, of the player being stupid. The player can blow up their spacecraft if it is constructed poorly, Thus, these categories are all up to the player. This is truly grand choice in video game design, and example of the power of narrative through video games. The player themselves, constructs their story using the tools provided by the developer. Ah! High Art!

3rd: Just Cause 3

Amount of Explosions: 3/5

Visuals of Explosion 5/5

Size of Explosion 3/5

Just Cause 3 is a pretty game with lots of big booms. The big booms, are, again, indicitive of the player’s consequences. “Shoot the rocket launcher, or not?” The choices are endless.

(show text for that one)

2nd: Broforce

Amount of Explosions: 5/5

Visuals of Explosion 2/5

Size of Explosion 5/5

Although pixelated, this game is absolutely ridiculous. The amount of explosions, and how large they are, despite their consistent amount is absolutely staggering. Me and my “brothers” are sure to “force” our way to completion

(show footage of an IGN review popping in as I make terrible puns)

1st: Doom

Amount of Explosions: 4/5

Visuals of Explosion 5/5

Size of Explosion 4/5

Ah… a worthy choice from a worthy community. DOOM marks a lot of things for the game’s industry. It shows that single player first-person shooters can still be strong, and it shows just how amazing explosions of guts and bombs and truly be. It is an expression of the art that is the videographic gaming medium.

(show gameplay for each game. Over this, make footage black and white. And play the orchestra song.)

Award #10: Love/Hate Relationship

Winner: Dark Souls 3

I think as soon as the Dark Souls community saw this option, they all banded together with their incredibly vague praise and xenophobic vitriol to nominate Dark Souls as the winner. And it worked. I mean, the only other game I feel meets this level of Love/Hate is Super Meat Boy. I get incredibly frustrated with my hundreds of death’s per level in Meat Boy, but I always come back. Since respawns are instant in that game, dying only really sends you back 10 seconds, as opposed to the minutes of Progress in Dark Souls 3. Plus, In any Souls game, if I lose my souls because I die, and there were like 5 levels worth of experience in there, I get so mad and put the game down for a few hours and get it back in like 3 minutes since it’s not that hard to farm. While I personally feel Meat Boy fits this category more, I can definitely understand why Dark Souls 3 won this award. The other games i’m indifferent towards. I hear Dota 2 has a steep learning curve, but I hate MOBA’s and 100 hour long matches, so I will abstain from providing my verdict. Either way, award made for Dark Souls and its scary fanbase.

(gameplay of Dark Souls 3, and pictures of the other game. Text clarifying what I mean by that praise, saying like “stuff like: I can’t tell you what’s in it, you have to play to find out” And then say although, the Undertale community does that as well, and that’s one of my favourite games ever)

Award # 11: Sit Back and Relax

Winner: Euro Truck Simulator 2

2 Euro Trucks, 2 awards. Was there even ever a Euro Truck Simulator 1? I get why this game won the award. Take away the risk of property damage, death, serious damage to physical and mental state, the rammifications of taking another person’s life in a car crash, and gas money, and you’ve got a really relaxing game. You drive over landscapes of real places and deliver packages. That’s the whole game. If you have a stressful day and need to forget your worries, I get why this game won.

Award # 12: Better With Friends

Winner: Left 4 Dead 2

The last award, the last of the highly coveted Steam Awards. And it is a fitting pick. Though, what in the world is “Golf with Your Friends”? Who thought that title was good? Do you think like, during the months of development for that game, the creators didn’t at once think about the name? Left 4 Dead is called that because there are 4 players to play as. And this game is definitely one that benefits from the inclusion of multiple people. Left 4 Dead 2 on your own is a frustrating slog. The AI is terrible, let’s be honest. So playing with friends is essential. I feel like Left 4 Dead is the essential pick-up-and play game. Like, without any tutorial or explanation, you can figure it out. You have a gun, and you shoot it. I feel it’s a great co-op game because of this. Shoot the zombies and don’t get hit because when you do, staples are injected into your feet and you can’t move anymore.


So there are all of the Steam Awards. Were they pointless? Yeah. Were they rigged by Valve to sell even more copies of Left 4 Dead for the last award? Probably not because everybody and their mother owns Left 4 Dead 2. Did I go too hard on Skyrim? Probably. But hey, my opinions are completely pointless like these awards, so, have a great day everybody and please subscribe if you enjoyed. I really appreciate it.

Public Service Announcement: Valve does not care about Team Fortress 2.

Team Fortress 2 is probably in my Top 5 favourite games ever. It is the video game that I have the highest number of hours put into at 788. I have spent over a month of real life hours on this game over the last 5 years. I have met great friends, I have had incredible fun with this game, and this game is my most reliable source for pure entertainment. I can always go back to TF2, and in some way, it always provides me with enjoyment. So it pains me to see Valve completely disregard this game’s capabilities and misunderstand the player base.

