Sometimes you need to be crazy to understand crazy — and secure the Intel

Overthinking It: The Types of Insanity Expressed by the TF2 Mercenaries

Valve has taught me a lot of things through their video games. They taught me physics via Half-Life 2 that manipulating energy to the point of zero can give you the power flatten an entire alien army with a rusty refrigerator. They taught me about the dangers of robotic self-awareness through Portal and that chocolate pastries are false. They also taunt me the many creative possibilities of spelling, grammar, and syntax of 13-year old male basement dwellers through Counterstrike. But I think the biggest thing they taught me, is that crazy comes in many different forms, and that’s thanks to Team Fortress 2.

Aside from the many hours I’ve invested into the game, as well as the many dollars I’ve thrown at it whenever a decent looking hat and/or weapon came around, I’ve focused my overthinking attention on the characters Valve has created for the game. I know every piece of lore, background history, and small bits of trivia of each of the RED/BLU mercenaries. And what I found out about them, is kind of [fruit]ed up. Here’s what I deduced about each class and their mental instability.

SCOUT – Attention Seeking / Overconfident / Hyperactive Annoyance

He’s a force of nature. And when I mean “force of nature”…I mean he’s annoying idiot.

When you grew up as the youngest of eight brothers on the southside of Boston, it is likely you had to fight for attention. What made Scout the strongest contribution to his team is also his greatest weakness. That can be shown in how fast he flaps his gums when proclaiming himself to be the next best thing since sliced bread. He has to constantly continue talking not because he runs on sugary energy drinks, he runs on attention.

And as he gains more and more attention (despite people don’t want to give him their attention), he grows overconfident. Combine his overconfidence with his ability of avoiding death every day and securing the enemy’s intel, and you have a lethal combination.

Add in the fact he pounds more energy drinks than a WOW player during raid day, and he’s a ball of energy. An overconfident ball of annoying energy that has BONK! soda for blood instead of plasma.

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Barely any (he’s just goddamn annoying)

SPY – Cleverly Insane Seducer

“Take caution. He’ll seduce your mother and then use it as a weapon against you.”

Sure, he’ll stab you in the back when least expect it. And sure, he’ll destroy all of your sentries and teleporters when you turn your back to them. But in the end it’s part of his job. The only insane thing this suave yet devilish man has done was pork the Scout’s mom. But think about this, the man used that to his advantage by distracting the scout, the heavy, and the soldier with photos of it. Now that’s psychological warfare I can get behind (literally).

In the end, he’s the least insane of the ground.

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Very Mild yet Frenchy.

DEMOMAN – Alcoholic Scotsman with Access to Explosives


Now, the Demoman isn’t really insane (for a bombing-throwing one-eyed black Scotsman) when compared to the others, but his actions do show it. I mean, it’s one thing to be called insane when you are working with C4 and TNT to blow up other mercenaries, it’s another thing to do it while under the influence with what is basically the liquor section of your local Piggy Wiggly. And it’s another thing when you’re out of explosives, you resort to chopping off people’s heads with a haunted sword that feeds off the heads of the recently decapitated.

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Connor MacLeod Moderate

SNIPER – Jarate Master with Family Problems

He makes over five million dollars a year,
yet he can’t convince his parents that he’s not a crazed gunman that throws jars of piss.

Sniping is a good job according to Mr. Mundy the Sniper. He enjoys a challenge and being outdoors. And he gets paid well for it. But it seems through various evidences that he is struggling on the inside that is probably driving him slowly insane.

The man has issues with his mom and dad. For one thing they don’t approve of his job of being an assassin, referring to his profession as more of a “crazed gunman”. While most people with jobs that their parents would disapprove of (stripper, off-broadway actor, being Nancy Pelosi) and shrug it off and not care, the sniper can’t do that. He’s got to constantly seek approval from his parents that what he’s doing is right.

Case in point, a letter that he sent to his parents in Australia. The man, despite that he’s making more than a doctor, is still struggling to please his parents by saying that now he’s a doctor.

Still, this kind of behavior is mildly compared to the other nutbars he works with. And people with mommy-daddy issues is fairly common these days. So, he’s not that insane at all, unless you bring up the topic of his parents.

Oh, and he throws jars of urine as a weapon. Effective? Yes. Sane? No.

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Mild. “Guy living in a camper-van down by the river” mild.

ENGINEER – Texan with Evil Genius Syndrome


He’s a laid back country boy that enjoys beer, ribs, and building machinery. He’s the type of Texan you’d find in front of a general store whittling away at a block of wood. What you wouldn’t know that underneath that helmet of his is the brain of a mastermind mercenary with eleven PhDs to back it up. He isn’t whittling away his afternoon, he’s planning on how to kill you with barely lifting a finger.

Think of this way, it’s usually the quiet ones that are the most insane and the most dangerous. The same could be said of anyone who’s played against an engineer in TF2. They build machines that can transport, supply, and kill people instantly. After they build what they need, they just have to sit back and enjoy being carried to victory.

So is he insane? Yes he is. But his laidback lifestyle cuts down the amount to almost moderate levels. You don’t have be insane on the outside to let others know that you’re deadly insane on the inside.

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Moderate due to balance of his casual Texan lifestyle.

HEAVY – Russian Monster Who Anthropomorphize Inanimate Objects

His Sandviches and Mini-Guns tell him many things. And he’s not fat, he’s fluffy.

