Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CounterStrike: Source

Counter Strike is one of the most popular FPS games of all time.  First released in 1999, it quickly became a hit amongst the competitive gaming industry.  Fast forward to 2004, when CounterStrike: Source came out.  CounterStrike: Source took the original CounterStrike and graphically updated it so it would look a lot cleaner.  Though there is much debate over this topic, Source is my favorite CounterStrike game.

In CounterStrike, there are 2 teams: Terrorists (T's), and Counter-terrorists (CT's).  The objective of the game was to accomplish the objective in the map.  There were three main objectives:

1. Bomb Maps: The Terrorists must plant a bomb in a designated location, and defend it until it explodes.  The Counter-Terrorists must defuse the bomb before it goes off.

2. Hostage Maps: The Counter-Terrorists must locate and rescue a group of hostages that are being held by the terrorists.  The Terrorists must prevent the hostages from reaching the rescue point.

Winning by killing the other team

3. Other: Eliminate the opposing team before they kill you

In Bomb and Hostage maps, winning can also be achieved by killing the entire enemy team.


I first played CounterStrike Source at my friend's house.  I would go over his house on the weekends, and we would play CounterStrike.  Because he only had one computer, we would have to take turns.  But I had fun spectating the game aswell.  The map we used to play a lot was called fy_simpsons.  The map is really small, and is perfect for fast rounds. 
fy_simpsons: One of my favorite maps.

*Note: All of the following screenshots were taken by me*

A Player Created Map based off of Pac-Man

My favorite part of CounterStrike was the Player Modded maps.  Players who knew how to code could create their own maps that people could play on.  The only limitation was a person's imagination, or their programming skill.  One of the more memorable Player Modded maps I have played on is called de_thematrix.  This map was a re-creation of the Matrix, and contained many elements from the Matrix Movies (ex: The Dojo, White Room, Telephone).

A Player Created map with Tron bikes.

widow: Always at the top of the leaderboards

One of the best parts of playing CounterStrike is developing Rivalries with other players.  I have spent over 1000 hours playing CounterStrike.  Having played against thousands of people, the best player I have faced is this guy named widow.  Widow is a retired CounterStrike professional player, which would help explain why he's go good at the game.  We used to play on the same server together.  The map was always cs_office.  I have played over 10,000 rounds on that map, and I know all the hiding spots and where the enemy will be.  But, I still couldn't Widow. Everytime I would run into him, I would press my mouse to fire my gun, but he would always kill me first.  It was a very frustrating experience.  But, it was also very rewarding when I finally did kill him.

I killed widow!

There was this other server I liked to play a lot.  What made this server special was that it was a Bot server.  Humans on one team.  Bots on the other.  While this may seem easy, it wasn't.  If the humans started winning, the Bots got harder.  It was not uncommon to be facing Bots with over 200 Health!  This made it an added challenge where you really had to be smart and use teamwork in order to succeed.

A line of Bots all sufferring the same fate: Death.

My score of 32-4 on the Bot Server. 
After years of playing, I eventually formed a clan with a few of my friends.  The clan was called GAUSS, and we were mainly a casual CounterStrike clan.  The purpose of the clan was so we could play together and develop teamwork and different strategies.  We would communicate through Skype, so we would be able to hear each other while playing.  This made it more effective when relaying enemy location points to each other.  Playing with friends was a great part of playing CounterStrike, and motivated you to perform better and improve your skills.

Me and my Friend representing GAUSS Clan
Our scores after A nice clan scrimmage

At the height of its Popularity, CounterStrike Source was an amazing game.  It was a classic FPS game with no gimmicks.  There was no regenerating health like in Call of Duty, no shield like in Halo.  It was a game of skill and mastery.  Play enough, memorize the maps, and you will do well. 

de_dust2, one of the most popular maps in CounterStrike

Nowadays, CounterStrike Source has died down.  This is due to a new game called CounterStrike: Global Offensive, that came out in 2013.  Most of the players switched to Global Offensive, leaving Source quieter than ever.  I tried Global Offensive, but I just couldn't get used to it.  Source was better in almost every way to me.  I still play Source, but there are a lot less servers to choose from nowadays.  Before, it was "Wow, there's so many choices!  Which server should I join?"  Now, it's "Which servers have people playing in them?"

