Half-Life: Counter-Strike was a 1999 first-person shooter game by Valve Corporation for the PC. Shortly before we graduated high school, one of my friends introduced me to Counter-Strike. I didn’t normally play shooter games, but I gave it a try. It was a pretty fun competitive game. The game was made up of very short rounds with two sides. Each round, the terrorist side attempted to plant and detonate a bomb to win. The counter-terrorists simply had to neutralize all terrorists to win the round. If the bomb had been planted, however, counter-terrorists also had to disarm it before the time ticked all the way down. The rules were very simple, but there was a surprising amount of strategy in the game.
My friend got me to buy Counter-Strike, so we could play together. The game had been out for a few years by now, so it was pretty cheap. It ended up working out because the game kept us in touch while in college. We went to different colleges, so we wouldn’t have kept in contact otherwise. Later, we started playing different games and did finally lose touch. However, I still would sometimes come back to Counter-Strike for a few rounds.
I liked that Counter-Strike was team-based. The games where I had tried to compete online before were all one versus one, which put a lot of pressure on me. In Counter-Strike, that only happened if the player was one of the last two standing, a rarity. I was far from the best, but I usually had more kills than deaths, the standard measure of skill in the game. That kept me out of the anger that bad players had to face. People were not very friendly in these online rooms.
Many players used voice chat, and they had no problem saying whatever was on their mind hidden by the anonymity of the internet. Sometimes games would devolve into a flame war, where players were just yelling at each other. No gameplay was happening. Players might even kill others on their own team just to get back at people they hated. There were also hack programs that could be found online that people would use to mess with other players.
After awhile I got bored of the gameplay and never came back. Well, one time I did try going back, but I had lost the CD-key for the game. I would have had to buy Counter-Strike again. Then I remembered the verbal fighting that could go on sometimes and decided to skip it. I’d only play again if I had a dedicated group of friends I knew in real life to play with. People are more tame when the other players know who they are.