The Quest for the Orange Box
Tuesday – October 9, 2007
I make my way towards the local Best Buy over lunch to look for the Orange Box. Upon arriving at the store, I only see copies of Half Life 2. No Orange Box. I ask the local sales person if the Orange Box has arrived to the store and she looks at me a bit perplexed. After some waiting and confirmation from the shipping folks, they are not expecting any copies of the Orange Box at least until Wednesday afternoon.
Thinking Best Buy help is a bit slow, I head to the local EB Games and received the same information. The clerk further elaborated about how companies like to put the ‘release date’ as the ship date and most retailers do not receive the games until at least 1 day after the ship date. He then asks if I would like to place a preorder, and I decline.
Wednesday – October 10, 2007
The work rush kicks in, leaving me no time for lunch and ultimately no time to pickup the game.
On the drive home after work, I stop into Best Buy. Again, no Orange Boxes on the shelves for the PC version, but many for the Xbox 360 version. Personally, I prefer to play first person shooter type games on the PC. The accuracy and precision of a keyboard and mouse work for me. I guess I’m thumb-control-challenged ;). Asking around, all sales people tell me what they have is on the shelves.
With the motivation still flowing, I head over the another EB Games. Stepping into the door, I tell the sales person I’m here for the PC version of the Orange Box. He asks if I have a pre-order with them and I say no. Apologetically, he tells me they only have enough copies for the pre-orders. What a load of BULL! I know they have more, but they play this pre-order game business.
Driving home upset, I decide to smite the local retailers and go the digital distribution route via Valve’s Steam service. I place my order and noticed I also get another Steam delivered game, Peggle Extreme.
Later that evening, the downloads are still running, so I play a bit of World of Warcraft and get my alchemy skill up to where I can finally transmute. Yeah!
Thursday – October 11, 2007
After dinner I work a bit on my fish tank (more on that later). Afterwards, I finally get a chance to load up Team Fortress 2 (TF2), the whole reason for getting the Orange Box. I am greeted by the cartoony cell-shaded graphics and the nostalgic menus of looking for servers presents itself.
It’s been such a long time since I played first person shooters. In fact, it’s probably been over a year or so since my last match in Call of Duty 2. After finding a server with a low ping that is not full nor password protected, I am prompted to choose my class. Instantly I choose a medic, as this was my class of choice in Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RTCW).
I’m not sure why, but I seem to have an affinity towards support roles. Even in World of Warcraft, the character class I chose first was a priest. I still my play my priest to this day, however my hunter has surpassed my priest by about 5 levels. Not too shabby, but I enjoy both classes, especially now that I can go into ShadowForm with my priest, which makes my look all ethereal in a purple haze.
So, back to being a medic. After the match starts, I notice I only have 3 choices for a weapon. The first one being some type of gun, the second one is my ‘medic gun’ and the third being the melee weapon, the bone cutter (looks like a hacksaw). Instantly, I hear cries for medical assistance so I look for my team mates. I find a heavy soldier carrying a Gatling gun in the heat of battle. I position myself in a tiny crevice and begin shooting him with my healing gun.
In RTCW, I healed players by dropping health packs for them to pick up. In TF2, I ‘shoot’ a healing stream at my team mate. The healing stream reminds me of the guns in Ghost Busters because it looks like a blue ray that connects me with my healing target. If my target moves, I must follow or the healing stream breaks. It’s quite comical seeing players run around with a medic attached to them, almost like a little doggy on a leash.
The controls are intuitive so I am able to easily switch between my healing weapon and my battle weapon. Though I might as well not have a weapon since my battle gun is like a little pea shooter compared to the other weapons in the game.
I play for about 45 mins and stop because I started getting a bit nauseous. I forgot about the ‘break-in’ time of adapting to the quick motion-sickness-inducing visuals of first person shooters. To ease myself back to the norm, I log onto World of Warcraft to check mail and do some crafting.
Overall, TF2 was fun and I look forward to trying out the other classes in the game. I’m actually dying to try out the Engineer class so I can build guns and stuff.