Team Fortress 2, as a game, is incredibly well-designed. Well, the older maps are generally. But we’ll get to the inconsistencies later. This video was sparked by Funke’s YouTube video, which detailed the poor and broken tutorial in TF2, and Valve’s inability to accomodate newer players. Now I am not saying that TF2 should dumb itself down to pander to newer players, but newer players are the bloodline for TF2 at this point. Since the game is free-to-play, there is pretty much no repercussions for a player just picking it up and playing. Anybody who picks the game up has access to every class. It then turns into a game of skill and teamwork, playing off of other classes strengths and exploiting opponents weaknesses. It becomes a game of understanding the opposing team’s composition and how to best counter that. It becomes a game of skilled movement and map awareness. It becomes a game of skill that is really easy to pick up, but difficult to master. It is a beautiful game, one of the, if not THE best first person shooters ever. And it’s free! But all this praise begs the question: why doesn’t Valve care? Shouldn’t they care? It’s one of their few games on the market. TF2, Dota 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are consistently the top 3 most played games on Steam. Why doesn’t Valve care about newer players? Is it because the other two aforementioned games have massive e-sports scenes and much larger player bases? What is killing TF2? Valve is.

TF2 streams have pathetic numbers

You could say “bu-bu-but Overwatch killed it!” Well, in a way, it did. Many team-based shooters attempted to duke it out with TF2 like Monday Night Combat and Microvolts, yet they were plagued by microtransactions and shallow gameplay. Overwatch was the first class-based shooter that had a prominent developer in Blizzard that could directly challenge Team Fortress 2. But, Overwatch didn’t kill TF2’s player numbers. According to the steam stats for Team Fortress 2, there was a slight decrease in 2016, but nothing incredibly major. The decrease happened in January, rather than May, which was when Overwatch came out. This is likely due to there being an annual Halloween and Christmas update, which ticks the average playbase in TF2 up every year. The average player base has fluctuated by hundreds, but it has remained relatively consistent at 40000 daily average players at once. And, for a game that’s nearly 10 years old that hardly gets any updates other than cosmetics, that is incredibly impressive. Even 2016 games like Battleborn have player bases that are lucky to scratch 1000 players a day, so these numbers are phenomenal. Which just begs the question, why doesn’t Valve support this game as much? It’s free to play, and there is a huge market to be found in its items. Heck, even I’m guilty of spending a Steam card on tf2 for hats. I’ve done it, and since anybody can access Team Fortress 2, there is a huge market there. It means more money for Valve. I know i’m probably grossly oversimplifying this and there is probably a lot more behind-the-scenes knowledge that I have no idea about, but i’m just saying, that some advertisement and more frequent patches than one every 4 months would be great. Team Fortress 2 has pumped more money for Valve than I will ever make in my life, so they obviously have something figured out. I mean, if you look at Steam’s recently released Revenue statistics, Team Fortress 2 is still high up there. People still spend money on this game, they still buy keys, and they still buy cosmetics. Valve is still making a lot of money off of this, so why don’t they go even further?

TF2’s strong revenue

There is still quite a bit of loyalty within this fanbase to pursue. Everybody loves the Source Film Maker movies, so why not get more of those? Those always strum up attention for a big update, which leads to more key and hat sales and unique boxes to open. I probably sound like a lunatic and this is all probably much more difficult than it actually sounds, but Valve doesn’t need to even do much to boost profits from TF2. If others do think like me, then they’ll buy a key or a hat when it’s on sale because they LOVE the game. They feel that the developer has given them a lot of support. I mean, look at what Blizzard did for Christmas. They gave everybody 5 free loot boxes as a thanks, because they know people LOVE these things. Myself included. Loyalty and acts of kindness like that to a player base go a long way. People buy loot boxes not just for dank skins, but because there is a level of trust and respect between consumer and seller. Blizzard’s actions guarantee consumer respect and loyalty. They are constantly updating and diligently patching bugs in the game. When something needs to be polished, Blizzard is always there to do it. I know this sounds like Fanboying, but Overwatch is really the only Blizzard game i’ve gotten into, and I know how scummy their Diablo 3 launch fiasco, their neglect and misunderstanding of World of Warcraft and their shutting down of the Nostalrius Private server, and Hearthstone and Overwatch microtransaction antics can be. They aren’t perfect, not in the slightest. I despise when a game makes you pay for it, but also includes microtransactions. I love the lootbox in overwatch, I also hate it because developers use it as an excuse for even scummier practices *cough cough* Infinite Warfare, but that’s another topic for another video.

