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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.
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.
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.
“Laughter is the best medicine,” say people who are about to discover laughter actually makes a broken nose worse. Laughter’s pretty okay, though, as are other emotions – and creative mediums can help stimulate them. Valve have rolled out the red carpet (it smells rusty?) for the year’s finest Source Filmmaker machinima, little films mostly starring Valve characters, declaring which are the bestest best so you too can easily experience such human emotions as Action, Comedy, Drama, Short, and Extended.
Each year, Valve honour the finest Source Filmmaker creators with an imaginary gold statuette of a shirtless imaginary man with chest hair in the shape of imaginary country Australia. Ah, the Saxxy Awards! Saxxy season is upon us once again, and you – yes you! – can join movers, shakers, and thinkfluencers like Steven CP_Steelberg and Shia LaBadlands. Valve have opened up public voting on submissions to whittle down entrants to the finalists, so you can watch and vote on machinima shorts to your hearts’ content.
Sell your pumpkin heads! Team Fortress 2‘s [official site] Halloween event has launched. Scream Fortress runs from now through till November 11th, comes with a new comic, and introduces themed items, maps, taunts and an event that lets you win items from all previous Halloween events – presumably tanking the market for them in the process.
As the march towards Halloween gains pace (seriously, where has this year disappeared to?!), Team Fortress 2 [official site] has launched a month-long Invasion event, spilling its community-curated guts in the form of new maps, weapons and items.
The launch trailer is typically TF2 in its spectacle and flair and can be viewed without the use of 3D glasses inside.
Good news: Valve are working on a new “major update” for their free-to-play FPS Team Fortress 2 [official site]. Bad news: it’s not a Halloween update. This new update has left the TF2 team too busy to create another all-spooking, all-devilling spectraltacular (boo!) so they’re turning again to the community.
This year’s Halloween update will largely be pieced together from spooky maps, weapons, items, taunts, and so on submitted to TF2’s Steam Workshop.
I haven’t played Team Fortress 2 [official site] in almost a year, Steam tells me, but by gum! I haven’t stopped caring about the goofy world have created for their free-to-play FPS. Valve have some of the funniest fun in games, and I don’t especially mind if the yaks come through webcomics rather than computer games.
While we were on holiday on Monday, Valve released the fifth issue of their free TF comic, a mere eleven months after the last. In case you can’t remember, the TF2 gang’s quest for Australium metal had taken to the undersea dome where Sniper’s parents lived in some odd Superman pastiche, when the squad ran into their counterparts from Team Fortress Classic. And… action!
Isn’t it nice when companies become friends? Valve and Bad Robot, J. J. Abrams production company responsible for TV shows like Lost and movies like Super 8, have teamed up to produce a new mode for Team Fortress 2 [official site]. It’s called PASS Time and it blends Team Fortress 2 with the “fast-paced sports of soccer, hockey and basketball.”