Erik Twice’s favorite: Team Fortress 2

October 14, 2012

In the My Favorite Game series, get to know us better as staff writers share the game they love most and why.

Grueling simulations of railroad operations and complex, thoughtful board games of the hardest kind and the always-challenging Civilization but also OutRun, Beatmania and half a dozen classic shooters, it seems my favorite games couldn’t be more any more different! My taste was so polarized I couldn’t be content with a middle ground; it always had to be one or another, and it was always painful to choose.

And that’s when I discovered Team Fortress.

Honorable Mention: Pump it Up/Dance Dance Revolution: While TF2 may be my favorite game of all time, it barely has scratched me compared to how much these two dancing games did. For me, they weren’t games, they were an experience, the game that made me meet some of my best friends and the excuse to hang around and have fun when you were hard into a depression. They have been such a constant source of joy in my life that I can’t being to imagine how different everything would have turned out without it.

Be it by disinterest or by chance, I had never gotten into first-person shooters beyond my teenage years in smoke-filled internet cafes, but TF2 just pressed the right buttons in my head. It was everything I was asking for in a game. Using the core game play of Quake, the guys at Valve managed to create a perfect blend of action and tactics, a game where one quick thought supports the other and where being good doesn’t just make you faster, it gives you a dozen more options.

My mind just doesn’t stop buzzing in this game. I’m always thinking where to dodge, where to shoot and when I can get ambushed in a corner. There are so many tactics and so many ways to outsmart your differently-colored opponent that you can’t simply think of them all. You must always react faster, learn how to shoot and quickly compose when your rocket is fired off-angle. It’s like a more complex version of Williams’ arcade classic Robotron, and almost three thousand hours later, I still find more nuances than I ever did the first day of play.

Honorable Mention: OpenTTD: Transport Tycoon was always there. I played it on release, played it when I was a kid and in my teens. I played it yesterday and I’ll play it today. It’s such a masterpiece of design, a game I never get tired of no matter how many hours I have been playing and now, with the highly-expanded OpenTTD and its hundreds of mods, there’s even less of a reason to stop playing it. It’s the game that made me an engineer and gave me my love of trains.

It has reached a point where I can’t see myself playing any other first-person shooter, because TF2 just has it all for me in a more concentrated package. Through careful balance and amazing level design, the game lets me snipe the rocket jumping classes reminiscent of Quake or even stop shooting entirely when playing Engineer. Playing Spy is so tense and the strategy so deep, that it’s the main reason I haven’t really tried the amazing Thief.

It has gotten to the point that I was sucked in the amazing world of competitive play, making an already game even more amazing. When playing with a coordinated team, the tactics go from being nice to a real must, and the firefights get so intense that you can feel each hit have an impact in the whole game, making you react immediately if you don’t want to fail.

And it isn’t even just the game. The community and people I have met through playing have become real friends, and my existing relationships were strengthened thanks to just being able to jump in and have a blast playing.