One of the servers I play on these days: Old Drunk Men

But I will never forget those days, playing CounterStrike Source with my friend, facing off against people like widow, and dying and dying again.  The thing was: I kept dying against him, but I kept coming back for more.  You know a game is good when you keep losing but keep coming back for a second shot, a chance to die a more honorable death. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Gunz The Duel: (2006-2013)

Gunz the Duel was a massive multiplayer online 3rd-person shooting game created by a company called MAIET Entertainment.  It was first released in the US in November 2006.  Gunz was unlike any shooting game that previously came out before it.  Players could run on the side of walls, block bullets with their sword, and tumble around the map like a gymnast.  Best of all, the game was free-to-play, although there was an online shop where you could spend real money and buy fashionable clothing sets and weapons.

These outfits cost real money.  But the fun was for free.

Surprisingly, what made Gunz widely successful and popular was due to a glitch in the game.  People were able to exploit the sword mechanics in the game, and thus "K-Style" was born.  K-Style, which stood for Korean Style, consisted of advanced keyboard combinations using a sword.  The discovery of K-Style allowed players to learn highly effective moves and combinations that greatly increased their skill and chance of killing their opponent.

The Online Shop in the game where you could buy items and dress up your character.

There were many game modes available to play, such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Assassination.  But by far my favorite mode was the Quest Mode.  In Quest Mode, you team up with your fellow players to defeat monsters and collect treasure chests, which contain items inside.  Players would sell the items for money, which is used to buy new weapons and clothing. 

Aneramon Boss in Gunz, the one I hated the most.

On rare occasions, you would find a boss item inside the treasure chest.  By combining certain boss items and sacrificing them, you were able to face Bosses.  The Boss Battles were always a lot of fun, even if you lost.  There were certain bosses that were extremely difficult, such as Aneramon, shown above.  Only experienced players with good communication skills were able to emerge victorious at the end.

The Boss known as "Lich".

What made Gunz the Duel fun to me was because it was a unique aspect on a genre.  There have been plenty of shooting games that have come out, but there hasn't been anything like Gunz.  Gunz takes the shooting aspect, and adds a Matrix-like dimension where you can perform moves like running on walls.  It was a shooting game on steroids.  The discovery of K-Style added a whole new element to the game that took everyone by storm.  If you didn't learn K-Style, you feel behind and became easy fodder.  Below is the original trailer for Gunz the Duel.  This is a small sample of what is possible in the game. 

Gunz is a game of Mastery, a game with a steep learning curve that requires patients and hours of practice.  This can be a turnoff for some people, but it was motivation for me.  There was a period of time when I was addicted to the game.  I remember coming back home from school and going right to my computer to play Gunz.  Homework could wait, there were more important matters at hand.  There were some days where my parents had to yell at me to get off the computer because I was playing Gunz.

A personal screenshot of mine I found online.

However, I have to point out one of the negatives about Gunz: Hackers.  Hacking was prevalent in Gunz.  Oftentimes, while in a game, a hacker would join and ruin all the fun.  It's not cool facing someone with super speed and infinite health with the ability to kill you in one second.  Thankfully, there were options that allowed you to kick the hacker from the room.

A Hacker using the "Lawnmower" Hack.  If you touched the yellow orb you automatically died.

Despite all this, Gunz was overall a very fun game to me, and I spent hundreds of hours playing it.  Therefore, I was saddened when I found out that the game was to be cancelled at the end of May 2013.  It is currently March 2015, and it has been almost 2 years since I have played Gunz.  There are some private servers available where people recreated the game, but I have not joined any.  I think it is for the better.  I do not want to get addicted again, not when I am about to graduate in two months.