balance made Counter-Strike a trailblazer (along with Quake III) for
online competitive gaming organizations such as the E-Sports
Entertainment Association League. Players formed teams, usually called
clans, to practice in scrimmages against one another in hopes of landing
that ever-elusive CAL-i invite (a now-defunct invite-only pro league,
which was basically Counter-Strike's NFL). Many legends were born
through the game, too. Though Johnathan Wendel (who goes by Fatal1ty in
the professional scene) got his start in Quake III Arena, he became a
feared Counter-Strike legend, and many strived to gain similar
recognition. Some, such as Kyle "ksharp" Miller and Patrik "f0rest"
Lindberg, even succeeded.
Of course, Counter-Strike did
evolve over time, as Valve released the updated Source and, later, Global Offensive versions, which provided a visual overhaul for the
series in addition to minor gameplay tweaks. These updates ruffled some
feathers within the community, but many adopted them due to the fact
that Valve hadn't tinkered much with the underlying mechanics that had
made the game so appealing in the first place. And, because Valve didn't
overwrite any pre-existing code when these projects were launched,
everyone who loved Counter-Strike could continue playing whichever
version they preferred. You can still hop into a 1.6 match nine years
after its release to experience a familiar glimpse at the game's earlier
Counter-Strike's greatest achievement is that it's a testament to what
the modding community is capable of. It did, after all, begin as a mod
for Half-Life--a mod that Valve later purchased the rights to and
developed into a fully realized game. There were even mods within
the mod. Counter-Strike is where the popular Gun Game mode was born;
there were player-made "Protect the VIP" modes, and tons of
user-generated zombie survival games, which went on to inspire Valve's Left 4 Dead series.
now, the Counter-Strike community continues to expand as more and more
mods are introduced. Owning a copy of any version of the game means you
have access to tons of player-made ones--and who knows which of these
will be adopted into full games, or inspire new modes in already-popular
is undoubtedly influential, but it's also one of the most intelligent
shooters ever designed. It has incredibly tight and balanced gunplay,
amazing map composition, and supports one of the largest modding
communities out there. Sure, it doesn't have fancy unlocks or a
score-driven economy--but the fact that it still has a substantial
playerbase 12 years after its inception says a lot about its design.
It's a game that refuses to adopt the trends of its competitors. Much
like its community, Counter-Strike is resistant to change. That's fine
with us. It doesn't need to.
"Why _____ is one of the greatest games ever made" is a weekly feature that goes through GamesRadar's list of the 100 best games of all time and highlights different titles, explaining why they're on the list, what makes them so amazing, and why we love them so much.