Scream Fortress VIII (EIGHT? Oh God, We Are Old)

Scream Fortress VIII

Team Fortress 2‘s [official site] annual Hallowe’en festivities are upon us and, although there are nowhere near as many of them as Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror episodes, the Roman numerals are still contriving to make Alice feel hideously old. So that’s something!

So what’s the haps this Hallowe’en-tide?

Well, the TF2 team are actually working on other things like a new update and campaign so this is more of a ghosts of Scream Fortresses Past type thing where “every past Scream Fortress event will rise from the dead to terrorize your computers for a limited, horrifying time” along with a few new bits and bobs thanks to community maps and accompanying contracts:

“Three new Halloween maps! All classic Scream Fortress Maps! All-new contracts! New taunts! And a Creepy Crawly Case with the chance to get our newest unholy Halloween creation: a taunt Unusualifier!”

Now, Team Fortress 2 feels like one of those games I was slightly too late to the party for given when I got back into PC gaming and it’s now developed to the point where it sounds incomprehensible and everyone I know who plays it is of a level where a beginner just can’t even keep up. For me it’s more of a digital comics franchise at this point, and I do enjoy that side!

Oh – I almost forgot the Hallowe’en loot info:

“For the duration of the event, all unusual cosmetics that you unbox from any case or crate will have a Halloween 2016 unusual effect, and the chances of receiving an unusual cosmetic across all cases, even old ones, will be DOUBLED. It’s usually single! That’s TWICE as many chances! And that’s terrifying!”

I think Hallowe’en loot is the thing that’s starting to interest me in these Hallowe’en modes in games. One of Hallowe’en’s key traditions is trick or treating. Ostensibly, you threaten people into giving you treats by doorstepping them in a creepy outfit and being prepared to play a trick on them if they don’t oblige. The trick part has never really been prominent in my experience, but it exists in the language of the event so it bothers me that so few people seem inclined to even consider its possibilities.

The reality is that if you call a child’s bluff and say “trick” they tend to look really panicked. If they’re under eight and have a parent in tow their parent tends to look really cross with you, like you’ve ruined Hallowe’en for everyone by not showering their small child with fruit salad chews the second they wandered up to your house in some fifty pence witch hat that’s seen better days.

I sometimes feel like I should take on the task of reinstating the trick part, dressing up in a hideous outfit and making the children choose between a trick or a treat. Imagine it! Children are primed to want to know what the trick is so you’d probably get to keep most of the candy and they would have to put their hand into the trick bag filled with rotting vegetation in order to pull out something disgusting or mouldy or dead.

I mean, what good is a threat if everyone knows you won’t make good on it?

Reading that passage back, I feel like this is how you end up the villain in a fairy story. You try to teach children a valuable lesson about the world and then suddenly you’re a terrifying witch and two children are pushing you into an oven while the village rejoices.

ANYWAY. Loot boxes feel like a really good representation of that trick-less attitude to Halloween. You get a prize or you get a better prize. Where’s the horror? Where’s Pip’s Rotting Bag Of Terror?

Here are the full patch notes. GO AWAY.


  1. Neurotic says:

    There was a I-VII?

    • Xenotone says:

      Yeah I don’t even think I’ve played this game in 8 years. Youngsters with their reaction times and motor skills

  2. MrFinnishDude says:

    Apparently the community is complaining about this update or something.
    Not that I’d know, I stopped playing TF2 after overwatch came out. Ending a six year streak of “playing-nothing-but-tf2-ever”.

  3. Starhelm says:

    Yeah… I’ve played 40+ hours since the update landed. Not a single crate drop, no contracts in sight. Still, these things are showing up for a few people, and I think that’s what’s made everyone mad.

  4. Tinotoin says:

    Back when I was a young ‘un, you had to sing a song or tell a joke or something equally mirth-worthy before you got any loot which my older brother inevitably stole.

  5. Rizlar says:

    Think you underestimate the grounded logic of a child’s thought processes. Sure, they will be intrigued by the prospect of a trick, but when sweets are on the table it’s gonna be sweets. And then they will probably ask to see the trick as well.

    But yeah, bring back tricks! If these kids aren’t prepared to egg and toilet roll your house to get their way then they don’t deserve any sweeties.

  6. wyrm4701 says:

    None of the features of the Hallowe’en event seem to be working this year. There aren’t any contracts or drops, so I guess what’s actually missing is the entire incentive to participate. It’s disappointing that Valve can’t even be bothered to get the only annual TF2 thing working (…again).

    • Jalan says:

      They’re clearly too busy cooking up another “Buy this coin/doodad/gewgaw/etc and access contracts to unlock 4 weapons max, with guaranteed duplicates (maybe even… TRIPLICATES) of each and a whole load of crates you’ll never make money off of through the marketplace because people have already saturated it and the prices have tanked below the asking price of what you bought to access the cases!” scheme. I mean, update. Yeah, update… that’s what I meant.

      (I write the above in a semi-joking but otherwise cynical fashion, since I wasn’t entirely opposed to the previous ones but at this point I’m burned out on it to where I can’t even bother to try and find a valid point to defend it anymore)

      • Distec says:

        Every time I see one of those stupid “Pay For The Opportunity To Get Random Shit” promos, it puts me off ever touching the game again.

        I’ve come a long way from being fine with the MannCo store. Somewhat funny witnessing my apathy slowly morph into a surprisingly bitter resentment. Also rather sad since I loved TF2 and still do kinda like it. I know all of this is technically optional, but fuck me do I hate looking at it.

    • April March says:

      Oh, so that’s why I’m not getting contracts. I mean… I still don’t know why I’m not getting contracts, but at least now I know it’s not something I specifically am doing wrong. I couldn’t remember if I had to do something to unlock the contracts. I mean, that was like a year ago!

  7. April March says:

    Man, if there’s one competitive shooter that a newbie has a fighting chance after like ten years it’s TF2.

    Then again, the comics are also great. I like the part where the girl defused a hostage situation by punching the hostage so hard her head whipped back and knocked out the gunman.