As I’m trapped on a 14-hour bus ride because I missed my 14-hour train ride and now have to grapple with the financial and physical discomfort this situation puts me in, I’ve been in something of a pensive mood. As my entertainment options have dwindled to draining the power on my no-internet laptop or observing the wonderfully repetitive West Virginian nature whizzing past the windshield, I thought I might take this opportunity to talk about some SPUFers who have disappeared as the years roll by. Obviously every forumite must disappear someday, I guess the most one can hope for is that they get to leave something of a mark during their time.
The Slacks Generation: SirActionSlacks is a bit older than the other entries on this list, really part of a ‘Golden era of SPUF’ that I only met the tail end of. He didn’t post often, but when he did the thread was guaranteed to be either well-written TF2 fanfiction, some sort of SPUF/TF2 event or even a mini-ARG involving disappearing SPUFers and a phantom account. His rep:post ratio was the best of any TF2 SPUF regular and he still shows up very, very occasionally. According to Hellfire (another big name from the time) he’s just more interested in Dota 2 these days. A lot of other SPUFers from that time period drifted away as well, but I was a relative newbie at the time so I never got to know them that well and vice versa.
Crit-a-Clock: Of all the SPUFers who never accepted a Steam friend request, Crit-a-Clock made me the most sad because I really wanted to get the chance to speak to him on a more individual nature. He always put a lot of work into his TF2 analysis threads and his economy theories were very intuitive, I’ve repeatedly necroed one in particular and still think Valve should add it. He was an elegant writer who laid out his arguments with real forethought and it was clear he didn’t speak before he fully mulled over the issue; I don’t think he had a single TF2 opinion I disagreed with. One of his most popular threads was a service where he’d come up with names for proffered unusuals. Crit-a-Clock simply stopped posting around mid-2012 and I never really got the opportunity to have any sort of conversation with him, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Junko: Junko had a writing style similar to the recently-departed Poverty Ghost, you can get a taste of it at the beginning of the Daily SPUF dedicated thread. While some users found him abrasive and others challenged him at his own game, they often were the ones at the butt of his jokes and I found him quite charming in his own way. His largest claim to fame was a Sims 3 Let’s Play starring the nine mercenaries that he regularly updated through this thread up until the moment he got banned. He later apparently deleted the existing episodes from his Dropbox and one of my favorite LPs is now lost to the data vampires of time. Very sad.
Trebel: Trebel was one of my favorite SPUFers, hands down. He was inquisitive, a regular in the various itsurblog threads, and he shared with me a love for the inner workings of TF2’s code and (luckily for me) a driven ability to do the in-game research until he could solve the problem. Numerous times I wrote a needlessly specific coding question about something stupidly minor that everyone rightfully ignored, only for Trebel to post a few days later with a detailed explanation showing he’d worked out exactly what I was talking about. He wrote a few articles for the Daily SPUF in his time, and I wrote a few articles with him as the sole reader in mind. Most worringly was the manor in which he departed, I truly hope nothing happened to him and he’s still living a content inquisitive life.
<Name withheld>: Like Junko, withheld was something of a troll. He enjoyed baiting others into pointless circuitous arguments, with his signature topic being whether the Original is a reskin of the Rocket Launcher or not. Outside of SPUF he was a very chatty guy who I talked with a lot (my chosen strategy with SPUF trolls is to add them on Steam and befriend them so that they don’t troll me. This works surprisingly well.) He was actually the first SPUFer who got me a gift; the complete Kentucky Route Zero game when it first came out after we’d have a long talk regarding the concepts of choice vs ‘illusion of choice’ in video games. The last thing he ever told me before he stopped coming online was that he was a Canadian field medic who had to return to Afghanistan because his leave was up, but knowing his personality I’ve never really known for sure whether he was just pulling one last prank with that story.
The TFC gang: Believe it or not, the Team Fortress Classic subforum actually once had a minor community beyond secret TF2 itsurblog threads. A lot of them were cross posters with an entirely separate TFC forum called The Catacombs. From what I heard the Catacombs was an ancient yet thriving community of the best and worst the internet has to offer, but I never actually got the chance to visit the catacombs myself because (as far as people claim) its owner deleted the forums in an angry rage and possibly sold the data to an information mining company. The TFC SPUF died with the Catacombs, and while a few of them are at a new forum now (and I encourage you to join in if you’d like to chat with some very seasoned Team Fortress veterans) a lot of users vanished off the face of the earth.
There are certainly more memorable departed SPUFers than the ones I listed; I tried to limit it to those who decided to completely cut the cord or never really wrapped up where they went. There are enough more that I could easily write another of these if anyone else actually feels like reminiscing old history. Who do you remember? Are there any SPUFers you’d want to hear back from? I encourage you to leave any touching tributes in the comment section if you feel so inclined.