Home Editorial Continuing the Spy Lesson Legacy

“WiNG, where’s your next Spy Video? Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is cool, but we want to see you slicing up backs in Team Fortress 2. It’s been scientifically proven to feature better hats than Brotherhood!”


The Jackal represents everything that is right and wrong in gaming. Also, he loves oat bran muffins.

While I’m not one to argue with science, I thought I’d take some time to address this, since it definitely comes up pretty often. And, after all, I do owe it consideration since my oldest and loyalist fans first knew of my work from these TF 2 Spy Lesson Videos (let’s face it, none of you watched Life in a Game despite the spam ads).

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m going to resign from Spy videos, or that I’m going to stop playing Team Fortress 2, or that I’m going to use the keylogger installed on your computers to steal your Steam account and own all of your hats. First of all, that’s ridiculous: the keylogger only works on credit card numbers. Secondly, I’m not quitting TF2 or playing Spy or sharing my espionage misadventures with the world, willingly or otherwise. I’ve just needed time to evaluate what I’m doing with my videos and how to best serve the online gaming community…

Finding Footage

The first and persistent problem with consistently making Spy videos is that getting footage is not easy. Don’t believe me? Go on YouTube and watch some Spy videos. Once you’ve recovered from the initial shock, I’m sure you’ll agree you don’t want my work to end up like that.

Since I started making Spy videos, I have stuck to my initial plan to only feature full-round playthroughs. Unlike other classes, the Spy’s gameplay revolves around second-by-second situational audibles that require timing, luck, aim, finesse, and the eternal blessings of Artemis. While many Spies are okay with throwing together a frag video and calling it a day, I don’t find that kind of footage compelling, instructional, or ripe for dry comedy.

Even when everything goes right, I often end a round and realize I didn’t record it. Or that I did, but the footage isn’t actually entertaining. Or it’s entertaining, but there’s nothing new to feature other than making more jokes insinuating I’m on the precipice of a mental breakdown. And while that has its value, pushing that vein of humor can only lead to actual mental breakdowns, which I’d prefer to avoid if at all possible.

You’ve Learned Much, Young Padawan

The other problem, of course, is that with every video, there becomes less and less I can actually teach anyone about successful Team Fortress 2 Spy strategy. Anyone who’s watched all or most of my videos knows the basic and intermediate skills and tactics, after all. And advanced moves like stairstabs and Ambassador headshots can’t be taught; you just need to practice them. Hell, I’m not even that good at those things!

While I can certainly pump out videos for humor alone, it drags a bit when there’s nothing of substance to interject. You’ve seen and played the same maps thousands of times, and you know all the Spy’s weapons and gadgets. Unless/until Valve releases some more unlocks for the Spy, what is there to say? Get behind people and stab the shit out of them. While I do intend to do at least one more video with some more detail on the Spy’s Saharan Set, there isn’t that much to say. It can basically be boiled down to “You can now perform stalk-stabs” and “I fucking hate this stupid hat.”

The Rest of the Team

Of course, there’s also the option of delving into other Team Fortress 2 class strategies. My only problem is: who? I’m not nearly as skilled as many competitive players are when it comes to Soldier, Scout, or Sniper. I always enjoy playing Gunslinger Engineer or Pyro, but would anyone actually want to watch such videos?

Feel free to tell me, because I have no clue!

Time is Money

The final consideration is simply that video editing takes a lot of time. Hours and hours and hours. If I had realized how bad it was, I would have never really expected my pal Dan to do so much for Life in a Game on such tight deadlines for ScrewAttack. That said, I can only make a certain number of videos every week/month, and I have to decide what to make based on the footage I have. And in order to get good footage, I have to play lots and lots of rounds of each game, be it TF2 or ACB or Super Street Fighter 4. And all that has to be fit around my other responsibilities to Elle, to my career, and to my fish. These stupid silver mollies aren’t going to feed themselves.

While I don’t make money off of my videos, I do have to weight what’s valuable to both me and to my audience. I hope I’m doing a good job of that, and based on the fact that my first real Assassin’s Creed video was my highest-viewed page of all time in less than 24 hours, I’d wager that this has some potential. But unless Ubisoft plans to release constant updates à la Valve with Team Fortress 2, my guess is that I’ll exhaust that game’s strategic and tactical considerations in a month or three, anyway.

Then what will I do? Portal 2? Guild Wars 2? Pac Man CE DX?

15 replies to this post
  1. I watched Life in a Game :V
    I started to visit this blog because of your Spy videos, but I prefer your AC and SSF videos. TF2 just got boring for me.

