When you ask what Counter-Strike means to a diehard fan it is hard to put into words. Countless hours have been spent on this game by community members since its inception in 1999 to turn it into the global eSports giant it is today. I, like many pro players (e.g. Timothy “autimatic” Ta, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, and Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert), gained the passion to play the game from my older brother and his friends in 2005. I remember going over to my neighbor’s house when my brother and he would have small one-vs.-one and two-vs.-two local area network (LAN) tournaments with local neighborhood kids. I asked them if I could join when they were playing Counter-Strike: Source and the game quickly blossomed into a passion of mine. I didn’t get to play much when I was younger since we only owned one PC and I had two older brothers to compete with for computer time. I played Counter-Strike: Source for years and always seemed to come back to it no matter what came into my life. In 2009, when I was 14 years old, my mom allowed me to make payments on a Dell desktop after I got my first job which is when my love affair for Counter-Strike really developed.

I took a hiatus from gaming in 2012 for personal reasons, but when I returned in May of 2015, I certainly showed a bit of rust. I played Counter-Strike: Source for most of my childhood so I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of playing a new Counter-Strike game (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) with the uncertainty of what was to come. I speak for most of the community when I say: neither was anyone else. The Counter-Strike community was worried about the new release and what would come of it from the developers at Valve. Professional players were afraid their skills wouldn’t translate from Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source to the new game, so many of them retired. I played in a casual setting until my friend Tyler was at my house and taught me recoil patterns for various guns in the game. I took this newly attained insight from him and started applying it to my game style. His other tip was to watch and learn from as many YouTube video tutorials made by professionals and Counter-Strike community members as I could. Once I started watching YouTube tips and tricks videos I quickly realized my early days playing Counter-Strike: Source was fun but sadly involved a lot of wasted in-game time that I could have spent bettering myself instead of running around with no goal in sight.

With this new knowledge and a renewed passion for the game, I quickly realized the series was much more than a normal first-person shooter. The game takes a great amount of time to master its intricate positioning, precise grenades, strict economic management, close timing, strict shooting patterns, and intelligent strategies. To win you need four other teammates willing to work with you on the Terrorist side to plant the bomb and defend it until it explodes or defeat all five enemies to win. On the Counter-Terrorist side, you must defend the bomb sites until time runs out, defeat all five enemy team members or defuse the bomb after it is planted with four other teammates.

Nearly ten years ago the professional Counter-Strike: Source team, 3D.NY, played in the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) league and I fell in love with watching them. I never missed a replay of their games and enjoyed watching Kyle “Ksharp” Miller in action. Ksharp was insanely talented with Counter-Strike’s most famous sniper, the AWP, but could also pick up the Terrorist side’s primary assault rifle, the AK-47 and dominate with that as well. He retired shortly after Counter-Strike: Global Offensive released after dominating the North American region in the previous two iterations of the Counter-Strike series.

In the early days of Counter-Strike, it was hard to find professional matches to watch and learn from. Today Counter-Strike news, events, rumors, scores, and live matches are everywhere thanks to streaming channels like Twitch and MLG.tv which makes it nearly impossible to miss out on any events or current happenings in the professional scene. Counter-Strike Global Offensive has saved the Counter-Strike series by taking a competitive scene that was very divided amongst two separate games (Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source) and united them into one community, merging the reigning giants of both games into one to create a recipe for monumental success. After all, without the merger of these two diehard communities we would have never witnessed the magical ex-Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) lineup that produced a major championship winning team of Adam “Friberg” Friberg, Robin “Fifflaren” Johannson from Counter-Strike: Source and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, and Richard “Xizt” Landstrom from the Counter-Strike 1.6 community, a team that won the hearts of fans fast when the newly released Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game arrived in 2012 and they started out with an impressive 87-0 record in offline events, a feat that still has yet to be surpassed.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has risen to prominence at a booming pace with the addition of skins, more outspoken professional players, and the creation of dream lineups with powerhouse players from both Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source. With the large, diehard fanbase it has, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It is here to stay with a large impact on the global esports scene.

Now that you have a bit of background knowledge of Valve’s famous flagship game get out there and frag!