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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Not Global Offensive. Not Source. I’m talking the original Counter-Strike. The Half-Life mod; the game that was more popular than its online competitors combined; the game that in many ways pioneered both games as services and games as playable alphas; the game that spawned two follow-ups but which even right now, as I’m writing this, has 20,211 concurrent players through Steam.
Early Access games are here to stay, but is that cause for concern or celebration? We gathered to discuss whether early access benefits developers or players in its current state, and how we’d make it better. Along the way, we discussed the best alpha examples, paying for unfinished games, our love of regularly updated mods, Minecraft and the untapped potential of digital stores.>
In Pop Flash, a series of insights into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], Emily Richardson looks past the amazing clutches and crushing defeats to understand the culture and meta of Valve s everlasting competitive FPS.>
This week, I ll be discussing abuse and toxic behaviour in the CS:GO community. Before we get to it, let me reiterate that I am madly in love with Counter-Strike. It s simply one of the best team games out there. This piece, however, is meant to highlight one important issue that I think we can overcome.
If I close my eyes and think of childhood memories and the spaces that contain them, my mind might touch upon a bedroom, a school playground or a muddy playing field, but it might just as easily come to rest upon Q2DM1, Q3DM17 or de_prodigy. The angles and textures and travel times of certain multiplayer maps are seared into my brain through repetition, their tiny details lacquered by the tension of triumph and defeat.
But I like that they’re more than just memories. I don’t find much time to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but it’s a wonderful thing and Valve have been doing great work in gradually reviving and revitalizing maps from older versions of the game. They’ve done just that today to de_train, an old favourite, and if you’ve ever played Counter-Strike it’s worth watching the video below and reading the post on the Counter-Strike blog which explains the changes.
A recent study by the PEW Internet Project exposed the blindingly obvious hypocrisy of most people’s attitudes towards online services. We don’t want our privacy compromised, we don’t think big companies can be trusted with our data, and the power of corporations like Google makes us uncomfortable. But despite all these deeply-held and very serious fears, billions of people still use the products involved. So too with DLC in all forms. We bitch and moan, mock the price on twitter, talk about how far games have fallen and then pony up the dough when nobody’s looking. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s new Operation Vanguard is what we’ve let ourselves in for. >
And in “Well this is a nice idea but it would involve me not playing Jason Derulo on repeat while headshotting Ben so you can count me out” news: there are now Counter-Strike: Global Offensive music kits.
What that means is when you have a music kit equipped it replaces the in-game music with music from your kit. That covers *deep breath* the main menu, round start, round end, bomb planting, bomb warning, round won, round lost, round end warning and death camera bits of a match. For extra RUB-IT-IN-YOUR-FACE-ness there’s also a special MVP anthem which plays to everyone when you’re MVP.
Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies is a weird thing. A zombified free-to-play version of dear old CS 1.6 made by not-Valve always would be but gosh, this video game! I’ve inadvertently played a good five hours since Nexon launched it into open beta on Tuesday. I’m baffled but fascinated. It feels like a cover-disc collection of mods passed through a portal from a world where Valve released source code for Counter-Strike, not Half-Life, so CS became the base for loads of odd mods.
One mode in the free-to-play Counter-Strike Online 2 sees players turn into a deadly cartoon pig. Another gives terrorists cloaking devices, and of course the game does zombies too. The original CS Online has an event starring giant bug men. In Japanese arcades, Counter-Strike Neo had sexy cyberbabes. The straight-faced man-shooter lives a fabulous double-life thanks to Valve licensing it to Asian developers, who rebuild in weird ways we don’t usually see. But!
Later these year we’ll all get to coo and prod at one of these oddities when Nexon bring Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies to western players through Steam, free-to-play.
How long is it before everyone copies Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update structure? The latest addition to the venerable multiplayer shooter is called Operation Breakout, and it adds six new maps for everyone to play for free. For those willing and able to pay $6, you then get a now-familiar bundle of upgrades including access to mission drops with the chance to unlock “45 exclusive weapon finishes”, a Challenge Coin which tracks your achievement-y ‘mission’ progress, and a new weapon case containing new community designs.
Given how most other games split their multiplayer communities by selling the maps directly, and given how that split is bad even for the developers, surely it’s only a matter of time before we’re covering our Battlefield and Call of Duty weaponry with paid-for and unlockable stickers and baubles. More details on the update and its maps below.