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Be careful the next time you eat a Sandvich. You might get radiation poisoning.

Looking past all the hats, sentry guns and Sandviches, Team Fortress 2’s setting actually has more to it than first meets the eye (or bullet). Set in the 1960’s, the game is right smack in the middle of a little period of history known as the Cold War, or the “atomic age,” if you will. A time when paranoia reigned supreme, and the end of the world was nigh (which sounds a lot like today, if you believe in that “2012” nonsense).

While the influx of new content doesn’t always fit in with the period (iPod earbuds?), many references to the atomic age can still be found in the game.

Payload/Fat Man comparison

Payload Cart/Fat Man atomic bomb

“The bomb has almost reached the final terminus!” TF2’s Administrator cries, and if you are on the Red team, you’re pretty much screwed.

Why? Well, maybe because an atomic bomb is about to blow up your base. The bomb in the Payload cart is nearly identical to the “Fat Man” bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

Except, the Payload bomb doesn’t annihilate an entire city.

The Heavy is also ridiculed as “Fat man” by the Spy, probably because he is the same size as the actual bomb.

Blu likes atomic energy

Blu logo/Atomic Energy Commission

Seen here in TF2’s Granary map, the Blu team logo resembles the logo of the now-defunct Atomic Energy Commission, and for atomic power in general. The Atomic Energy Commission was a U.S. agency that determined peacetime use of atomic technology after the end of World War II.

The Blu team makes no attempt to hide what they’re up to. Several nuclear warheads sit in their base on Granary (and many other maps) aimed at Red’s base. Their logo gives it away.

Coldfront's War Room

Coldfront spawn room/Dr. Strangelove War Room

“You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!”

Just like the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s nuclear war parody film Dr. Strangelove, you can’t fight in Coldfront’s spawn room. The spawn room is designed almost exactly the same as the War Room in the film, from the circular overhead lights to the map in the background.  

Achievements

“Mutually Assured Destruction” is the name of an achievement for the Soldier, and its description couldn’t be more accurate: “Kill an enemy sniper with a rocket after he kills you.”

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) in the atomic age was just that as well: You attack us with atomic bombs, we attack you with atomic bombs. The threat of MAD and retaliation is often viewed as the reason why a nuclear war never happened.

In other words, headshot a Soldier with a crit rocket coming towards you, and you’re dead.


With all this atomic energy around in TF2’s world, no wonder the Pyro wears a gas mask.