The infamous error 37 of Diablo 3
TF2’s prevalent bugs

But, if the player base for TF2 is consistently strong, what’s the big issue? Valve doesn’t need to support this game more, right? Well, knowing what I do about Team Fortress and its content creators, they have been dwindling. TF2 was powered a lot by its big Youtubers. They had creative ideas and playstyles and showcased mods and weapon models. It allowed people to edit in-game appearances and customize the game to their liking. It started with STAR_ not caring much for the game anymore, which led to Jerma985 posting less TF2 content, which led to Muselk posting less, and the big figureheads were dwindling. Garry’s Mod and Source Film Maker videos are losing views. I know this comparison i’m about to make is a weak one, but please bear with me. As of writing this, the view count for “Practical Problems” sits at 7.8 million views over the course of 4 years. Source Film Maker videos are lucky to crack 1 million in a year anymore, as it peaked in popularity 2 years ago. The software itself is still used and is very intuitive, but the TF2 content creators are petering out. And, it’s not their fault. These people can only be entertained by a game for so long and make content about it before it gets stale. That’s a limitation of any game.

Discrepency between Source Film Maker views

I personally got burnt out by the game. After hitting the 600 hour mark, I felt that I had done all I could. I stopped in around late 2014, which was also when I noticed people stopped going on the custom map servers. I dabbled in a few Brony servers, some Mario Kart servers, and I scuzzed my way through some idle servers, and there were generally cool people there. One of the biggest appeals about Team Fortress 2 was its casual, laid-back nature. You could hop into a standard game and have a serious match, but you also had the option to mess around. My personal favourite was a Warioware server, where each player would have to do a series of microgames until they won the highest amount of rounds. For some reason, however, I stopped seeing these servers mid-2014. I would only be able to play on Valve servers, because the joke servers around my area never played them anymore. Again, this isn’t really a fault with Valve, moreso with myself and why I stopped. I can only play Badwater and Upward so much before I eventually get sick of them. Just joking, Upward will never get old, even with 100+ hours on it.

Brony servers are serious business, man.

To emphasize Valve’s lack of care, there are still bugs in the game that were discovered 5 years ago. They just take forever to patch them out, which is a huge problem, because Valve rolled competitive matchmaking around when Overwatch released, with this “eh, whatever” mentality still present. But it feels like Valve jumped the gun with the update and changed too much to the core game. In my opinion, the best part about TF2, was to pull up a list of servers, see what fits, and join. You could try and get as many kills as possible, test out different weapons and loadouts, or just meme around. There was so much freedom and so much custom content from a dedicated community. Then Valve struck. And changed everything. In May of 2016, you could only choose a quickplay option, and the joke servers were pretty much gone. TF2 tried to become Overwatch, and, despite millions of YouTube videos asking the question, No, they are NOT the same game. Not at all. Playing a match of each game is all it takes to show how different they are. The biggest difference between the two games is the pace of every match. In Overwatch, even quickplay is hyper competitive. Blizzard is very anal about players being AFK and kick you if you stand still for like 10 seconds. Your attention HAS to be on the match in Overwatch, and there is little room for joking. All of their maps are asymmetrical and linear, and the game emphasizes team fights so much, that it is very difficult to wreck shop on your own. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Overwatch wants to be serious with its competitive nature, and they want their maps and gameplay to reflect that. I am perfectly okay with that. In Team Fortress 2, however, there is a lot of time spent walking. Team limits can go up to 12, and it can become a ridiculous battle. Timers in Team Fortress are also much longer as well, and maps don’t railroad you. Not every single person in TF2 is incredibly valuable because of a larger team limit. Two people on a team of 12 in TF2 won’t hold the unit back, but in Overwatch, one person underperforming can mean the difference between victory or defeat. It is why Overwatch feels faster paced and more addictive. Matches are quicker, and each movement means something. Rewards are more constant, and feedback is more gratifying. TF2 doesn’t have medals or play of the game’s to strive for. TF2 will pop up a list of who got the most points at the end, and that’s it. I like that system, but I understand if those who are playing games to show off their MLG skills and contributions may feel discouraged. Yet, as described earlier, Overwatch’s competitive nature leads to problems. Overwatch leaves little room for expression or community involvement. You have the core game, which is fantastic, but it railroads its players into a competitive mindset. TF2’s matches could be competitive, but they could also be laid back. If you hop into a match in TF2, it isn’t a life-or-death situation. There is time to get acclimated to the surroundings, and there are no penalties for leaving the game.

But in general, the best part about TF2 was its openness and casualness. Don’t take that the wrong way though. TF2 is the culmination of “easy to learn, hard to master”. It is easy to aim well with the Soldier in TF2. It is not easy to bunnyhop and rocket jump all over the map. It is easy to shoot a sniper rifle as a sniper in TF2, but it is difficult to quickscope and land consistent headshots. It is easy to get a backstab as a spy. It is difficult to assess the surroundings and anticipate the opposing player’s psychology and reactions to the backstab. The classes in TF2 are simple with simple roles, but are difficult to master. However, TF2 never really has anything to encourage competitiveness. There was a UGC and competitive league, but that had a miniscule community compared to its more casual one, and Valve very rarely supported or promoted it.

