The Blend Games staff conferred on some magical lists to end the year that was 2007, and we still have a few up our sleeves. Aside from getting together and arguing, each writer on staff also has their personal memories of gaming in the past year. Over the next week or so we’ll feature a little something from each member.

Today starts off with Pete Haas waxing poetic about his nearly unhealthy obsession with Team Fortress 2. At least the game that inspired him most was a good one. We would have had to revoke his membership to the cool kidz (with a “z” because it’s edgy) club if he threw a little Alien Syndrome love our way.

Shhh…let’s listen as Pete tells us his tale. Grab your scotch and cigar, take a seat in the corner chair and enjoy the first in our series of 2007 Retrospectives.

My Favorite Part of 2007: Spies Sapping My Sentry
By Pete Haas

For the last quarter of 2007, every conversation I had about gaming ended with me kissing Team Fortress 2’s ass. I’ve probably lavished more praise on it than any other game I’ve played, including the original Team Fortress Classic, one of the most revolutionary multiplayer shooters ever made. TF2 is essentially a remake of TFC, albeit a very well done remake with inspired art direction and streamlined gameplay. I’m very aware of this, but TF2 still remains on a pedestal for me. Maybe it’s because I was convinced the game would never actually be made.

Every year Wired News publishes a list of the most notorious “vaporware” – software and hardware that seems to never materialize even after years of development. For the seven years of its development, Team Fortress 2 made numerous appearances on Wired’s list. The multiplayer shooter landscape steadily filled with strong competitors over these years, and games like Tribes and Battlefield 1942 added another dimension to the genre with controllable vehicles and turrets. With my limited understanding of game development, I imagined the TF2 design team at Valve seeing trailers of other shooters and saying “Well, crap, back to the drawing board. We need airplanes now.” The example of Daikatana, released in 2000, was fresh in my mind. Ion Storm had set the game’s development back a year by porting it to the Quake II engine in order to keep up with competitors technologically (among other delays). I pushed TF2 back into the “wouldn’t it be cool if this actually existed?” part of my brain, along with chocolate-covered lightsabers.

Lo and behold, Team Fortress 2 was released this October with no vehicles and less weapons than the original and it kicked ass. Granted, the fact that it was bundled with Portal and the entire Half-Life 2 series put me in a good mood to begin with, but TF2 is the part of the Orange Box I’ll still be playing well into 2008. While it’s satisfying to get your hands on a game that goes through such a long development, it’s rare that the game actually lives up to expectations after all that time. The end of 2007 also saw teaser trailers for long-awaited sequels such as Fallout 3, Deus Ex 3 and Duke Nukem Forever. Teaser trailers reveal next to nothing about the games themselves but it’s comforting to see that someone is actually working on making these games into more than just fanboys’ daydreams. Fallout 3 is slated for release in the fall of 2008. Maybe Bethesda will make that release date and give me something else to yammer about endlessly.

For more listings and opinions of the past year by the staff visit our Best Of 2007 coverage, located in a single, handy, story right here.

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