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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
If so, which version did you play? Team Fortress 2 has changed so much during its lifetime that it might have been a tight, retrospectively austere cartoon multiplayer shooter that valued teamwork, or a cavalcade of wacky weaponry and that seems more geared towards chaos than consideration.
The Lab is a free, semi-Portal-themed collection of minigames and vignettes from Valve, designed to show of the capabilities of their new VR headset, the Vive. It’s out now, but clearly most of you won’t be able to try it – even if you ordered a Vive, you’re weeks or more away from receiving it. Given this is, in theory, the first new Valve game in quite some time, I thought I’d tell you all about it.
Half-Life and Portal movies are “in development”, according to JJ Abrams. The director told IGN that “We’ve got writers, and we’re working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update.” Which means clearly Abrams isn’t familiar with Half-Life fans, who can see excitement in a cloud shaped like Gordon Freeman’s face.
We’ve known for almost a year that Valve have been planning to add competitive matchmaking to Team Fortress 2 [official site] buuut well, I imagine Valve got distracted chasing a squirrel in the park or something. After many months of staring at the tree the squirrel vanished up, Valve have shook off their coating of snow and come back indoors to crack on with TF2’s competitive matchmaking. They don’t have too much to say about it yet, such as when it’ll properly launch, but closed testing is beginning within a week or so and you can sign up.
A fan-made, semi-official follow-up to Opposing Force, the Half-Life expansion Gearbox made, is now out. Prospekt [official site] continues telling Half-Life-y events from the perspective of marine Adrian Shephard, who’s still chasing after Gordon Freeman. This time he’s helping Gordo, though, causing trouble out of sight for the Combine during HL2’s Nova Prospekt section and onwards. It’s the work of fan Richard Seabrook, and Valve have given him the all-clear to sell it. This can only be good news for my dream of Valve endorsing my career as a writer of erotic Dog/turret fanfic.
We live in complex times. When I was a youngster, it was perfectly reasonable to buy a game simply because it had more monsters than the other games. Playing through shooters, RPGs and platformers alike, I’d be tempted to give up when I reached the point where no new enemy types were appearing. The very idea of a game with only one type of enemy, no matter how intelligent and believable, was poison. Give me all of your mutants, demons and aliens>, I cried, give them to me now>.
Here are a few of my favourites, ranging from the first-person shooters of my teenage years to the surreal horrors of my childhood.
I’ve realised I miss watching other people play games. That’s perhaps a strange thought, given the ubiquity of Twitching live-streams and long plays on YouTube – but that’s really not what I mean. I mean sitting in the same room and watching as someone I know plays the game. It’s just not something that happens to me any more.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Okay, now we’re nearly 300 deep into these recommendations we’re clearly getting a little obscure, a little desperate, but it’s still possible that a few people will have played this oddity. Half-Life 2 came out in 2004, but as there’s been no Half-Life 3 in the eleven years since one can only assume it didn’t sell well.
Valve crept in during the night and left a little present under your Christmas PC (I’ve seen it, stuffed full of lights and gingerbread with a case window to show them off), a nice, big Team Fortress 2 [official site] update. Okay, yes, much of Tough Break Update is reserved for people who spend $6 to buy into the Tough Break ‘Campaign’ (a series of challenges like CS:GO’s Operations), and yes the new taunts it also adds are expensive, but the greatest gift of all is free: a look at the TF2 gang doing aerobics (sorry, Mannrobics) together.
A free Portal-themed set of cosmetic items and flourishes will arrive in Rocket League [official site] tomorrow. There are gel trails for your nitro boosts, cake hats and decals, and heart-breaking Companion Cube antennae. There’s plenty more along those lines as well, and it’s all free, but I’m perhaps unfairly disappointed by the lack of actual portals. I hadn’t even considered how amazing it would be to attach a portal to the area above my own goalmouth, causing stray shots that enter to emerge right by the opponent’s goal. And if the cars could dash through portals as well? Beautiful chaos.