Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Team Fortress 2 [official site] recognises that yes, Smissmas is a time for gibbing your fellow man then leaving their labelled hunks under the tree, but also somethings for coming-together. Valve’s free-to-play FPS has kicked off its Christmas event with an update bringing the traditional assortment of new icy items but also handy features for casual play. A new team autobalancing systems gives players gifts if they even up teams, while Casual matchmaking now keeps players together after matches to pick a new map and go again. This should mean more fun, less yelling, and an end to the Red and Blu sides of the family glaring at each other across the lounge on Boxing Day. … [visit site to read more]

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Scream Fortress VIII

Team Fortress 2‘s [official site] annual Hallowe’en festivities are upon us and, although there are nowhere near as many of them as Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror episodes, the Roman numerals are still contriving to make Alice feel hideously old. So that’s something!

So what’s the haps this Hallowe’en-tide? … [visit site to read more]

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Happy 20th birthday, Valve! Yesterday. Happy 20th yesterday. Sorry, I only just saw the Facebook notification. On August 24th, 1996, ex-Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington made a beautiful baby who was mighty eye-opening.

In the dreamy game of “What if…?” one curious hypothetical is: what if Valve never existed? There can’t be many companies who’ve had nearly as much impact. Steam (eventually) revolutionised digital distribution, changing the entire landscape of PC gaming. Half-Life was seminal; its mod scene was legendary. That’d be plenty, but Valve have made a load of other really good video games too.

… [visit site to read more]

Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

You might have noticed all your friends’ avatars and profile pictures turning into comic book drawings or impressionistic paintings over the last few weeks. That’s because of Prisma, a photo editing app for iOS and Android that let’s you apply a couple of dozen filters to images you feed it. The app goes further than simply messing with the hue like Instagram does, using a process similar to Google Deep Dream to warp and twist photographs – without shoving fucked up dogs in every corner.

I spent last night feeding it game screenshots, to find out what No Man’s Sky, Half-Life 2, SimCity and more would look like if their artists abandoned realism.

… [visit site to read more]

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Valve launched matchmaking for Team Fortress 2 [official site] on Thursday but its reception wasn’t wholly positive. As well as introducing 6v6 competitive ranked matchmaking, the Meet Your Match Update replaced TF2’s casual ‘quickplay’ with 12v12 unranked matchmaking – and that second mode has frustrated some. Its problems included long waiting times and limited options, but Valve are working on those and more. Over the weekend they acknowledged these complaints and launched the first update aimed at correcting some of casual matchmaking’s problems.

… [visit site to read more]

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Ranked matchmaking arrived in Team Fortress 2 [official site] overnight with the Meet Your Match Update, letting you and your pals leap in and scrap to prove you’re the roughtest, toughest, point-caputringest mercs this side of Dustbowl. Or find out quite how bad you are. How confident do you feel? Valve have also launched a little contest to decide which character class will next receive an overhaul: the Pyro or Heavy?

… [visit site to read more]

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

It’s been a long time coming but matchmaking in Team Fortress 2 [official site] is almost here. Valve today announced the Meet Your Match update, which I imagine likely means it’ll launch this week. Look forward to a ranked 6v6 mode, unranked 12v12 ‘quickplay’, and all sorts of levels, medals, and statistics tracking your performance. Three new community-made maps are coming too, and sportsball mode Pass Time will launch out of beta.

… [visit site to read more]

Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I’ve just finished Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, a first-person parkour game about Faith Connors and a scrappy band of outlaw runners and hackers who deliver secret packages under the noses of an oppressive corporate government. By rights you should root for these underdogs. If only they weren’t all dicks.

… [visit site to read more]

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Gearbox’s Barney-starring add-on is the black sheep of the Half-Life family, although at the time I never encountered any reason why that should be the case. My teenage tastes were perhaps less discerning then, but more importantly any> return to Black Mesa was irresistible. I wanted new monsters and new guns, everything that a young’un wants from a follow-up to their favourite shooter, and I also had a vain hope that maybe I’d get to shoot that creepy suit-guy in the face and rescue Gordon. … [visit site to read more]

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

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.

… [visit site to read more]

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