Valve's Orange Box -- A Great Way to Spend Less Time With Friends and Family

First off, add me as friend over on Steam Community!

If the little things in life like spending quality time with family, friends, pets, etc are important to you then I would highly recommend not purchasing the latest offering from Valve Software: The Orange Box. The majority of my weekend has been spent playing a smattering of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Of the 3, I've spent most of the time playing Portal which from a purely gameplay point of view is one of the more amazing games I've ever played. I see it as more of a proof of concept and am sure Valve will be incorporating some of the coolness factor exhibited within in future titles.

Half-Life 2 E2 is of course pretty amazing as well. It's easy to see that some portions of the gaming engine have been rewritten and registers pretty high on the coolness factor. It is simply amazing looking, and is fairly lean as well as it runs very nicely on my aging ATI 1950 Pro video card with all settings maxed out.

And then there is Team Fortress 2. I purposely waited until late last night after the dogs/girlfriend went to sleep before firing it up for the first time. I have not played the original Team Fortress, so the whole concept was pretty new to me; it took a few rounds to get the hang of the overall gameplay. Needless to say, from a playability standpoint it is one of the more enthralling games I've played recently. The Spy Class is without a doubt the most fun role to play. For a good overview of the different classes, check out IGN's "Class Warfare" primer.

If you'd like to add me as a buddy on Steam, check out my profile over on Steam Community and add me as a friend (note: I still suck at TF2, so bear with me).

I haven't even finished Bioshock yet, and am now pretty sure it'll be quite some time before I do. Thank you Valve...when my loved ones send out a search party for lack of communication with me over the coming weeks, I'll blame you guys!