Outside of the realm of being a mercenary, he is mainly a calm and collected Russian who enjoys poker and reading classic Russian literature.

But as a mercenary, he’s a different story.

He thinks his equipment are alive and talk to him. Almost like they were his children. Most men take care of their cars and even give them names. The Heavy goes beyond that and gives his weapons sleeping furniture and has casual conversations with them.

The Heavy also believes that food can talk to him, proof can be seen in his trusted friend, the Sandvich. He believes that the Sandvich is giving him orders to kill everyone in the vicinity with extreme machine gun violence (which he believes is “a good idea”). I tell you what, the next time my Turkey Tom from Jimmy Johns tells me to do something violent, I might have to check myself into an institution. (Though the last time one did talk to me, it told me that Morgan Spurlock was a genius and not an overpaid hack).

LEVEL OF INSANITY:High (like his cholesterol levels)

SOLDIER – Soldier of Delusions of Grandeur / Hot Tempered Insanity / Lack of Common Sense

The man invaded Poland, secured a hill, and earned himself a medal (that he made himself).
The only thing is that someone didn’t tell him was that WW2 ended in 1949.

The soldier’s insanity is on record in all branches of the US military. The man was so insane, he was rejected from each one. But that didn’t stop the man from buying his own ticket and invading Poland himself with nothing more than a few cans of beans and a rocket launcher. Luckily his insanity landed him a job fighting for the REDs and BLUs.

And when you try to pull him down to earth and remind him of what he really is (a civilian), he goes off and murders you, even if you’re his best friend.

Beyond his professional career as a nutcase mercenary, his casual life shows more of his lack of common sense/sanity. For one thing, his (registered) name is “Jane Doe”. Not “John Doe”, but the female version of that moniker. Another thing is, he doesn’t take kindly to strangers visiting his living quarters, who are usually met with 12 gauge ammunition and through-the-door neck snaps.

And speaking of living quarters, his on-again-off-again roommate is an insane old wizard named Merasmus, who lets the Soldier house-sit while he’s on vacation. The outcome? The soldier turns his castle into a raccoon sanctuary, complete with sour cream-filled refrigerator buried in the front yard. And you thought your roommate was insane for using your toothbrush to clean the toilet.

Oh, and while it isn’t a mark of insanity, the soldier isn’t good with money. What is insane is how he tries to make some. It’s either by escorting kids during Halloween to get free candy or by holding down jobs unsuited for him (he’s a lawyer and a forest ranger) or by entering contests only the mentally ill would win at it (see nose-picking contest).

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Nuttier than a Planter’s Peanuts factory.

MEDIC – Disdain for Human Life For the Sake of Saving Human Lives

Well for one thing, at least RED/BLU’s medical plan is likely better than Obamacare.

In a game where rockets are flying everywhere, people set on fire spontaneously, and the most cause of death is “blown-up-to-bits-itis”, you’d think that the medical staff on site would be the most sane, right?

Instead of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, you get insane German doctor without a medical license. And sure, while he and his medigun can heal you and occasionally make you invulnerable for a few seconds, the same guy holding that gun can kill you with a few strokes of his hacksaw.

And that’s on-the-battlefield work. It’s what he does off-the-battlefield that makes him more crazy.

Being an insane genius, he’s capable of making effective yet twisted advances in the field of medicine. His medigun was invented out of a sandvich, a jar of health pills, and jarate. Only a sick and twisted mind would combine a hoagie, aspirin, and urine and use it on his patients without any testing. He came up for invulnerability by switching out his patients hearts with mechanically-modified mega-baboon hearts with no trouble at all. (Well, the Scout did know when the Medic accidentally put his pet pigeon inside of the Scout’s ribcage).

With complete ignorance for the welfare of others for ironically the welfare of others, it is clearly shown that the medic is one of the most insane mercenaries of TF2.

LEVEL OF INSANITY: Escaped Mental Patient Insane

PYRO – Pyromaniac with an Identity Crisis and No Grasp of Reality

The daily life of a maniac who made a Lovin Spoonful song into a song about fiery murder.

Everyone knows that a person that has an unhealthy obsessed with fire and burning things is automatically insane. The Pyro of the TF2 mercenaries takes that to a whole new level.

For one thing, the pyro shows some strange behavior by not confirming he/she/it is a he/she/it. It can be best shown through his/her/its choice of clothing. Most of the TF2 mercs’ hats and accessories are male oriented., while the pyro covers both genders. From goldilocks wigs to a suit and tie ensemble to a church lady’s sunday hat to many others, one has to wonder if the pyro is gender-confused or something else (possibly an alien that wants to experience both genders).

But a bigger thing to address that confirms the Pyro’s insanity is his/her/its perception of reality (or lack of it). What we see of him/her/it burning down a village and its citizens, he/she/it sees it as blowing harmless bubbles at cutesy flying pixie-babies, all while to the tune of a 1970s pop song. What he sees as giving a pixie-baby a lollipop, we see an axe-wielding maniac performing his impression of Lizzy Borden.

Don’t believe me? Go and meet the Pyro then.


So as you can see, the mercenaries of TF2 exhibit all levels of craziness. From the very mild (the Spy) to the very extreme (the Pyro). Then again, they are mercenaries that were hired to fight on the behalf of two bickering brothers fighting over a patch of gravel in the New Mexican desert. All while donning some very pretty hats.