Counter Strike: Condition Zero, the first PC game I ever played.
CS:CZ was a new experience for me. When I was young, I really hadn't played many FPS games other than DOOM on the SNES. So you could imagine what went through my head when I went into my neighborhood Video Store (R.I.P.) and found this game along with the original Counter-Strike on the shelves. I asked the clerk, "What are these two games like?" He said, "Shooters. Hard to play." "Is there Singleplayer?" I asked. At this point in my life I did not have a great Internet connection. "For Condition Zero. The other one doesn't but is a few years old. Both are $9.99 but I'll let you have them for keeps for $22.50," he explained. I slammed my money on the table and went home. When I got home, I realized Counter-Strike was a game my friend showed me that I showed little to no interest in. I wasn't a fan of that type of game. Nonetheless, I owned it now, so I put it in my disk drive and tried playing it. CS did not work (I exchanged it for a new disk later the next day.) So I tried Condition Zero. I put the disk in and, boom, it booted up. I was met with a main menu, with two guys with guns. I thought that was pretty cool. I tried connecting to a server, but, of course, I had no connection ( -_- ). So I clicked "Play Counter Strike: Condition Zero." I had a profile, and selected Easy mode, because I didn't know what I was getting into. Then I had to select a squadmate.......what? I pressed a guy named Kenny, who had fairly low stats, and proceeded. Then it said now loading de_dust. "What does de_dust mean?" I thought. I then started playing. I was in a middle eastern village. I was pretty confused, but I realized that "de_dust" was the map. The hint box said to hit "B" and buy some items. I was met with a store after I hit the "B" key. I bought some kevlar and then ran around. I ran into a guy who was a terrorist. Guess what I did. Nothing. I didn't know what to do. I thought the game was on rails. I LEGIT did not know mouse was used to aim. I died. Confused, I hit "Esc" hoping I could stop the game and return it, but instead a main menu overlay popped up. As I was moving my cursor towards "Quit," I accidentally hit "Esc" again and my view moved around. So I moved my mouse in circles, and guess what? My vision moved with it. So I moved out of spawn again and ran into a familiar terrorist and mashed keys, but it didn't help, so I ran away. In my panic, my elbow bumped into the "Mouse 1 Button" and I shot a bullet. So I tested it twice and then I shot two more bullets. Curious, I hit "Mouse 2" and my character put on what looked like a black stick at the time onto my little gun. So I found that terrorist guy, aimed at him, pressed "M1" 4 times, and he died. So I started getting used to the game. I eventually won the match after completing the challenge, "Kill one enemy" during the fourth round. So i kept playing, learned, got confident, and started beating the first 4 levels. I thought the game was easy.....until the enemy team had MORE PLAYERS than mine. So I died a lot, and then after raging, realized I could get more teammates. I recruited two more, and beat the crap out of the other team. Then, when I was winning 2-0, it said "THE BOMB HAS BEEN PLANTED!" "WHAT THE F**K?" I thought to myself, actually saying "heck" out loud not to get in trouble. I ran across it and mashed buttons, evetually hitting and holding "E" to defuse it. I won the round and match! I kept playing and playing.....and playing, slowly getting addicted to what I thought was the hardest game of my life (on easy) and reached the final levels. I recruited all these good teammates, and, with luck, beat the last mission on my 3rd time. Thinking I could take on real people I joined MP to see if I could take them (now had connection). I got WRECKED. I trained and trained, and STILL. STILL got wrecked. So for days, DAYS, I played the Missions to perfect myself, and got better. This game became my life. I won my first MP match after that. Everything went uphill. I won more matches. Got better. Got stronger. Got more determined to win after each loss. Got OBSESSED. After this, my friend told me Source came out. I....hated it. It felt nothing like CZ. So I returned it. However, when I happily came back to CZ, barely any players were playing. I was sad, but decided to play the original instead. It had players and felt the same! I had tons of fun with the original, and made lots of friends. I stopped playing it in '06 after STEAM took over. Sad, but happy with the outcome of my experience and training.
And now, I finally made the decision to buy them again on STEAM. And I love it. Smooth 100 fps bliss. Times don't change much when you appreciate the past.