I think Team Fortress 2 has a certain whimsy and humor to it that most online multiplayer games, especially other FPS’s, do not have. That in turn creates a certain atmosphere among its players. True, there’s always going to be THOSE people, the ones who want to bring down the mood because your objective isn’t to score the most points. My experience, though, is that meeting an enemy player is almost always an opportunity to make a friend.
When I was new to the game, I found that people were not only mostly understanding about my not knowing what do, but they even tried to help me improve. Perfect strangers, and on the other team no less, stopped farming points off me to instead teach me how to rocketjump or be a sneakier Spy. One time, I even had a guy who spoke practically no English try to teach me to perform falling backstabs. This sense of charity transcends language. And skill. If they did not try to teach me new skills, they would play friendly little games instead. Spy and Seek, Pyro Tennis, Dueling Sentries, etc.
There are times that what team you are on doesn’t matter much at all. While we play the game like we’re supposed to most of the time, the unserious tone of TF2 reminds most people that we are here to have fun and that we are not really enemies.
However, there is something in the way of this truly being realized in-game.
I feel that we should be able to high five any player, regardless of which team they are on, if they agree to do so. To limit such a fun and delightful action to one’s teammates is to drive a dividing line between players. While we may fight for different teams, argue over how OP every update’s new items are, and hate on each other’s hats, we all share the same ultimate goal: to have a good time. As you can see in this video my friend Wydell put together to illustrate the point, high fives make for good times. And the inability to high five does not. In fact, it makes for extremely sad times.
I ask that you consider changing the High Five Taunt so that it may be shared between players of either team. The High Five was, after all, supposed to be used as an alternative to the celebratory gesture of punching our friends in the face while they punch us in the face. Half the time we have no other choice at all and really, we are all friends here, aren’t we?
THIS IS NOT A TRICK,
“Contemporary videogame design shies away from player death, tries to avoid or at least mitigate the amount of time the player spends looking at a game over screen. In an age where game over is seen as undesirable, masocore games approach player death as a narrative technique…”
If you ask to most other Hitman fans, they tend not to like Contracts. This makes sense, as it’s atmospherically different from Codename: 47 and Silent Assassin (despite cribbing many of its missions from the former) and the difficulty was brought down quite a bit. In terms of scope, as well, where someone who’d played the other two might expect another epic globetrotting adventure, Contracts was very small and self-contained.
I think it’s sort of interesting that way in that the first two games, sprawling and grandiose with large conspiracy plots, were thematically about the search for self. Throughout Codename 47, as 47 is hired to kill each of his genetic donors off one by one, he’s given information about who they are and where he came from whereas before he knew very little. Silent Assassin follows through on that and 47 briefly tries to come to terms with his place in the world until the brother of one of the dudes from the last game kidnaps the preacher whose church he’s living in and he has to work for the Agency again for them to use their sources for information to find him. ‘Cause Diana loves you, bro, but this ride ain’t free.
By contrast, Contracts’ plot is tiny. As far as it has one, it’s not even revealed until the very last cutscene. So you would expect a game with so little in the way of that would be heavily character based and introspective, but no. 47 is out of his goddamn mind for most of it. I think perhaps, though, the point is that Silent Assassin ends with 47 having to decide where he’s going with his life. Contracts is more of about looking at where he’s been. He assumes he’s going to die in that shitty hotel room, so a “This Was Your Life” is appropriate.
The premise of Contracts is that 47 has been recognized and injured on a job, the first time it’s ever happened. He manages to get back to his hotel hideout, but passes out from blood loss. Then he remembers about a bunch missions he’d been on before, some of them literally edited versions of missions from the first game.
Most fans think it was cheap, but without a contrast between the originals and the hallucinatory versions, the concept isn’t as clear. How could you realize it wasn’t just a coincidence that it’s dark and raining on all the levels if you weren’t “replaying” one that was originally set in broad daylight? It makes clear then too that the changes and omissions to those levels were deliberate, meant to inform you that 47 was not remembering these things as they actually happened, as opposed just laziness on the part of the developers to meet a deadline.
