The Greatest Video Games of All Time: Counter-Strike


Counter-Strike is simply the best tactical first-person shooter ever released.

Most people probably don’t know this, but Counter-Strike is the most popular online first-person shooter/action game in the world. Weekly, more than a million gamers log in to play this really old game. Let’s analyze why.

For the past decade or so Counter Strike has had some competitors:

  • “Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror” was originally released as a mod that used the Unreal Tournament game engine. At the time of its release it was seen more like a clone than a true competitor.
  • “Global Operations” is one of the best tactical shooters of the last years. Even though it never became really popular, the game included new innovations like blurred vision, blackouts and more.
  • “Day of Defeat” was also developed by Valve and offered a fast-paced experience that rewarded cooperative play.


Additionally, the game has suffered many modifications and updates since 2000:

  • “Counter-Strike” is currently in its 1.6 version which was originally released on 2003, this is probably the most popular and played release to date.
  • “Counter-Strike: Condition Zero” was released in 2004 and it included an updated engine (with new character models, textures, maps and more), a single-player mission pack and bots. Condition Zero was one of the most popular modifications of Half Life of the past years, even though it shipped with many bugs and minor inconsistencies.
  • “Counter-Strike: Source” was a complete remake of the original using the Source game engine. All the main characteristics were retained and the game was received well by critics and fans alike.
  • “Counter-Strike Neo” is a Japanese arcade adaptation of the popular mod. It was published by Namco, and runs on a Linux system. Some significant changes were made to this version and an American release seems quite unlikely.
  • Developed by Nexon Corporation of South Korea, “Counter-Strike Online” is a game targeted towards Asian markets. It has a Valve license and it uses a micropayments model. Additionally, the game includes some of the most popular modes of the original version along with some new ones like zombie modes, female skins, the inclusion of bosses, challenge mode and so on.

It’s been a long run time since the first version of the game was released and even when the 1.6 version still looks really dated, Counter-Strike is one of the most widely played games. There were many first-person shooters that established the basis for this game like Doom, Quake, Unreal and Half-Life itself, but Counter-Strike was so massive and unique that it quickly became one of the best. It’s surprising to know that it was developed by two amateur designers (Mihn “Gooseman” Lee and Jess “Cliffe” Cliffe) while they were still in college and that the modification was created during their spare time. Additionally, CS features one of the most intense, tactical and complex experiences you may find, and even though this may discourage newcomers, this is simply one of the greatest games of all time.

The main premise is really simple; Counter-Strike allows two teams of online players (Terrorists and Counter Terrorists) to fight each other to complete a specific mission. There are basically four types of missions: hostage rescue, demolition, VIP protection and finally, the most popular, the elimination of the opposite team. Furthermore, the game provides many official maps and it also allows players to develop their own giving endless possibilities to an already varied game.

You’re so dead…

Your main goal is to take out as many enemies as possible, usually in a limited amount of time. Also, players are awarded with cash which can be used to buy better weapons and gear at the beginning of each round. There are many more possibilities that make Counter-Strike more strategic than what it may seem at first sight, but let me just say that the game is best when played with friends, so each one can fulfill a specific role in the team. There’s an incredible variety of weapons in the game: machine-guns, shotguns, pistols, rifles and more. Each firearm is modeled after its real counterpart and it acts as it should in real life, this adds even more realism to the game.

But beside all these wonders there’s something else why Counter-Strike is so popular and memorable even after so many years: its unforgiving damage system. In this game one precise shot means death and consequently waiting for the next round to have another chance. It’s really incredible how precise the controls are, how realistic the game is, and how well the physics work. If you think about these characteristics it’s not surprising that the game has been featured in most e-sports tournaments for the past ten years or so. Playing well not only involves being familiar with these but it also takes skills and coordination.

CS was highly influential to me, my high school years pretty much revolved around the game, as I was eagerly waiting for classes to finish so I could go out to the nearest cybercafé to play against my friends. I was really bad at the game, I think I still am, but after so many years there’s something really rewarding about defeating the enemies of the opposite team. Now, me and some of my friends just try to play regularly in public servers, where we reminisce good old times.