One eyed black scottishmen that love explosives are funny right?
October 31, 2012 7:44 AM   Subscribe

How would you describe the style of humor displayed in team fortress 2?

I'm trying to explain the game to a friend and get her to start playing. And for the life of me I can't give a nice summary of the style of humor that permeates the game and its lore.

Can anyone help me accurately summarize the humor in the game?
posted by tylerfulltilt to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by bondcliff at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2012

posted by pharm at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ironic absurdity?
posted by DoubleLune at 7:46 AM on October 31, 2012

Send her any (or all) of the "Meet The" videos. I especially liked Meet The Soldier. "Unless it's a farm!"
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:46 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

But yeah - irreverent and cartoonish.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:47 AM on October 31, 2012

And in the case of the Pyro, irreverent, cartoonish and surreal.
posted by fearnothing at 7:52 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Violent slapstick.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:00 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the recommendation to send her the "Meet The" videos! I'm a lady non-gamer who started playing TF2 specifically because of how spectacular they are, and managed to convert at least four friends using the same method.
posted by brieche at 8:10 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow. I play TF2, and think too much, and yet it's hard to pin down. I'd go with the suggestion to watch the videos. Of course, the actual game-play isn't nearly as amusing. I'm always too busy trying to keep a spy from sapping my sentry.

To try to convey it in shorthand, I'd say it reminds me of the better Warner Bros. cartoons. I think it takes the ultra-serious FPS idea and somewhat stands it on its head, subverts it - by taking as a conceit that each character type has a screw loose in a somewhat different way. And like the better cartoons, if you get to know the character, there is a consistency in how they're "off." Like DWRoelands said, violent slapstick, which is again a WB trait. Also, each character kinda "plays" a stereotypical nationality.

In conclusion, I want a sentry gun for my office.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:17 AM on October 31, 2012

"Violent slapstick featuring broad stereotypes" works for my. I'd caution against overselling that aspect, though - if she expects playing the game to be like watching "Meet the Team," the actual experience will be a disappointment (or at least a sharp swerve from her expectations).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:29 AM on October 31, 2012

Violent slapstick, yes, but also I'd mention that it's all very lighthearted. I get the feeling that a lot of multiplayer FPS games are much more SERIOUS BIZNESS. Sometimes I just fire up TF2 for 5 or 10 minutes of dropping into a game, blowing some shit up, and then leaving.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:46 AM on October 31, 2012

Oh, and a big part of what drew me to TF2 is the active and often hilarious community, which, depending on her gaming experience, your friend might find appealing. While there's a pretty big difference between the "Meet the" videos and the actual gameplay, you could consider linking player-made (non-frag) videos as well, which can be nicely representative of the game's irreverent, absurd spirit— plus you'll have an excuse to explain the gameplay basics to her. Some of my recent-ish favorites (that don't require too much preexisting knowledge):

- TF2 : Best Class
- My Magnum Opus
- TF2 Sniper_Stomper
- Ninjaneer Chronicles #21 - The Final Frontier
- Ninjaneer Chronicles #24 - The Badwater Classic (I'm a HUGE fan of this series of videos, they're terrifically edited)
- skip to my lou
- TF2 Axel's big push
- teamwork
- A Flock of Soldiers
- nope.avi (it's a classic)

I particularly love the Meet the Heavy videos that flooded YouTube immediately after SFM came out, but they require an understanding of game/community tropes to fully appreciate.
- Meet the Modern Heavy
- Stop Meeting the Heavy
- Heavy Looses [sp] an IQ

This comment kind of turned into a trip through YouTube favorites memory lane for me (had to stop on page 4, ahaha, sigh), but hopefully you'll find something entertaining in here even if just for yourself?

YMMV, as I could (...and sometimes do...) watch people play video games all day.
posted by brieche at 9:35 AM on October 31, 2012

I think there is an element of retro camp that goes along with the slapstick elements too. Many of the characters have design elements that harken back to somebody's fever-dream of the swinging 60's. (Spy in particular, but the soldier and heavy have it too).
posted by cosmicbandito at 10:12 AM on October 31, 2012

This probably goes without saying, but what is important here isn't really the label (irreverent retro slapstick cartoonist violence), but how it transforms the game. The style and presentation does for TF2 what the Roadrunner cartoon does for homicidal stalking: it turns it from something that could be a little disturbing, serious, dark, and off-putting, into a lighthearted and engaging bit of fun with much more universal appeal. It softens all of the potential edges and provides a reason to be interested and to care. As with most good art and all good jokes, it really has to be experienced to be appreciated.
posted by Tallguy at 10:48 AM on October 31, 2012 [4 favorites]

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