Box art for the Windows stand-alone release
Developer(s) Valve Corporation
Publisher(s) Valve Corporation
Sierra Studios (former)
Microsoft Game Studios (Xbox)
Distributor(s) Steam (online)
Designer(s) Minh "Gooseman" Le
Jess Cliffe
Engine GoldSrc (Half-Life)
Version 1.6 (September 15, 2003)[1]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox
Release date(s) June 12, 1999 (1999-06-12) (Mod)
November 8, 2000 (Retail)
March 25, 2004 (Xbox)
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Multiplayer,singleplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Mature
ELSPA: 15+
Media/distribution CD-ROM
digital download
System requirements

Counter-Strike (shortened sometimes to CS) is a tactical first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation which originated from a Half-Life modification by Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess "Cliffe" Cliffe. The game has been expanded into a series since its original release, which currently includes Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike: Source, Counter-Strike: Anthology and Counter-Strike on Xbox. Counter-Strike pits a team of counter-terrorists against a team of terrorists in a series of rounds. Each round is won by either completing the mission objective or eliminating the opposing force.

The game was the most played Half-Life modification in terms of players, according to GameSpy in 2008.[2]

As of August 2011, the Counter-Strike franchise, which debuted 12 years before, had sold over 25 million units.[3]



Counter-Strike is a first-person shooter in which players join either the terrorist team, the counter-terrorist team, or become a spectator. Each team attempts to complete their mission objective and/or eliminate the opposing team. Each round starts with the two teams spawning simultaneously.

A player can choose to play as one of four different default character models (four for each side, although Counter-Strike: Condition Zero added two extra models, bringing the total to ten). Players are generally given a few seconds before the round begins (known as "freeze time") to prepare and buy equipment, during which they cannot attack or walk/move (a player can still take damage, having the player drop from a certain height during freeze time was the only way a map designer could control the players starting "HP"). They can return to the buy area within a set amount of time to buy more equipment (some custom maps included neutral "buy zones" that could be used by both teams). Once the round has ended, surviving players retain their equipment for use in the next round; players who were killed begin the next round with the basic default starting equipment.

Standard monetary bonuses are awarded for winning a round, losing a round, killing an enemy, being the first to instruct a hostage to follow, rescuing a hostage or planting (Terrorist)/defusing (Counter terrorist) the bomb.

The scoreboard displays team scores in addition to statistics for each player: name, kills, deaths, and ping (in milliseconds). The scoreboard also indicates whether a player is dead, carrying the bomb (on bomb maps), or is the VIP (on assassination maps), although information on players on the opposing team is hidden from a player until his/her death, as this information can be important.

Killed players become "spectators" for the duration of the round; they cannot change their names until they spawn (come alive) again, text chat cannot be sent to or received from live players; and voice chat can only be received from live players and not sent to them (unless the cvar sv_alltalk is set to 1). Spectators are generally able to watch the rest of the round from multiple selectable views, although some servers disable some of these views to prevent dead players from relaying information about living players to their teammates through alternative media (most notably voice in the case of Internet cafes and Voice over IP programs such as TeamSpeak or Ventrilo). This form of cheating is known as "ghosting".


Mods and scripts

Though Counter-Strike is itself a mod, it has developed its own community of script writers and mod creators. Some mods add bots, while others remove features of the game, and others create different modes of play. Some of the mods give server administrators more flexible and efficient control over his or her server. "Admin plugins", as they are mostly referred as, have become very popular (see Metamod, AMX Mod and AMX Mod X). There are some mods which affect gameplay heavily, such as Gun Game, where players start with a basic pistol and must score kills to receive better weapons, and Zombie Mod, where one team consists of zombies and must "spread the infection" by killing the other team (using only the knife). There are also the Superhero and Warcraft III mods which mix the first-person gameplay of Counter-Strike with an experience system, allowing a player to become more powerful as they continue to play. The game is also highly customizable on the player's end, allowing the user to install or even create their own custom skins, HUDs, sprites, and sound effects, given the proper tools.


Counter Strike has been a prime target for exploitation by cheaters since its release. In-game, cheating is often referred to as "hacking" in reference to programs or "hacks" executed by the user.

  • Wallhacks allows players to see through walls. These work by displaying objects that are normally obscured or by replacing opaque game textures with translucent ones. As the engine only renders the immediate area around the player, this does not allow a player to see the entire level at once.
  • Speedhacks give the player increased foot speed. These work by sending false synchronization data to the server.
  • Recoil hack removes any recoil (and thus improves accuracy) from a player's firearm.
  • No spread is used to remove the random deviation normally experienced when the player shoots. This is similar to the recoil hack.
  • Aimbots help the player aim at enemies. Practically the same as auto-targeting, These work by either modifying a bullet's in-flight path, or automatically moving the player's crosshair onto an enemy.
  • ESP shows textual information about the enemy; such as health, name and distance; also information about weapons lying around the map, which could be missed without the hack. Most ESP cheats show info through walls.
  • Barrel hack depicts an enemy's gaze as a visible line.
  • Anti-flash and anti-smoke remove the effects of the flashbang and smoke grenade. Implementation is derived from the wall hack.

Valve has implemented an anti-cheat system called Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC). Players cheating on a VAC-enabled server risk having their account permanently banned from all VAC-secured servers.

