12 January, Team Fortress 2 on PC

Let’s try this again. If three–that’s it, three–people comment here that they’re planning on joining in, we’ll do this thing.

We’ll be playing over Steam for, I think, the first time ever. Come share your thoughts about Valve, Steam, TF2, and just how it is that someone who simply cannot shoot straight nevertheless can’t quite quite shooters. (It’s me.)

The usual time and place: Thursday at 9:30 EST / 6:30 PST. Comment here, and friend TinPeregrinus (Roger) for an invite. Voice chat over Ventrilo; the server is vent108.light-speed.com, port 4383, I’ll email you the password if you comment that you need it.

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About rogertravisjr

Classicist, game critic, game educator.
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11 Responses to 12 January, Team Fortress 2 on PC

  1. leo says:

    haven’t hung out in a long while but ive been heavy into steam since the holiday gift stuff. im down for some TF2 for sure

  2. Great, Leo! That’s 1!

  3. Harlan Broughton says:

    I’ll be there. Hopefully we’ll have more luck than we did during the holidays.

  4. Dan Cox says:

    I’m a maybe. I’ll probably be late though. I have a class that ends right before that.

  5. Well, we didn’t quite make it. I’m going to get on Vent at 9:30 Eastern anyway and fire up Portal 2. If we get enough people who are interested, we can switch to TF2, or we can just talk Valve, and Steam, and cake.

    • Dan Cox says:

      I still want to be a part of it. If nothing else, listening to conversations and maybe contributing from time to time. (To that end, I tried to friend you this morning, Roger, on Steam. I’m videlais, by the way.)

  6. Dan Cox says:

    If anyone is interested, and until an audio recording process is developed, here are my notes from last night without attribution in most places (because I was writing it out and have forgotten who each username belonged to now anyway):

    What are the performance materials that differentiate Bethesda and Valve? Do they have a unique voice or style? What are the attributes of each?

    Would auteur theory be a good match? Maybe, but only if you use companies and studios as the individual. It’s harder to judge that with games though since they are made by hundreds if not thousands of people. Even games like the Metal Gear series, with Hideo Kojima at the helm, are made by teams of people who work on various parts.

    How do these relate to epic narratives? Are there ways to mark each company’s style? “Bethesda,” says Roger, “uses sliders that give the player more reconfigurations.” They are numerical ways of expressing individuality in the game. [Ed: my note.]

    How about the art of each? Do they build up a community? “How does that compare,” asks Roger, “to metropolitan opera?” It’s probably like theater culture in Elizabethan era England actually. [Ed: my note]

    Each game seems ot have a different visual style. TF2, Portal (2) and Left 4 Dead (2) all seem to be different from each other. Is there some unifying aspect to them? Humor might be an answer to that. They seem, with TF2 especially, to want to poke fun at conventions and older styles — like Ovidian works.

    Looking at this from 800 BCE, how does it compare? It’s like a consumer collective. There are users and a company. It’s a quid pro quo relationship — there is a community around this relationship. There would be a certain affinity toward some bards, during that time, that created a feedback loop that reinforced certain ideas and themes. That seems to work here too.

    The tyrants of Athens, around 650 BCE, declared that only certain things be taught. It’s the start of education, the selection of certain histories to be taught. ‘Routinization provides interpretation consistency’. [Ed: my note]

    What is the relationship between Valve and their audience? Is it Athenian education or something more? Since most people buy games on Steam, it’s part of their systems, something they have to use to play games. It becomes part of the gaming process and thus part of the mindset that ‘to play a game’, ‘I must use Steam’. It is more like a brand, it’s a part of the PC gaming identity for many players. [Ed: my note.]

    It’s part of the long tail of their business. People buy large swaths of games and then have to use Steam to play them, to keep access. It’s more insidious than you would think. “There was an interview with Gabe Newell where he said that they [Valve] don’t know why the sales work. They price things up, people buy them. They price things down, people but them.”

    It might be nerd culture. They want to collect, to gather things. There is a personal narrative, a journey that they go on to hunt down something important to them. Steam seems to have locked into that, that they can provide sales that make people want to collect games they might not ever play. It’s not necessarily an evil thing, they just happen to be creative people who sell games — it’s low-level sociology. They seem to want to give away things.

    “ZeniMax Media Inc., on the other hand, is about profit. They will let their creative people be free, but only if they stick within budget and are on schedule,” stated X. [Ed: I didn’t write down the name.] “Do you remember the Horse Armor DLC? They are merchants and want their revenue over creative freedom.”

    Most artists want their work to be free. They want money, but only so it means the ability for more work. “Not ZeniMax,” says X.

  7. Thanks very much, Dan! I never seem to be able to remember as much as I think I’m going to. 😀

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