  2. I watched your Spy Videos, forgot to favourite them and subscribe, lost them all, found them again when you did the golden wrench stuff and then I applied to be a writer. I did know of Life in a Game (honest, I used to go on ScrewAttack a lot) but I just never watched it. Why? I was too busy scrawling YouTube for the damn Spy video that wasn’t just a kill compilation.

  3. Well if it is any comfort, while I enjoy your tf2 videos (it’s a scientific fact that a games awesome factor is equally proportional to the level of cosmetic items you can acquire in it, meaning hats… that and the new theory that a game is more awesome the more your mom hates it (check dead space 2 xD)), but I’ve been enjoying your assassin creed videos a lot.

    I never played AC before (yes I have that sin… although I now have SC2 to make up for it :P) and seeing you play has made me want to buy brotherhood and the previous games to check the story and “train” for the multiplayer experience once it pops up on pc… which will take a while yet but I’ll wait.

    So yeah, keep the videos rolling and I’ll be here to watch them =P

  4. I would enjoy any TF2 videos you release just because you made it, WiNG, Spy or not. It’s also nice that you started to add commentary in your recent videos, I’ve really enjoyed that – even the stuffshirts at GameFAQS liked your tongue-in-cheek Soldier video. Though the whole commentary aspect probably only complicates the whole editing process, I think it was a step in the right direction.

  5. WiNG, If I may say, conciser doing some “Let’s Play” style of TF2 videos whenever you get the urge to go stabby stabby again. I’ve been playing AC and AC2 now to get caught up for AssCreed: Bro’Hood since those videos where not just informative, but also entertaining to watch! I would have to say that your style of “Unfiltered” gameplay videos (ie, not edited frag clips, showing both the highs and lows) along with the great commentary and humor that goes into each one has really started a trend lately. Frag Videos are nice, but getting to watch the “full” match unfold (with time crunching when needed) makes it feel much more rewarding, especially when we get the wonderfully completed flourish that are the Wrap-ups. The “tips” at the end are helpful and just finish off the videos just right with a sense of “not taking everything serious” will net any viewer better results from the end of it.

    But in conclusion, take note that your fans are very interested in promoting your videos WiNG! They are indeed “Top Teir” as some may say.

  6. If you ask me, the appeal of your Spy videos isn’t the lessons you attempt to impart, nor is it the humor (although it certainly helps), but the fact that your running commentary provides valuable insight into the mind of a Spy player. Since Spy is the most psychological class in TF2, it’s important to communicate why you did X or how you plan to deal with Y or what it is about Z that warrants screaming like a little schoolgirl. Even the little things, such as pointing out a shortcut you took or how your choice of gun/knife/watch impacted the match, are worth mentioning.

    I’d also like to agree with Xander and point out that since you started your Spy lessons, I’ve noticed a lot more unabridged Spy rounds, with or without commentary, as opposed to frag videos.

  7. I also has a problem with recording stuff. I’m halfway through the round and realize, “Hey, I should be recording.”
    BUT! (Not quite) Suddenly, I found this amazing program, PREC (POV (Point of View*) Recorder, I think), for TF2 that can automatically record your demos for you. It also has some settings you can mess around with.
    You can get it here:

    *Yes, I do realize that putting an acronym inside an acronym is silly. BUT IT’S FUN.

    • I also had PREC, but for some reason it wouldn’t work when I tried a mass copypaste onto my new drive. Perhaps a fresh download is in order.

  8. When I first saw your spy vids I played mostly sniper, and engi. Then I saw how someone could utilize the spy and be a credit to the team. Sure I had delved in espionage, but never that long. (Pwned long ’nuff you switch class). After I watch the string of videos-granary being my fav-I decided to play no class other than spy for two weeks. I got quite a bit of rage when I was sucking it up, but I never changed class. You can’t. That’s giving up.

    See there’s humor, and tactics but there’s something else frag videos, and specialized tactics (how to stair stab 101) can’t show you. HUMILITY!

    Here’s this guy telling us how to play spy, and he, himself, sometimes has the same faults we have. He’s not showing eight backstab runs, he’s showing us the moments a wildly firing pyro catches him. I wouldn’t be the spy I am today without these vids. They change the way I think about multiplayer games as well.

    I salute you, man.

    (I have four vids up right now and I so feel the how ‘how long it takes’. It’s great finally throwing it on youtube, which could take long as well depending on upload speeds, but getting there. Tons of work goes into every vid.)

  9. There are not enough letters in the word “yes” to adequately describe how much I support you making a Combatgineer video (series) for TF2.

    Imagine M. Bison’s “YES . . . YES . . .” from the Street Fighter cartoon and you’ll know how I feel.

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