“Good day, sir. Say, that’s a fine hat you’re wearing.”
“Would you mind if I tried it on?”
“Beg your pardon, I daresay you’re a madman, sir. You? Try on my hat? What would the lawman think?!”
“By my best estimation, good sir, the lawman would hum a gay tune, tip his own headpiece, and go about his business. Why, didn’t you hear? Today’s the day the proposed law of Wearing Another Gentleman’s Hat has graduated into canon law!”
Here at Tap-Repeatedly we partake in our fair share of worship at the Altar of Valve. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. As video game developers, when they indulge in the rare tradition of actually developing a video game, it’s usually pretty great. Half-Life gave us death-by-crowbar and the now-obligatory part of a first person shooter where you don’t have a gun; Half-Life 2 gave us that part at the end of the game where the gravity gun lets you shoot combine soldier corpses at other, less deceased, combine soldiers, which sort of created a blissful cycle of infinite corpse-ammunition. That was ecstasy.
Then of course there was an epoch: Portal. It was like that moment in 1991 when Nirvana’s Nevermind unleashed itself upon largely unsuspecting audiences. Each critically acclaimed, though approached modestly by their creators, no one could have foreseen how much general douchebaggery would follow in the wake of these respective, seminal moments. Enough alterna-rock/nu-metal bands and cake memes to make even the most intrepid alien explorer abandon his mission of seeking other lifeforms in the galaxy, instead turning to a life of prostitution just to buy those spare parts and get his ship the hell out of our solar system. [If anyone from the Internet Preservation Society for Posterity read that last sentence, please note that I’d like to submit it to be known as what was potentially the most scathing sentence ever uttered versus the War Crimes Against Humanity known as “Alterna-Rock,” “Nu-metal,” and “cake memes.” Thank you. -X]
And not to forget those other games they made, probably all on one Tuesday lunch break in April. (See: Team Fortress 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2, and the upcoming DotA 2). If there’s a pattern to Valve’s all-too-infrequent game development, it’s that the numbers “four” and “two” hold some unknown, sinister quality.
In addition, there’s that other thing Valve did when they were bored some Friday afternoon: Steam. Also known as the savior of PC gaming. It used to be a bit shit, as my pal Gregg would say, but if you simply pretend that 2004-2007 didn’t really exist, then yeah, Steam is pretty much perfect too. Fuck.
The problem with being an immaculate bunch of blowhards (I jest!), however, is that the moment you do anything less than awe-inspiring, you’re going to hear about it from all those clamoring gas-bags who fund your swanky office’s foosball tables and tanning beds.
Well, STRIKE-TWO, folks. First they come into my perfectly balanced match of TF2 and foul it up by endowing everyone with top hats and Groucho masks, turning the once-pristine character models into a bowl of scrambled eggs. Next, this evening upon entering Steam, I’m greeted by the wonderful news that not only is the nonsense world of hat-fetishism thriving and jolly, I can now trade my hats and other useless virtual bloat with like-minded internet denizens!!! Oh joy of joys! Valve, you devils, this is just what Steam needed! The ability for person A to transmit his or her digital rubbish to person B!!
I for one welcome this robust enhancement, all whilst scoffing at hypothetically useful, wished-for features such as trading actual games (with fair-to-all, rational limitations, of course). Come on, Valve, you can do better than this meta-game crap. We, the people, demand better!*
*I hereby reserve the right to recant the preceding sarcastic rant if this trading business turns into something.
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