Play or Pass: Counter-Strike

Welcome to the next post in my year-long series “Play or Pass” that takes on the proverbial “must before death” theme with video games. Every other week I will be covering one or two games from “32 Video Games You Have To Play Before You Die,” a list compiled by BuzzFeed based on a reader poll. I will not be critiquing the list itself, but rather I’ll be discussing each game or games in whatever manner feels fitting and will attempt to answer a couple simple questions: Have I played [insert game name here]? If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why? If no, do I want to play the game before I die? I’ll be going through the games in the order in which they appear on the BuzzFeed list. Good? Good. Let’s get on with the games!

Week three: (4) Counter-Strike


In the BuzzFeed article that inspired this project, the following blurb heads this week’s game: Counter-Strike.

The Counter-Strike (PC) games are an exercise in pacing and team-based gameplay in multiplayer.

This statement concisely describes everything I know about the Counter-Strike games, and it contains three immediate turn-offs: “pacing,” “team-based,” and “multiplayer.” If you’ve been reading my blog, that shouldn’t come as a shock, for you know I am a stalwart single player with bad timing. So games like Counter-Strike aren’t even on my gaming radar. In fact, the only bit of trivia that I know about the Counter-Strike series is that it started life as a mod for the game Half-Life. And the only reason I know that is because I once knew devout Half-Life player who was more than willing to discuss the game in any setting.

All that said, I am aware that Counter-Strike is a massively popular series. (Same goes for Half-Life, which I’ve at least seen in  motion.) Okay, so maybe I just learned this over the recent Christmas holiday when my husband and his friend conspired to obtain one of its most recent sequels, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, through Steam. Wanting to be careful with all of our carefully-accrued Steam dollars, I watched as he ran through dozens upon dozens of reviews and videos about the game. Through all that searching, I came to know more about the Counter-Strike fan base than I probably ever wanted. And I thought I knew something about Call of Duty and Halo zealots! Indeed, the religion of Counter-Strike was…is…astounding. Players giving up most of their lives to their favorite game in the series. Groups of devoted players claiming their stakes to become the absolute best. People seeking to find a co-op experience that will give back to them as much as they put in.

Yes, true, those are statements that can be applied to any number of games series with solid, long-term support, but I personally didn’t realize just how close people were to their shooters until Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. And I guess that Counter-Strike isn’t just any shooter, since it’s all about playing as a team. There seems to be no single-player offshoot of the game.

Rather than ramble on further about a game that I’ve never played, how about those questions?

Have I played Counter-Strike?

If yes, then do I consider it a “must?”
As I honestly don’t know how to answer this, I put the question to you, the audience, and specifically those of you with Counter-Strike experience. What sets this game apart from other shooters? Is there something about it that makes it a “must” play? Would I be committing sacrilege if I said “no, you should really just play CoD or Halo?”

If no, then do I want to play the game before I die?
Nope. It’s just not my bag, baby.


  1. I have some experience with CS… I can’t say I was a fan, although my best friend at the time was into it like crazy. I’d say the closest recent-ish equivalent is Team Fortress 2, which of course also began as a Half-Life mod (it might have even been a Quake mod before Half-Life IIRC). There’s a lot of depth to these games but they are seriously competitive and require excellent twitch skills, especially CounterStrike, so I wouldn’t personally recommend them to anyone who didn’t want to sink six months minimum into learning maps, strategies, and of course honing that trigger finger.

    In general I think the BuzzFeed list is pretty decent (I’m looking forward to when you get around to writing about Chrono Trigger!), but I would never even think to put something so inaccessible on my own equivalent list of “must-plays”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen lots of Call of Duty in action, but I was way more impressed watching Counter-Strike:GO players. I really can’t imagine the reaction times needed to be successful at the game. Me, I’d be dead before anything ever started.

      Liked by 1 person

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