Mind you, if you were playing Contracts as your first experience with the series like I was, you weren’t going to get that because you hadn’t played the first one. But that was another thing I liked about it.
I played Silent Assassin after that and I had a very hard time getting into it. As I say, it’s entirely different. The levels tended to be much larger with a lot of walking over vast expanses involved and many of them were set in military bases or otherwise utilitarian places. (I’m not a fan of military themes.) Had I not played Contracts first, I probably would not like Hitman. Contracts was just a lot more inviting. Cozy, even.
Especially since you really didn’t need to know any of the lore. To be sure, the game is weird and confusing at first, but I think even if you did know 47 is a clone and all the accompanying history of that, one would still wut at the weird-ass intro cutscene and then heading right into Asylum Aftermath where there’s dead 48’s all over the place with no explanation. The first level makes sense if you’ve played the others, but it’s not necessary to know these things. All that’s important to know is that 47 is a hitman, which you should’ve gleaned from the box.
Speaking of, Contracts is when 47’s face starts being fleshed out and made to look less gaunt and sunken and just weirdly alien. I know normally we’re supposed to frown on characters being made to be more attractive, but I don’t care. I think this was a good change.
In general, Blood Money is my favorite of the series because it has the world adventure aspects the first two games had, but it’s heavily informed by the things they did in Contracts that deviated from the original formula. They put more traps in (and in fact added a variation on it in creating “accidents”), made better use of their space within level designs, and made most of the levels are really memorable individually by giving each more attention and personality. One of these levels is, cleverly, the mission that 47 went on preceding his being spotted and shot at the beginning of Contracts and his escape from Paris in the final mission. (Asylum Aftermath does this as well, as its objective is to escape after the final mission in Codename 47.) The whole of Contracts, little as that substantially is, feeds directly into the plot of Blood Money.
Will say that Blood Money is kinda heavy on the cutscenes and direct storytelling, though, where Contracts is extremely Spartan with speech in its story. It takes a lot of skill to tell a story without words.
Although what few they did use in Contracts are often melodramatic and kinda silly.
This so applies to the lingerie industry.
YES! I still watch TV shows and read magazines and enjoy things that have problematic aspects, but that doesn’t make me any worse of a feminist. Feminism doesn’t require you to become an ascetic about all media. It just means acknowledging that things are wrong and could be changed.
PREACH! PREACH! PREACH!
Animal Crossing was probably the first time I really understood the concept of not just debt, but being crushed by debt.
For the uninitiated, this is how Animal Crossing works: you, as a human, live in this little town that’s populated by anthropomorphic animals. It’s mostly randomly generated so each person’s town is slightly unique. When you first move in to your town, you’re given a house by the local merchant Tom Nook (the raccoon on the right). It isn’t until you’ve already moved in that he reveals to you that you’re indebted to him for 100,000 bells (the game’s currency) and he forces you to work in his store as an indentured servant. After a few days (literal. days.) worth of doing delivery work, you’re freed from your servitude but not from your debt. Thank goodness Tom Nook didn’t charge interest or your in-game circumstances would be that much more dire.
You do a bunch of random gathering to gain up money to pay back your loan and just when you think you’re finally free from the crushing weight of Tom Nook’s thumb… he adds a second story onto your house! And the cycle of debt begins again.
For most of your play-time with the game you’re not making money to do cool stuff like decorate your house or buy NES emulations; you’re just making money to pay off Tom “Fat Cat” Nook. Frankly it’s shocking how closely this goofy game populated by cartoon ducks and cats reflects the stark realities of modern living.
So GTA gets a lot of shit for being, among practically every other social ill, sexist. And let’s not kid ourselves, it totally is. This is, if you’ll recall, the game where you can fuck sex workers and then kill them to get your money back.
But under that, it also has a lot of really good female characters. (I’m only gonna talk about ones from the III continuity, but IV has some gems as well.) I think sometimes it’s hard to see this because III’s overall tone tends to be outrageous and exaggerated so all of the characters, even moderately serious ones, come off as jokes. But if you look at a Donald Love without the knowledge that he’s a cannibal, you get a different picture and he seems like a ght guy.