The only Bastion of Competitive Matchmaking for nearly a decade.

I mean. not every change in that May 2016 patch was terrible. I really like how they tried to polish Team Fortress 2 up. There are small things about the game that irk me. These are all small nitpicks though, but they do add up. One of them is the jerky animations. I know this game came out in 2007 and they haven’t updated them since then, but they sometimes look unnatural or off. Another is that hit-marker sound. It just, grates on your ears after a while. ESPECIALLY, if you’re playing Pyro and you hear a DINGDINGDING constantly. Another is just some of the clunkiness with the interface. They added health bars over your teammates heads but they are so small and blend in with the environment that they are difficult to read unless you are right up to your teammate. But the patch made an attempt to clean the interface and some of these problems up. I appreciate that. There were small, quality-of-life improvements to be found in that update, yet, it doesn’t change the fact that it changed the core of TF2. TF2 was always about looking up a server at any time of the day, joining, playing for maybe an hour or more, and then stopping. The removal of searching, and the focus to try and be like Overwatch is what hurt TF2’s fanbase. Again, this didn’t hurt their player numbers, but it did cause distress and a divide in the community.

Personally, I love the addition of a competitive mode in TF2, but again, it came 9 years after the game’s release date. That says something about how Valve treats the community of the game. People have been clamouring for a real competitive mode for so long. We saw Dota 2 and CS:GO get so much love and attention from Valve, and there were real capabilities for TF2 to become an esport. The reason we wanted this, is because there was a conflict between the community. If you hopped in a Valve server, which is just a regular server meant for beginners or the casual player, there would be a vast array of players. There would be a guy with 20 minutes on TF2 who just picked up steam and PC gaming and their name was probably their full name in all lowercase with a 97 at the end of it, and then there would be a guy with a hat worth 600 US dollars and 1000 hours on the game getting 70 points every round. It was a trained hitman and an elementary school student going at each other. So one part of the community REALLY wanted a competitive game mode to flex their skills and utilize the deeper mechanics of the game, and another just wanted to meme around. And there was also the aforementioned UGC league, but it had incredibly small exposure compared to Dota 2 and CS:GO. So competitive mode was requested, and requested, and requested…and it was delivered too late. People became fed up with TF2 and the lack of communication with Valve, especially when compared to what Dota and CS:GO recieved. It felt like the loyal players of TF2 were getting the shaft. We didn’t want more hats, we wanted communication and new content. Competitive felt like a knee-jerk reaction instead of a gift. It felt like a business decision to fight Overwatch. It felt like a desperation move to compete with another game which, as discussed previously, are mechanically different and have vastly different fanbases. And it showed. Competitive had broken leveling initially, and what was going to bring back those lost hardcore players just felt like a mess. Again, Valve could have hyped it up with some advertisements, but they did pretty much nothing. They just didn’t care. They were like “oh some people are saying this new fancy game looks like ours?” and they did like 5 minutes of research and were like “K LET’S JUST DO THIS SCREW IT WE GOT CS GO SKINS TO SELL”

I know I sound incredibly entitled, but it is bad business for Valve to be dishonest to their fans. 2 years ago, Valve used to be revered. People were like “all hail Gaben” and the Steam sales, but their practices with their games and Steam have put a damper on people’s conception of the company. Valve does not care about TF2. Valve is a business that cares about maximizing profits. TF2 will continue to be scarcely updated, and you know what? It will still maintain a large fanbase. Valve has to do literally nothing, and the fantastic game they created will still remain. But, the hardcore fanbase, the people who loved and cultivated the game since its conception have been forgotten about, and Valve doesn’t care. And that’s sad.

The internet’s attitude towards Gabe Newell has shifted as of late.

But the worst part about all this, is it probably doesn’t matter. My video won’t change a thing. Team Fortress 2 is like Smash Brothers. Both games get very little love and attention from their developers, but have still cultivated dedicated fanbases just on the sole purpose of it being an excellent game. Smash Wii U tournaments consistently get 10000+ viewers despite Nintendo not caring at all for competitive, and in some cases, actively fighting against its competitive scene. TF2 isn’t dying. It’s not at all. It will live forever unless Valve messes more up or pulls the plug on it, which is unlikely. Their current model is pulling them in good numbers still, and their neglect doesn’t matter. But, just that care, just the action of frequent patches, more developer communication, and more rewards for dedicated players can go such a long way. I’m sure if Valve puts more attention into this game, those numbers will increase even more, people will be happy, and Valve will be happy because their investment will pay dividends.