“America’s #1 war-themed hat simulator”


For those of you not in the gaming community, that title could only refer to one game, Team Fortress 2. A first person shooter developed by a team that had this to say about their work:

“Spanning 119 updates of ongoing development, the Team Fortress 2 team has maintained its unswerving commitment to our user base: to put more hats per square inch in our game than any other piece of media in human history. We’ve probably improved gameplay and added a new game mode or map here and there too–most likely by accident, while trying to upload something hat-based.”

If you have any sense of whimsy about you, how can you not be charmed by that?

Speaking of whimsy, each character has a video intro, this being that of the soldier:

Obviously, whimsy doesn’t exclude gore. But that’s not what makes me uneasy. I really love playing this game, but there are a couple of problems:

None of the characters are female, with the possible exception of the pyro. And if the one female character is rendered incapable of speech by a gas mask, how would that be better? Some female equivalents of the current characters would be welcome.

Some treatments of this subject:

Meet the (Newer, Sexier) Team

Lady Heavy: Gender Representation in TF2?

The other thing is the chat. This is my one online game- so I don’t know how it compares to other communities- but outside of youtube comments, I’ve never seen such a morass of racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic idiocy as in the offhand- or trolling- comments made in game.

That is not to say that the majority of the people playing make such comments, or even that the majority of people commenting are making such comments, but just that the ones who do are so loud and persistent that it dominates the tone of the room. I know, I can block them so I don’t have to notice, but I wonder if that’s why it thrives. Maybe everyone who objects blocks the offenders on principle, so anybody new to the game doesn’t see any objections. It makes it seem as though maybe everyone approves, or at least doesn’t disapprove enough to say anything. Maybe I just have a bad case of SIWOTI syndrome, but that is troubling.



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