Bravo Dashner.. bravo Uberchain. This was well and truly wonderful.
In the wake of this documentary, I am compelled to share my appreciation for what this game means to me and I would encourage any and all of you to do the same.
I will also be touching on the past, present and future of competitive gaming.
I have come to terms with the fact that Team Fortress 2 has been a cornerstone in my life and that it may never be replaced. The impact that it has had on my life is long-standing and the memories I have are many and fond. The players and community are unrivaled in their passion, as evidenced tonight and over the past decade.
I want to talk a little bit about why, and how TF2 came to mean so much to us as a community. Game development is an ever-evolving art. It is not concrete and there is no book with all the answers. As we know, TF2 was not designed to be a competitive game and there was no way for Valve to predict the emergence of a competitive scene within their game with as much vigor and die-hard passion as ours. At the time, it wasn't a developmental standard to have a competitive mode (or queue) baked in to a game. Professional competitive gaming was only eclipsing the horizon of real-world viability and game developers approached (sometimes too) cautiously.
We forged our own competitive community and through blood, sweat and tears, we kept the smoldering embers of competitive TF2 alive. In the face of Valve who refused to acknowledge us, we soldiered on. We accomplished incredible things. Through these accomplishments, we became a brotherhood, united by a single goal-- to keep our passion alive. To anyone who partook in our passion, they quickly became a member and so our family grew. Fostering one of the most accepting and inclusive competitive gaming communities.
Gaming has since become more mainstream. Games were once primarily developed by passionate people who just wanted to play the games they made. Now, it is a massive industry. Big enough rival the struggling film industry to attract the attention of real-world investors like Kraft and Jack In The Box. If gaming is to attract the amount of eyes necessary to maintain a fiscal relationship with large corporations, it needs be streamlined. With that, comes a cold, corporate grasp.
Enter the era of KRUSHER99 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aSZQnZz_fQ). Small communities become large. You once knew everyone's faces but now there are too many to recognize. The quaint, down-home feel of a community-driven game that should and could have been competitive fades into obscurity.
If you are here, on this site, you are not a casual gamer. You went out of your way to seek resources to become better at a game that you enjoy. Unfortunately, what we want is no longer relevant. We want a game with a high skill ceiling and no hand holding but that is no longer marketable. The market is oversaturated with casual-friendly games. Why painstakingly learn how to aim in TF2 when I can press Q on Soldier 76 and get a downloadable play of the game? Casuals pay the bills-- and where the casuals go, the money goes.
That's enough doomsaying.
TF2 changed the course of my life. I made friendships that are still maintained because of it. I moved to Canada for three years because of it. I traveled the world because of it. I'm a game designer because of it. My life has been molded by this wonderful game and one day I will pay it forward.
What we had and continue have is special. Small, ardent communities like this will not last forever. Cherish it until its flame is snuffed.
This is to you, TF2.