I’d been trying to describe to my new coworker, the Marine, my favorite first person shooter of all time: the HalfLife mod Counter-Strike. This touched off some memories, fond ones, if you can believe, of a game that is for me the game all others of its kind will be judged against.
Counter-Strike was a modern-day set first person “shooter”, except the objective of the game wasn’t to kill your opponents. I mean, don’t get me wrong, killing your opponents while achieving the round goals was permitted, it was theoretically possible for no one to die at the end of the round and have one team win. It was this style of play, which forced player cooperation over kill-whoring, which made the game great for me. What made the game memorable was the clan I began playing with, [EGBT] was their tag, Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow the server, and the rules were simply put and violently enforced by the all-seeing and all-powerful server admins: Pursue the Objective!
Camping was strongly discouraged (unless, say, you were a terrorist on a CS map guarding your hostages), and gameplay was mercilessly short and violently bloodly. Ten seconds into a map, with the Terrorist team racing towards bomb-site B and the Counter-Terrorists rushing from the opposite direction, a hail of grenades from both teams and a flury of gunfire would leave the majority of both teams slaughtered, with the few who remained aware that a moment’s hesitation in finding the bomb or rescuing the hostages could be met with an admin_kick command, forcing a player from the almost-always packed server.
[EGBT] wasn’t a clan concerned with stats. What didn’t matter was your kill to death ratio: if it had, I would never have worn the tag. As a gameplayer, I was frequently deceased in the opening seconds of combat. There was no limit on the number of members we could have — probably at least a hundred people wore the tag, and in the Counter-Strike community there was sort of the unspoken recognition that those who wore it were aggressive as hell, possibly to the point of being short some brain cells. We even had forums (down now, but they were at egbt.us).
Sure, I had my moments of glory, such as one game on CS_Estate, where I bum-rushed the CTs and took out four of ‘em with my pump-action shotgun. Or on DE_Train, where as the only surviving member of my team, outnumbered five to one, and armed only with thirty-rounds in my MP5, I eliminated all terrorists and won the game. Mostly, however, I just played aggressively, guarding the bomb to the last as the timer ticked towards detonation, and, as the sole surviving counter-terrorists on CS_Office, charging my opponents in a hopeless attempt to win the round (there, I failed). More than once, [EGBT] Mikuru and I would rush the sloping-alley on DE_Inferno with our Para Machine Guns, blasting into the oncoming terrorists as the rest of our team took advantage of our sacrifice to take-up excellent defensive positions and shred those we didn’t get. I keenly remember a game on that same map, on that same alley, where [EGBT] Sue Aside warned everyone that friendly fire was on, and we should watch our fire. A second later, she dropped her grenade and killed not only herself but two others on our team (and both [EGBT] members). The surviving members of our team were so overcome by laughter the T’s cut us to shreds.
I last played Counter-Strike shortly before launching this blog. By that time, the [EGBT] server had been overcome by technical issues, and newer games were taking many people’s interest away from Counter-Strike. I can never escape Counter-Strike, nor do I think would I want to. Tron, who is the technical genius who built this blog for me (first on Moveable Type, then making the move to Word Press), and a blogger too, met me first on the battle zones of Counter-Strike, where he played as [EGBT] Harpoon. We met for the first time in person earlier this year. I remain in contact with [EGBT] Mikuru, who I would make suicide runs with. [EGBT] Lucifex, who I first met when I tried para-sniping a couple of T’s and wound up team-killing him (an offense for which he admin_slayed me, thinking I reckless, as I’d accidently wounded another teammate earlier the same round) is another clan member I remain in contact with.
It’s been years since I’ve played any first person shooter online. But when I have — Battlefield 1942 and Vietnam — I’ve played with the [EGBT] tag. Aggressive. Relentless. Team player. Maybe not the best shot, but dammit, I can ask, “WHO THE FUCK THROUGH THAT FLASH?!” with the best of ‘em.
(I found this, a list of quotes from [EGBT] members compiled by C Sitter. Was that [EGBT] Centurius? I don’t remember … no, had to be one of the twins … Chad? Who was he again? [EGBT] Damage Case?)
Man, this looks strange yet good: [EGBT] Malnurtured Snay. I gotta get back into FPS. Does Counter-Strike still exist? Do people still play?