Our Medic has been doing a fine job running this blog. Seriously, she’s amazing. For almost two years now, The Daily SPUF has published a new article every single day, and Medic is personally responsible for both the majority of articles and pictures! SPUF cannot give her enough kudos, but, lately, she’s confessed to being tired. Running a daily blog longer than anyone on Friends held a single job is a repetitive chore with an ever-respawning deadline.

So I’m giving Medic a week-long break! And I’m going to do this by writing seven articles in one night. This night, to be exact. I’m turning this video on and I’ll let you know how far the video got once I’m done.

Now, there’s a reason I picked a video with Payday:The Heist music in it, and that’s because I haven’t touched TF2 in weeks. My computer actually can’t run it anymore, and let me tell you I am in a constant struggle for what little space I’ve got left on the poor thing. When I want to play a new game, I’ve got to deinstall an old one, and TF2 wasn’t exactly friendly to my hard drive. So, the first Payday game has been perfectly filling that niche for me as a gun-shooty game with everything I love about Left 4 Dead 2 without me having to lose 13 GB of space.

Recently I’ve been digging the co-op games over the PvP ones. Perhaps it’s easier to compensate for poor computer performance with skill when the opponent is as predictable as an AI, but also I really love the sense of camaraderie that comes with plowing through hordes of zombies/cops with three random people on the internet. I will never know anything about who they are in real life, and they’ll never know me, but for 15-30 shining minutes, we became fire-forged teammates taking on the world and the most inseparable of companions. Until the campaign is over and they send me friend requests which I ignore because I know I’ll never talk to them again like I do everyone else who sends post-game friend requests.

Seriously though, I can’t recommend Payday: The Heist enough. Its sequel is a great game that’s climbed its way to the 19th most-played game on Steam, but you’re really missing the complete package if you don’t play the first one. For one, it’s way closer to the game that inspired the series, L4D2, and I consider that a serious plus. The RPG elements I complained about in my last article (and one before it) are replaced with a very simple tree where objectives=money=more weapon and equipment unlocks. You can unlock all the guns within the first day of playing the game, and then it just becomes a matter of choosing your playstyle from the options available. And those options are tight and specialized instead of infinitely-flooded. Every gun has its own useful role, and I doubt it’s a coincidence they almost perfectly coincide with the roles from Left 4 Dead 2.

Best of all, the earned experience points aren’t reliant on finishing the heist, which prevents that frustrating feeling of having wasted your time if the whole thing goes kablooey right at the end.  The heists are also all long and very cinema-inspired. Each one feels like the four players are surviving a crime movie, with plot developments and flashy explosions and escape sequences. Many of the heists from Payday 2, like Jewelry Store, just can’t evoke the same feelings, with comparatively simplistic “smash the wall in, grab the jewels, and run” plots.

The other thing I’ve recently been spending my free time doing is watching through the impressive annals of this videographer’s Youtube archives. Ahoy has apparently been making videos dedicated to guns in video gaming for over five years right now, and his mini-documentaries are riveting enough that I’ve spent over ten hours watching videos dedicated to guns in Call of Duty: Black Ops, a game I’ve never played and never will. He does an amazing job of seamlessly integrating knowledge on every featured weapon’s history both on and off the computer screen, and has got me in a very analytic mood. I’ve already had a short series where I looked at various pieces of FPS design, this time I think I’m going to get more specific and delve straight into the guns themselves, and the limited-yet-specialized rosters of Left 4 Dead 2 and Payday:The Heist give me a great opportunity to do that.

Team Fortress 2 will probably get a conciliatory paragraph at the end of each article also. It is what you’re all here for, after all, and Mann Vs. Machine qualifies it as a Horde mode co-op game.