What Makes CounterStrike a Timeless Masterpiece?May 9, 2021 | 0 Votes by jose - rate It is very rare that a gamer wouldn't know what CounterStrike is. With the continued growth of it's player base and remaining the world's top FPS game despite being over two decades old, the game doesn't look like it would be going out of style any day soon. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why.
The game CounterStrike was first released in 1999 by Minh Le and Jesse Cliff as a mod for Half-Life. At the time, the first Half-Life was a huge hallmark in FPS adventure gaming, and Valve released applications and resources that could be used to add content to the game by accessing the GoldSource game engine the game was developed for. Minh Le took advantage of Half-Life's multiplayer feature and moded it into a current-day Counter-Terrorist vs Terrorist combat simulator.
Together with Jess Cliffe who started creating the needed maps, voice-overs, and an on-line distribution and community portal, the then two college students uploaded CounterStrike onto the Internet. With a lot of players and enthusiasts gaining access to the initial game, its popularity started to grow to the point that Valve took notice of it.
Taking advantage of the game's potential, Valve buys out CS mod in 2000 and hires both its developers to continue working on it. CounterStrike then went through several version iterations finally stopping at Ver 1.6 which to date is considered as the original CS. From this point, CS1.6 started to grow as more gamers started playing it in both on-line and offline matches. With the advent of computer rental shops becoming popular, CS became the most popular LAN-based game being played worldwide.
In 2004, Valve released CounterStrike Condition Zero. The game was supposedly slated to be released in 2000 with CS1.6 but Valve was busy working on Team Fortress 2 and the development of CS Condition Zero had to go through three different studios which took four years in development. Condition Zero could be described as a single-player mission-based adventure shooter version of CS 1.6 and although it didn't do as well as the original game, it made a really strong impression on the gaming community of the time. Also released in 2004 was CounterStrike Source. It took time for the CS Source community to build-up itself as many CS1.6 players were not satisfied with the competitive features of the game despite the update to the more advanced Valve Source engine resulting in real cool graphics. Eventually, new players joined in and CS Source started gaining momentum from then on. Again, just like 1.6, the source became the #1 competitive PC FPS game.
CounterStrike Online was released in 2008 as a collaboration of Valve with Skor's Nexon which released it as a multi-player online FPS arena game that became popular in Asia. CS Online had several changes made to the original CS1.6 game including the addition of female characters in the gameplay. In 2012, CS Online 2 which made use of the Source engine was released. Also released the same year was CounterStike's latest version installment which made use of the far better Source 2 game engine. It was called CounterStrike Global Offensive which remains the premier competitive FPS game till today.
Without a doubt, the game's competitive gameplay has contributed the most to what CounterStrike currently is. The game mechanics are easy to learn but incredibly hard to master. Added to this is having to slug it out with other actual players (as if the bots aren't headache enough). Competitive gameplay encourages teamwork, camaraderie, and really badass moves. On the negative side, a fight with the opposing team is common as disputes always seem to usually arise when matches are held.
The idea of planting a bomb while the other team tries to reach and diffuse it as well as taking hostages which the other team has to save has popularized the Tango vs Anti-Tango gameplay (Tango for Terrorist). This is just the basic CS that so many gamers have fallen in love with. But then, add the various mod features like Zombies, weird-looking maps, funny player characters, artistic weapon skins and so many other oddities that modify the gameplay and add something new that will keep people coming back to play again. The modded weapon selection and availability alone have become a focal feature of the game. Playing CS has evolved so many things in game mechanics with tweaks (legally or not) that would make a game worth playing. Despite all these, CS gameplay has withstood the test of time.
CounterStrike is one of the most unique games to achieve the level of community longevity it enjoys today. Valve was able to discern a potential that practically changed the gaming world and launched CS to be the most played FPS worldwide. This potential feature is modding.
Within the circumference of what is legal, Valve gave gaming communities autonomy and what more, encouraged it. CS was a mod of HL, to begin with, the same way that Team Fortress is and the company accepted these mods and turned them into the bestsellers that they have become. It was the modding of game maps to skins to character models and even server gameplay that inspired and encouraged CS communities to keep going through the years. These communities attracted players and graphics, voice and sound artists, level designers, and programmers as well. It established development along with gameplay and a legalized buy and sell content portal under the Steam Workshop management.
From CS 1.6 to CSGO, modding resources from Steam and other third-party sites like Game Banana were made available to the CS fan. Communities commonly used their own modifications in their community matches albeit strict adherence to the vanilla version of the game when official global or inter-team/community matches were held (like eSport events). Nevertheless, Valve's decision to give and coordinate game community autonomy has led to the immeasurable success and very long life of CounterStrike which no other competitive FPS game has ever achieved. To this date, CS rules.
The CPL (CyberAthlete Professional League) pioneered what is known today as the global/international eSports event. CPL held in 2005 what was considered as the best match in CS 1.6 history with both SK Gaming (Sweden) and Team 3D (US) competing with each other at CPL Winter in Dallas Texas. By 2007, eSports had shifted to CS Source for its competitive matches. CSGO came out in 2012. It had to go through a few modifications before being used and becoming the de-facto for FPS eSports events.
Just as CounterStrike mods were allowed and encouraged at the community level, CS mods have proliferated almost everywhere. With that, it would practically be next to impossible for the game to die out. With so many CS versions (majority un-official but nevertheless CS) being played the world over on a day-to-day basis, one begins to wonder if CS will ever end. Chances are, Never! The mobile gaming market has become a huge one and the number of mobile players practically rival and even outnumber those using the PC. A huge amount of CS mobile game versions are available to them. Again, this adds to the popularity and infinity of CS as gamers who otherwise do not have access to competitive CS PC gameplay can now enjoy the game's competitive feature on their phones and tablets as well. With that, more people and future gamers are likely to encounter and play CS in the times to come.
Another growing medium is Virtual Reality. Finding one within the game itself is quite an interesting and amusing concept. However, VR still has a lot of limitations to work out particularly where in-game movements and motion sickness are concerned. But then, as advances are made in VR mirroring the popularity of competitive gameplay (particularly FPS), things are bound to change. Once again CounterStrike takes off to the front and running despite all the limitations. CS fans who want to experience CS up-close and personal can do so with the CS version for VR aka Pavlov. The Russian-developed CS version lets one play or rather fumble inside the game as players run into each other, keep dropping their weapons and gear, aim like a newbie, talk funny Russian and end up screwing up the competitive gameplay all in the name of fun and VR sportsmanship. Also, you have to actually type a code on the bomb's keyboard to defuse it. Be forewarned that Pavlov CS is difficult with a really steep learning curve to master and depends on the VR equipment one has for use at hand. The graphics, sound, and ambiance as well as the maps adhere to what CS would really be in VR.
In Closing, CounterStrike through the years despite stopping with CSGO as its last version update continually evolves as a game. Maybe not officially but continues its proliferation and growth as the game's player base increase with its inception into other gaming platforms. Maybe both Le and Cliffe never envisioned their game to live this long when they brought it out in 1999 but their efforts ended up in a gaming sensation of near-infinite proportions. The potential of CS to live on in the years to come is evident and at this point doesn't look like it's slowing down albeit at a much slower pace, but nevertheless coming on top just the same. To this, CounterStrike no doubt is a timeless masterpiece!