Fifteen Years ago, Valve had released The Orange Box, which debuted three classic games. Portal, Team Fortress 2 and Half Life 2: Episode 2.
October 10 is one of the most important dates in the gaming industry. It’s the date which played an important role in shaping gaming as we know it.
Fifteen years ago, on October 10, 2007, Valve released The Orange Box. The Orange Box came with many titles. These titles included previously released Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode 1. However, The Orange Box also debuted three new games. The original Portal, Team Fortress 2 and Half Life 2 Episode 2.
The Portal game was a surprise release. It’s a first person puzzle platformer game set in the Half Life universe, having its own story and gameplay mechanics completely different from the Half Life series.
It follows a non-verbal female protagonist Chell who is somehow trapped inside a science facility which has no humans to be found anywhere, only clues of their previous existence. There’s also a AI robot named GlaDOS who communicates, guides, abuses, pokes fun on our protagonist Chell.
In it, Chell is given a portal opening gun, where the player has to shoot on surfaces to open two portals, one blue, one orange. The player can enter either of the portals to come out of the other portal. One has to use these portals to reach the obstructed and otherwise unreachable places.
The game takes place in various parts of the Aperture Science research facilities. These facilities have different test chambers which the player needs to solve in order for the game to progress further. These test chambers get more and more hostile as the game progresses. All the time, GlaDOS is in player’s ears communicating to them. It’s only later that GlaDOS’s real intentions are revealed.
The original Portal game was short, however, very complex and adsorbed the players completely with its gameplay, story and narration. So good was its gameplay and story, that it went onto win many gaming awards.
Later Valve went on to make its successor, Portal 2, which is not only longer and larger, but has more gameplay mechanics and also has extraordinary story. So much so that Portal 2 is considered to be one of the greatest game ever made. After Portal 2, Valve hasn’t made any normal non-VR, single player AAA game. The development of Portal 2, however, all started from the release of the original Portal.
Not to forget, Portal’s credits (spoiler alert beware) also gave us this unbelievably marvelous song, sung by none other than GlaDOS herself.
We suggest everyone to play Portal and Portal 2 to feel and understand what levels of greatness can game making reach.
Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is a successor to the original Team Fortress Classic (TFC) game. Just like its predecessor, it’s a team based online multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) game with class based gameplay. While TFC had realistic graphics, TF2 came with a cartoon-y one. Many people had questions over TF2 cartoon-y graphics and gameplay mechanics, but all those doubts were discarded when people actually got their hands on the game.
Team Fortress 2 has two teams, red and blue, fighting against each other. It allows players to choose from 9 different classes. Each unique to its own. Each having their own pros and cons. It allows the player to choose anyone of those classes and switch to any class whenever they want when in spawn.
Team Fortress 2’s wacky graphics and now free to play gameplay means that it attracts a huge amount of players even now. In fact, as per the official Steam Charts, TF2 remains one of the most played game on Steam, attracting over a 100 thousand players each day.
Team Fortress 2 comes with a huge amount of maps. With more and more getting introduced years later. So much so is the following that TF2 has a huge marketplace which allows players to create mods, maps and taunts (like the one above) for the game. Many of which Valve has officially added to the game.
However, in spite of such a high following and players, Valve seems to have almost abandoned the game. Official massive updates, including promised ones, are nowhere to be seen from years. New maps are not created by Valve anymore, they rely on community made ones to push new updates. Bugs take years to fix.
So much so was Valve’s ignorance of TF2’s problems, that in recent years a huge amount of game destroying bots had taken over TF2. It happened after the source code of the game was leaked. These annoying bots were completely ignored by Valve until very recently, when TF2 players had enough and started a massive #savetf2 campaign. It caused Valve’s developers to finally wake up and subsequently fix the bot problem through various changes.
Team Fortress 2 also comes with a Man vs Machine (MvM) mode. Where players together join a team and together fight the invading AI robots in a specific MvM mode with MvM specific maps.
The funny, cartoon-y gameplay of TF2 is not alone in all the things about the game. Team Fortress 2’s developers, released introduction videos of various player classes.
These videos became an inspiration for the TF2 community. When Valve released their video creator Source Filmmaker, these classes became an important part of the software. The community took it with open arms and since then a huge amount of short, funny Team Fortress 2 based videos created in SFM have taken over YouTube. Some of them can be called excellent in film-making, like this one.
Another thing to mention about TF2 is that while it became free to play in 2011, it’s very cheap to get a premium account. Also, unlike many games, it does not massively differentiate between free and paid accounts and does not force users to pay. Yet, it comes with many weapons, loot boxes and cosmetics (often community created) players can buy. Making it one of the biggest contributors to Valve’s overall earnings.
Team Fortress 2, it’s cartoony, funny and wacky graphics and gameplay remains one of the most important contribution to the world of FPS multiplayer gaming. It set a standard far before any new currently famous online game even came to the scene.
We suggest everyone to try Team Fortress 2 at least once. It’s free. We are sure you will come back to us to thank us after about a few thousand hours of gameplay later.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Half-Life 2: Episode Two is a single player FPS game. It is a successor to Half-Life 2: Episode One, which was an extension to the original Half Life 2 game. It continues the story from where Episode One left. Not much can be said about the game without revealing its spoilers.
The game comes with less-linear gameplay, new areas. But had our same hero, Gordon Freeman, fighting the evil guys. The game was well received by the critics.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two is well known for two things. The game concluded on a cliffhanger and to be among the last games Valve made in the Half Life series. While, Valve did release Half-Life: Alyx after many years. It was a VR only game, unplayable for the masses and does not continue to the original story and instead concludes to the same one with a different character.
Because Half-Life 2: Episode Two concluded on a cliffhanger, many have called for Half-Life 2: Episode Three (which was cancelled later) or Half Life 3 to be made by Valve. But Valve seems to never listened. So much so is the demand and years of frustration and waiting by the fans that it has led to many humorous jokes in the gaming community. This includes the constant jokes like “Half Life 3 confirmed” and that “Valve cannot count till 3”. The reason possibly being Valve never releasing any game with 3 in its title or making any third game in the main series.
While Half Life 3 might never release. Valve has claimed it’s making three more games, whose release might be far away.
So meanwhile, we suggest everyone to give The Orange Box a try. Including the games which celebrates it’s anniversary today, having released 15 years ago. It is on sale many times in a year, too.
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