CGOTW -- Counter-Strike

No single game was more addicting and at the same time more consistently infuriating in the history of all my thirty gaming years than Counter-Strike. For all the zen-like mindless joy that a game like World of Warcraft has provided these four past trips around the sun, it is nothing to the virtual epochs I spent in the throes of Counter-Strike's bewitching thrall. This is a game that took years off my life, and one that I hold in a special chamber of my heart to this day. Yet, even as I write of its relative greatness, I wonder whether I am suffering under some long-term form of internet Stockholm syndrome.

The horror of the game sits as squarely in my mind as the joy. Public servers were a mire of the worst in internet culture, a constant assault of obscenity, brutality and chicanery. Wall-hacks and griefers were, and likely remain, as common as AWP whores and errant flashbangs. It should have been such an easy game with which to grow disenchanted, and yet it called me back night after night.

Yet, when it shone, when the game rose above the flaws fundamental to its presentation, no shooter was more thrilling. To recall the occasional moment when I alone succeeded where the rest of my team had failed is to remember the most superior joy of video gaming. Planting that bomb, alone by the crates in Dust 2, and then defending it against the last CTU stragglers could elicit a primal barbarian yawlp. Never was victory sweeter.

CS defined a generation of shooters, and probably has as many people who hate everything the game seems to stand for as those who were held in its unparalleled sway. Yes, it was a fickle bitch, a demanding mistress who would routinely turn on you with all the subtlety and sensitivity of frenzied bear. But when it was good, I daresay it was never better.

Comments

The first sentence lacks a verb, unless my reading comprehension is completely shot. Nice article, though. Personally, I never got into CS, because I got into Half Life quite late into the game (so to speak). For the few times I tried it, I hated it. Or rather, I hated the people that played it.

The key to enjoying CS was finding a good, mature server. They are out there, but sometimes the search for a good one isn't worth the time it takes. Now I'm getting the urge to play some Dust 2 again. Damn.

CS does prove John Gabriel's Greater Internet f*ckwad Theory, no doubt.

Rallick wrote:

The first sentence lacks a verb, unless my reading comprehension is completely shot.

This is like pig sex on Yom Kippur.

What did I do wrong?? I tried so hard, and got so far! But in the end, it doesn't really matter...

Lord I love me some CS.

Still play CS:Source almost every week with my coworkers. It does occasionally get a little tiring, but that it can even be worth booting up at all and playing for hours after this long is a tribute to how well it's designed.

Rallick wrote:

...

Stop that. Ellipses are not terminal punctuation.

You were right about Ely's first sentence. It stings.

I still go back and fall in love with CS all over again on occasion. It usually takes someone else getting back into the game to do it, but I always fall for it anyway.

Sometimes all it takes is seeing someone on a friends list load it up.

I was completely wrapped up in CounterStrike for a good five years. I would spend entire days looping cs_office, never changing maps, again and again, before moving on to de_dust the next day. In college I got my whole floor playing it over the dorm's LAN, and before the advent of voice chat we would lean our heads out of the doorways and scream insults down the hall at each other.

Left 4 Dead is the first game in a long time to come close to that CounterStrike feeling for me.

CS is the first game we open with during my LAN Parties! Everyone has a copy and if they don't we heckle them till they purchase it on the spot. The rounds where you are deadly accurate are great, the rounds where you walk around a corner only get a flash bang in the face and then wake up in heaven as not so fun.

It blows my mind that one guy coded, did all the models and base levels for this game.

wordsmythe wrote:
Rallick wrote:

...

Stop that. Ellipses are not terminal punctuation.

You were right about Ely's first sentence. It stings.

Um, aren't you the copy-editor for the front page?

Copy-editor isn't much use when the writer is on death's door and squeezing something out between dragging himself to work meetings and infecting everyone.

Gamers With Jobs, remember?

Ouch. Hope you get better soon, Elysium!

I'll never forget some of the good times I had while playing this game. It was always a rush when you were the last guy on your team and you had to do your best to pull off your task.

[internet snob]Counter-Strike was all downhill after beta 1.5.[/internet snob]

Certis wrote:

Copy-editor isn't much use when the writer is on death's door and squeezing something out between dragging himself to work meetings and infecting everyone.

Gamers With Jobs, remember?

