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Team Fortress 2 is a team-based multiplayer first-person-shooter video game published by the Valve Corporation. The game is known for its cartoony graphics, offbeat humor and wide variety of game modes and player classes.
The original Team Fortress was developed as a fan-made mod pack for the 1996 first-person-shooter Quake. In August of 1998, the development team was hired by Valve to port the game over to the GoldSrc engine as Team Fortress Classic. Team Fortress 2 was not released until October 9th, 2007, when it was distributed as part of video game compilation The Orange Box that included Half Life 2 and Portal. Valve announced that the game would be free-to-play through their Steam digital distribution software on June 23rd, 2011.
Most Team Fortress 2 game modes have 2 opposing teams, the Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED) and the Builders League United (BLU), that compete against each other in various maps to complete certain objectives. Some game modes include:
- Capture the Flag: Each team attempts to steal the opposing team’s intelligence briefcase from their headquarters and secure it back at their own base.
- King of the Hill: A central point must be captured and defended for a set amount of time to win the round.
- Payload: One team attempts to escort a rail cart filled with explosives to the enemies base.
- Team Deathmatch: A team is able to win a round by killing off the members of the opposing team.
The players on each team must choose a class to play, each with their own set of abilities and special weapons.
- Medic: Heals fellow teammates with a Medigun that can ÜberCharged to make other players temporarily invincible.
- Scout: Runs very fast and is able to double jump. The Scout default weapons are a shotgun and baseball bat.
- Heavy Weapons Guy: Also known as just “Heavy”, this is the largest and slowest moving of the classes. He wields a minigun and boxing gloves, and can recover health by eating sandwiches.
- Pyro: Wears a gas mask and fireproof suit while wielding a flamethrower and fire axe and is best at killing enemies up close.
- Engineer: Can build teleporters, sentry guns and dispensers that aid other teammates in battle.
- Sniper: Can kill enemies from far away with his sniper rifle. Enemies can be killed with one shot if they are hit in the head.
- Demoman: Wields a grenade launcher and sticky bomb launcher that can be used to kill enemies around corners, or lay traps for enemies to run into.
- Soldier: A rocket launcher equipped brute that is capable of reaching great height by jumping while firing a rocket at the ground.
- Spy: Can disguise themselves as members of the other team, and can kill enemies with one hit if they manage to sneak behind them and stab them in the back. Can “sap” Engineer’s buildings to quickly destroy them.
From left to right; Medic, Heavy Weapons Guy, Scout, Engineer, Sniper, Demoman, Soldier, Spy, and Pyro.
Valve originally planned for the game to have a realistic visual design, and had given it the subtitle “Brotherhood of Arms.” A screenshot released in 2004 shows what the game might have looked like:
This design was alter abandoned in favour of a non-realistic aesthetic system based on early twentieth century advertising illustrations (Norman Rockwell and Dean Cornwell). According to the game’s audio commentary, the non-realistic look won out because it made it easier for the player to achieve suspension of disbelief for the other unbelievable parts of the game (the cordoned off maps and cartoon-physics being singled out).
The audio commentary goes into much detail describing the characters’ visual design. The designers made sure to give each character a unique silhouette and a unified colour palette (either red or blue) so that a player could immediately see what class they were and what team they were on. A similar process went into designing the team areas, with the RED team’s base favouring warm colours and natural materials, and the BLU team’s base using sharp colours and more industrial building designs.
There are two wikis dedicated to the game, the Official Team Fortress Wiki and the unofficial TF2 Wiki. Team Fortress 2 Fort is an unofficial TF2 community site with a large discussion forum, steam group and its own TF2 server. On Reddit, there is an entire TF2 subreddit that has 42,286 subscribers as of September 15th, 2011. TF2 Stats collects data across TF2 servers including map usage, popular players and item usage. A Facebook fan page has 437,579 likes as of September 15th, 2011.
Machinima and YouTube Poop
Team Fortress 2 is often used in Machinima videos. According to the TF2 Wiki, most TF2 Machinima is created using Fraps recording software and standard demo recording commands. The sandbox software Garry’s Mod is often used when creating various Team Fortress 2 related YouTube Poops, as it allows for a wider variety of manipulations than standard demo recording techniques.
Nope.avi is a video clip of a BLU Engineer saying “nope” when his helmet floats above his head immediately followed by his neck extending to reach the helmet. Because of its comically abrupt nature, the clip is most often used as a negative response or a curt dismissal in comment threads and discussion forums. It is used as a replacement for the word “No.”
“Gentlemen” is a catchphrase from the character “The Spy” that has been turned into an exploitable image template where the Spy’s mouth is filled with various objects. The phrase it occasionally reversed to form “mentelgen” which has cimilar usage.
The phrase has since become a catch-all reference used on any picture of a person with a large number of objects in his or her mouth, and with the word “gentlemen” altered as needed.
The Spy Crab is a glitch that makes a Spy freeze during gameplay in an awkward looking pose. Videos of the glitch were uploaded to YouTube, and inspired the title “Rare Endangered Spy Crab”. A person could initiate the glitch in-game by readying the Disguise Kit item and look straight up while holding the crouch button.
Demopan is a user-generated character based on the demolition expert “Demoman” from Team Fortress 2. Donning an eclectic assortment of items like shutter shades and frying pans, the character was designed to parody the insane volume of custom accessories and weapons that have been added to the game since its inception.
Need a Dispenser Here!
The phrase “Need a Dispenser here!” is a voice command used in Team Fortress 2 by the Scout character. A dispenser is a building constructed by the Engineer class that provides health, ammo and metal to nearby teammates. Scouts tend to run out of ammunition faster and have the lowest HP, which means they need a quick healer. Since the Dispenser is a great substitute for the Medic and provides ammo, Scouts often repeat the phrase “Need a Dispenser here!” as a cry for help. However, spamming “Need a Dispenser here!” has become a trolling method to annoy fellow teammates.
This is What I See With My Eyes Closed
This is What I See With My Eyes Closed is a series of Gmod videos where a TF2 character is flying through space while listening to the 8-bit soundtrack from the Nintendo game Ducktales.
Search queries for “team fortress 2” reached their highest spike in October of 2007, the same month the Orange Box was released.