Team Fortress Classic, Team Fortress 2, and Overwatch have defined my gaming career. TFC was the first online multiplayer game I ever played, TF2 will forever be my most-played game with over 3400 hours clocked, and Overwatch was my flagship title when I started getting really serious about creating GIFs, videos, and overall promoting myself within the gaming community. In any game I play, I’ve always considered the “first life” something worth remembering, since it’s my very first story told from beginning to end within the confines of this new universe.

I actually played TFClassic first, even though I started my multiplayer gaming career in 2011. It was while I was studying abroad in Britain, I’d recently purchased the Orange Box and Half-Life anthology as my first ever Steam purchase (unless you count a free copy of Portal), and I needed a multiplayer game my crappy laptop could handle, plus I was attracted to the Half-Life old school graphics so TFC it was. I spawned as Medic on a server running the custom map odyssey (picked solely due to my love of Greek mythology), and I experimentally cycled through my inventory before deciding to wield the silver shotgun into battle. The first player I met was an enemy Heavyweapons Guy in the lower level of my team’s base, who I fired at ineffectually while he ran in circles ignoring me. I eventually finished him off with my nailgun after running out of shotgun ammo (my aim was garbage), but next time he arrived he mowed me down with his minigun. It was a few hours later I realized everybody on the server, including him, was a bot.

I can’t remember for sure, but I was on Blue so it probably happened somewhere around here.

My first time playing TF2 happened when I returned to America. In my absence my roommate had been playing the game obsessively on my desktop, so she’d already unlocked the Kritzkrieg and even the Prussian Pickelhaube. She knew I wanted to play Medic, so put me on Upward as RED with the Kritzkrieg. The second the gates opened, I ubered a heavy standing next to the cart and raged when I died instantly to a headshot, because I didn’t understand why I hadn’t turned invincible. Good times…

Pretty sure I was standing right about here
Pretty sure I was standing right about here for the entire millisecond my first life lasted.

Overwatch was, of course, many years later. The hype was in full swing when Blizzard announced the open beta, and I was eager to jump into a growing community on the ground level. On May 5th 2016, Medic and I grouped up and queued into a Vs AI match, where both of us played Mercy against bots. It was laughably easy, and we didn’t break a sweat defending the first point of Anubis until the time ran out. I actually found Mercy pretty lackluster; her Caduceus staff‘s damage-boost was a nice way to feel useful when everyone was at full health, but it didn’t seem as good as the Medigun’s overheal. And I hated using her pistol, which felt needlessly weak compared to the Crusader’s Crossbow. Even when I graduated to Quickplay and found much more exciting matches, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to love Overwatch’s gameplay indefinitely like I had Team Fortress 2’s. Of course, shortly after that I discovered how amazing Lucio is, and those fears were forever quashed.

Anubis is still one of my least-favorite maps though.

I don’t even want to think about how many lives I’ve had since these three, but they all had to start somewhere. None of them were even particularly good experiences, but that’s almost a testament to these three games. Even at their worst, their core value shined through and kept me coming back for more.

Oh, and as for my first life in Quake Team Fortress, that actually happened just a few days ago…