No offense intended. I just didn't know if the job had passed on to someone else, or if I could still rib Wordsmythe about it from time to time.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

[internet snob]Counter-Strike was all downhill after beta 1.5.[/internet snob]

My favorite was actually beta 3.something, I think. I believe that was when the P90 was like carrying the finger of god. You had only to point it in their general direction and headshots were guaranteed.

No offense intended. I just didn't know if the job had passed on to someone else, or if I could still rib Wordsmythe about it from time to time.

To be fair, I'm a huge prima-dona and do endless passive-aggressive things to frustrate Wordy. He gets so adorable when I mangle the language.

Elysium wrote:

To be fair, I'm a huge prima-dona and do endless passive-aggressive things to frustrate Wordy. He gets so adorable when I mangle the language.

I wanna friend you up.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

[internet snob]Counter-Strike was all downhill after beta 1.5.[/internet snob]

I think I quit at 1.4.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Elysium wrote:
adam.greenbrier wrote:

No offense intended. I just didn't know if the job had passed on to someone else, or if I could still rib Wordsmythe about it from time to time.

To be fair, I'm a huge prima-dona and do endless passive-aggressive things to frustrate Wordy. He gets so adorable when I mangle the language.

I wanna friend you up.

Intriguing developments, to be sure.

Short version to answer Adam: We went straight to press with this one. Ely didn't have time for go-passing, $200, etc.

Was there an edit? I totally see a verb.

Indeed. A stealth ninja edit.

wordsmythe wrote:

Short version to answer Adam: We went straight to press with this one. Ely didn't have time for go-passing, $200, etc.

You charge $200 to post on the front page? Good thing I didn't submit anything to the call for writers.

(And, I figured it was something like that.)

I think of this game in much the same way that I think of the Beatles: I have no love for it, but I can appreciate its significance. It is perhaps the most important game that I ever detested.

BreechLoad wrote:

Was there an edit? I totally see a verb.

It's still not a very good verb.

CS is my favorite game of all time. It eclipses Doom, Quake, Diablo, WoW, you name it. I sunk so much time into this game for years on end.

No gaming thrill has ever beaten the feeling of playing in an official CAL match against a worthy opponent and beating them. Skill was one thing but when you got to a certain level teamwork and chemistry was necessary and it really brought a whole new level of fun to gaming for me.

As much as people hated it, the joy of grabbing an AWP on De_Dust and going like 30-0 over the course of a few rounds was intoxicating.

As other has alluded above, being the last alive on your team and taking out several opponents then defusing the bomb was always an epic experience. Then seeing everyone who was dead praise your name in chat when the round reset was very satisfying.

Great memories of this one!

I got so unbelievably competitive in CS that I made it into CAL Invite. It sucked my life and almost destroyed the relationship I have with my current fiance. When we were in high school I told her we couldn't hang out because I had practice or a match that I had to make. What a mistake that was and I am glad I'm not like that anymore.

Never has a game grabbed me and made me so addicted. It's competitive nature is what made the game so great yet make me hate it so much. However, it still is a model example of net code, hit detection and the "feel" for guns. It does so many things right. It was such an awesome feeling winning a CAL tournament with hundreds of people viewing the match live on a website or in HLTV. I still miss moments like those but I still will never go back to it.

CS also taught me how to aim. Once your good at CS your good at any shooter. Period. It is the highest of bars to climb for any shooter on the market.

Bandus wrote:

I'll never forget some of the good times I had while playing this game. It was always a rush when you were the last guy on your team and you had to do your best to pull off your task.

An exact incident like that where I was the last guy on the team with 5 on the other team remaining and offing the last two with my knife in rapid succession was my sole encounter with gaming nirvana. I have no doubt I will ever come anywhere remotely close again.

I have both fond and nightmarish memories of CS and I'm satisfied with leaving the game as such and have no desire to revisit it.

Like Switch said, L4D is the first game in a long time to come close and would exceed it if I had more time to play it.

TempestBlayze wrote:

I got so unbelievably competitive in CS that I made it into CAL Invite.

I feel ashamed. I only played one season of Cal-O and we got dominated.

TempestBlayze wrote:

CS also taught me how to aim. Once your good at CS your good at any shooter. Period. It is the highest of bars to climb for any shooter on the market.

It taught me that the higher your framerate, the faster your gun shoots! Important life lesson there, guys.