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Dissecting TF2

December 27, 2010

I’ve been playing TF2 the past couple days (as you might have known), and I’ve been wondering what makes TF2 so addictive and fun to play. It’s the most fun game I’ve ever played yet, so I want to find out what exactly makes it so fun in the hopes that I can buy similar games next time. (I’m not too hopeful, though). Penning my thoughts down will help to structure and streamline my thought process. So here goes.

0) Is it because I paid for it?

Well, maybe. There might be some psychological theory or whatnot, but I’ll quite sure that a reason why I’m playing it so much (and finding it fun in the process) is because I paid 9.99 USD for it. You know, sunk cost theorem and all that. Moving on…

1) Is it because it’s multiplayer?

Duh. Singleplayer games are no fun at all.

2) Is it because I don’t have to wait for a game?

Definitely. Normally, when I play DoTA, I have to wait for friends so I can inhouse, and that takes quite a long time everyday or sometimes just not at all. I could pub in Garena, but firstly I’ve become accustomed to playing with friends and secondly pubs don’t really appeal to me anyway. I think the spontaneity of TF2 and its matchmaking system is what draws me to play it again and again. Add to that the fact that I can stop whenever I want (when I lose, or when I need to go for lunch/dinner/whatever) instead of having to slog it out the entire duration of 45-60 minutes and 2) is a very compelling explanation as to why I like TF2 so much.

3) Is it because I like the genre?

Well….. no. I’m not a big fan of the first-person shooter genre (I personally like third-person viewcams and RPG games more than FPSes). I’d say the genre of TF2 actually puts me off it. But TF2 plays the FPS genre reasonably well.

4) Is it because I like the art direction?

Yes! A thousand times yes. I love the stylized art style. It’s clean and smooth and means that my junkpile of a computer can run it (albeit at DirectX 8). It’s a refreshing change from a nitty-gritty, realistic shooter along the lines of Modern Warfare 2 (or the entire COD series, in fact). The art direction also means the game feels brighter and more fun to play, so even when I’m losing I don’t feel too bad. I love the art in Team Fortress 2. Huge draw.

5) Is it because there are many different classes?

Yes. Variety is a good thing and hardly ever hurts (unless you have way too much, like in DoTA). Nine distinct, unique classes is a good number and it manages to accommodate many different styles of gameplay. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of the Spy’s gameplay, though I occasionally dabble in the Scout, the Heavy and the Medic. (I never touch the Soldier, the Sniper or the Demoman.) In addition, the ability to switch your class anytime you want (well, in the resupply room or when you’ve just spawned) with no hassle is a great boon for gamers like me (read: gamers who completely suck). Big draw for me as well.

I think that’s enough for today. It’s 1:30 AM in the morning and my uncle is arriving from Hong Kong tonight, so I should be sleeping now. But let me just sum up what makes TF2 fun for me:  its varied classes, its art direction and its spontaneity. Yet it’s integral FPS gameplay is a real downer. A feature to toggle between third-person and first-person would be very well recieved by yours truly.

So, what game to buy next? A third-person, multiplayer RPG game with a cel-shaded art style. Where can I find one of those..?

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