Collections Agents

Collections Agents
All That's Shiny is Gold

Murray Chu | 30 Nov 2010 12:35
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"I was crafting the last item I needed for a hat and I got the wrench instead," explains WingspanTT. "The server flipped out, everyone wanted to die by it [and experience the unique death animation]."

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Every time a player received a Golden Wrench, a global announcement went out and every TF2 player online could see it.. Additionally, the player's name would be added to a list on the official Team Fortress 2 website. Like other Golden Wrench owners, WingspanTT instantly became famous and popular among TF2 players.

"I decided to delete the wrench pretty early," explains Tran. "It was a few days after [another Golden Wrench owner,] Grantz had his deleted by a hacker. That's when people realized it makes a global message when you [delete the Wrench] ... I was following that story and there was so much drama. I started thinking if I did it, I could make a big ado about it."

Tran realized that he could use the global announcements to make a statement about the TF2 community's obsession with virtual goods. By destroying the object that many so desperately wanted, he hoped he might get TF2 fans to realize how absurd the desire to possess something made of pixels really was.

"After I first announced it, I had a lot of hateful responses," he says. "I thought controversy breeds interest and that interest could be something that could be used in a more constructive manner. It seemed kind of poetic to take the divisive item and bring the community back together and use something that's not real to make actual, real things happen for people who need it."

It didn't stop there. A comment on the Steam forums brought Tran's attention to Child's Play, a charity founded by the creators of the gaming webcomic, Penny Arcade. Every year, at Christmas time, the charity uses the money it raises to buy videogame hardware and software for sick kids in children's hospitals all over the world. The charity would provide an even better medium for Tran's poetry in motion. In an effort to drive more donations, Tran reached out to other Golden Wrench owners.

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