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An Apple A Day

It's important to make it clear at the start that I'm very bad at Team Fortress 2. I'm pretty bad at most online shooters, with the odd exception of Quake 3, where back in the day I was: alright. That's not to say I don't enjoy them - I just don't do very well in them. It's also not to say I'm no good at shooters. Offline, single player, I'm fine. I think the point is, everyone else is a lot better than me, and so I die a lot.

With that out the way, I'd like to make an appeal: Please, Medics, don't ubercharge me.

You can't even hide behind them.

I can't handle the pressure. You might think a burst of invincibility is exactly what I need, but the moment I see that percentage figure appear on the screen, I fall to pieces. Suddenly I'm no longer able to just muddle along in my own remarkably embarrassing fashion, heading in entirely the wrong direction, or trying to capture a protected base, but instead I'm beholden to another player.

There's still a thimble of anonymity in a ten-man team. I can muddle along at the bottom of the scoreboard, the unheard sighs of my teammates not affecting me as I blow myself up with a rocket, or press the wrong button and turn invisible in front of the entire opposing team. But once that wispy stream of healing magic is attached to me, I'm done for. It's too much. And I spontaneously do the stupidest thing imaginable, which normally involves falling off a cliff, or standing stock still in front of an enemy sentry.

You're heroes, you really are. Just not mine.

I'm suddenly exposed. It's like when I drive. I've no sense of direction to the point where I can get lost going up a flight of stairs. In a car, my average trip involves about thirty-four hasty turns in other people's driveways or dodgy U-turns in wide junctions. And that's fine on my own - I'm used to me, and my exceptional incompetence. But the moment there's someone else in the car, my uselessness is exposed. "Oh, sorry, yes - this is just sort of how it works with me." And they glance at the door handle and regret their decision. I'm a good driver - safe, capable. I just don't drive in the direction I need to go. That Medic behind me is that passenger. In fact, worse, he's the teacher in an exam, who suddenly looms behind your shoulder looking at what you're writing, and you forget anything you might have revised.

Go heal the sick.

It's too much! I never know when I'm invincible, and then infuriate the more capable player who thought to give me this opportunity by standing facing a wall throughout my immortality. I hear people telling stories, where they say, "I couldn't believe this idiot. I ubercharged him, and all he did was go and get first aid!" And I bow my head and feel sympathy for that mocked player, knowing that he too can't handle the weight of responsibility.

Admittedly if I play Heavy, I'm asking for it.

So please don't ubercharge me. Clearly it's not worth your time, but more, it's ruining mine. Sure, I know how ungrateful I sound, and I promise, it's not a criticism of you at all. It really is me. There are other people more deserving of your attention and effort. I, meanwhile, will be getting killed by the same sentry eight times in a row before I remember where it is.

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About the Author
John Walker avatar

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run buried-treasure.org

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