Steam Gaming

Counter-Strike 1.6

Counter Strike is a game familiar to most people across the world. After the initial
release of Half-life the mod scene quickly took it upon themselves to develop some
wonderful modifications of the game. One of these was an extremely early version
of the hugely popular Counter Strike. The mod was originally created by Jess Cliffe,
at the time an avid member of the modding community. Development of Counter Strike
surged with 10,000 hits in its first 2 weeks of releasing the beta, it was clear
this was the start of something big. As interest in the mod grew, Valve, ever aware
of the communities work, employed Jess Cliffe at Valve software to develop and progress
Counter Strike to the elite.

Past and Present
Today as it stands Counter Strike is still extremely popular on Steam. It attracts
60,000 to 85,000 gamers at any time of day, making it the 2nd most played game on
Steam behind Counter Strike: Source, its successor. Since its first release in June
1999, it’s steadily increased to this level, only being pegged back by its Source
counterpart. Up to Counter Strike version 1.5, the game used to be played through
the WON network, a fairly archaic system. Upon the release of Steam, the content
delivery system in September 2003, Counter Strike was updated to its current version
you can play now, 1.6.

CS 1.6 comprises of rounds usually around 2-5 minutes in length whereby terrorists
face off against Counter Terrorists. These two teams are thrown into an objective
based map, which they must complete, as well as eliminating the opposing team. There
are 3 main official map types, the 2 most common being ‘demolition’ (de_dust, de_dust2,
de_aztec), and ‘counter strike maps – hostage rescue’ (cs_assault, cs_militia, cs_office).
There is also a VIP mode, whereby one player is the VIP and must be protected by
his team while trying to reach a destination.

Each round begins with the two teams spawning at certain places on the map. There
is usually a ‘freeze time’ whereby the players cannot move and this time is when
guns and equipment are purchased for the round. You then proceed into combat, challenging
the objectives. Terrorists attempt to set up explosives at bomb sites on demolition
maps, and Counter Terrorists seek to disarm the explosives as well as eliminating
all Terrorists. On hostage maps, terrorists usually spawn near the hostages to protect
them, while Counter Terrorists seek to infiltrate and escort them back to a ‘hostage
rescue zone’ usually near their spawn. If a player is killed during the round, he
is then dead for the remainder of it, till a new one begins. While he is dead, he
is able to spectate the game and see how it turns out.

Points are awarded for completing objective or killing opposing team players. On
the scoreboard the game keeps a record of how many rounds each team has won, as
well as your kill and death statistics.

The Hardware
The guns that are available are very well balanced and optimised. There is a good
selection so you’ll always be able to find something for a specific occasion. There
are various pistols (USP, glock17, and desert eagle), shotguns (12 gauge and automatic),
sub machine guns (MP5, UMP, and Mac10), Rifles (M4a1, Ak47, Bull pup, Galil, Famas
and Arctic Warfare Magnum), a machine gun (Para) and a variety of accessories (Kevlar
+ helmet, night vision, flashbangs, explosive grenades, smoke grenades, riot shield
and defusal kits). You’ll be allowed 1 rifle/ SMG or MG, and one pistol, 2 flashbangs,
and 1 HE and Smoke grenade. Other accessories can all be purchased without restriction.

Maps and Culture
With such a well established game that has now been huge for just under 10 years,
Counter Strike has become a huge part of online gaming. The mod support for the
game is tremendous, with a huge array of custom models / skins / textures and maps.
The original maps are fantastic and revered so highly they have been enhanced and
put into Counter Strike: Source. Some of the best include de_dust 1 and 2, cs_office,
de_aztec, de_inferno, cs_assault and cs_italy.

The game as you may have guessed also has a professional gaming following and is
supported but some of the largest leagues, including the Cyberathlete Professional
League (CPL). Watching these players is incredible, and few of us could ever compete,
however Counter Strike is a game that you and almost anybody can pick up and have
fun with. These days nearly any computer can run it and you’ll get an experience
which is one of the foundations Valve Software have built upon, to the quality of
games they are producing today.
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