With the first version of VAC, a ban took hold almost instantly after being detected and the cheater had to wait 2 years to have the account unbanned.[4] Since VAC's second version, cheaters are not banned automatically. With the second version, Valve instituted a policy of 'delayed bans,' the theory being that a new hack is developed which circumvents the VAC system, it will spread amongst the 'cheating' community. By delaying the initial ban, Valve hopes to identify (and ban) as many cheaters as possible. Like any software detection system, some cheats are not detected by VAC and at times, the only effective anti-cheat solution is a human administrator watching an online game. Some servers implement a voting system, in which case players can call for a vote to kick or ban the accused cheater. VAC's success at identifying cheats and banning those who use them has also provided a boost in the purchasing of private cheats.[5] These cheats are updated frequently to minimize the risk of detection, and are generally only available to a trusted list of recipients who collectively promise not to reveal the underlying design.

The ESL wire anti-cheat program is one of the most modern anti-cheat programs. It took the developers, Turtle Entertainment, six months of work and more than $500,000[citation needed] to finish the project. Although successfully preventing hacks from being run, the program faced strong criticism by the counter-strike community[who?] for its frequent crashing. It is still, however, the official anti-cheat program used by the Electronic Sports League in the league's online tournaments and competitions.[citation needed]


When Counter-Strike was published by Sierra Entertainment/Vivendi Universal Games, it was bundled with Team Fortress Classic, Opposing Force multiplayer, and the Wanted, Half-Life: Absolute Redemption and Firearms mods."[6]

On 24 March 1999[verification needed] Planet Half-Life opened its Counter-Strike section. Within two weeks, the site had received 10,000 hits. On June 19, 1999, the first public beta of Counter-Strike was released, followed by numerous further "beta" releases. On April 12, 2000, Valve announced that the Counter-Strike developers and Valve had teamed up.

The non-beta release dates of Counter-Strike are as follows:[7]

  • Version 1.0: November 1, 2000
  • Version 1.1: March 13, 2001
  • Version 1.3: September 12, 2001
  • Version 1.4: April 24, 2002
  • Version 1.5: June 12, 2002
  • Version 1.6: September 15, 2003

Note: Version 1.6 effectively coincided with the release of Valve Software's Steam content delivery system. All further updates and bug fixes have been dynamically delivered via Steam, without any specific new version numbers.

On January 25, 2003, a world wide competition was held by Valve and hosted by Dell. Numerous Dell desktops and laptops were awarded in the competition which attracted over 10,000 participants. The competition was held over a two week period, with the winners "b0b" and "jsrawr" being announced on February 15 on Valve's website.[citation needed]

Counter-Strike: Source

Counter-Strike received a major technology update and refresh on November 1, 2004 with the release of Counter-Strike: Source, which was heavily updated using Valve's Source game engine to take advantage of more modern graphics and audio hardware. However, the original Counter-Strike is still available and played by many people via Steam, as the two variants are quite different, and players inevitably prefer one variant over the other. Both versions continue to co-exist today.

Counter-Strike was originally played online through the WON gaming service, which was shut down in 2004,[8] forcing players to switch to Steam. The non-Steam version of Counter-Strike (version 1.5) can still be downloaded from sites such as FilePlanet.[9] Due to the closure of WON, part of the player community responded by creating their own WON network, dubbed WON2.[citation needed]

In March 2007, Valve implemented mandatory advertisements through Steam in official maps and in the game's GUI overhead. Customers have expressed frustration with the ads, including an over 200 page thread on Valve's official forums, saying that they violate original terms of service and distract from the game.[10] The thread was later deleted by an unknown moderator.

Counter-Strike Online

Counter-Strike Online is available in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia, and is now fully online. It is developed by Nexon Corporation with oversight from license-holder Valve Corporation, and is an attempt to increase market share of Valve's games in the Asian gaming market.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

On August 12, 2011, it was confirmed that a new Counter Strike game is currently in development at Valve Software and Hidden Path Entertainment, which also codevelopes Counter-Strike: Source, going under the title Global Offensive.[11]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 89.20%[12]
Metacritic 88/100[13]
Review scores
Publication Score

Counter-Strike received generally favorable reviews.


Counter Strike is famous for the culture surrounding it, which includes everything from professional gamers and leagues, to excessive cheating and disruptive behavior. Certain professional teams (such as SK Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Complexity Gaming, mTw, Frag Executors, Na`Vi, fnatic and couple older teams Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team 3D ) have come to earn a living out of it, while other clans and community based groups neither lose nor earn money via member donations which are self-sustaining in return for administrator rights in servers involved in the community.

Counter-Strike remains extremely popular to this day. There are currently professional online leagues supporting Counter-Strike, such as the E-Sports Entertainment League (ESEA), Regional Gaming Associaion League (RGA League), Virtual Entertainment Gaming Association League (VEGA) and CyberEvolution, a pay-to-play league. Various LAN tournaments are held throughout the world such as the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC), the World e-Sports Games (WEG), CyberAthlete Professional League (CPL), and the World Cyber Games (WCG). Championship matches in these events are televised with commentary and analysis.

There have been a multitude of games claimed by their developers, reviewers and fans to be "Counter-Strike killers," but none have seriously been able to dent its overall popularity.[citation needed] Server statistics in 2002 showed that Counter-Strike servers outnumbered their Battlefield, Unreal Tournament 2003 or Quake III first-person shooter counterparts at least 3 to 1.[14][not in citation given] However, as criticism of Condition Zero showed, the GoldSrc engine has already been surpassed by several generations of newer engines. Even Counter-Strike: Source has been criticized for not progressing the gameplay enough and failing to take full advantage of the Source engine.[15][16]


Counter-Strike faced controversy in April 2007 when Jack Thompson, now a disbarred attorney from Florida, predicted that the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech Massacre had been trained to kill in the game, well before Seung-Hui Cho (the shooter) was identified. News sources originally stated that Seung-Hui Cho only played the game in high school, however no video games whatsoever were found in the gunman's dorm room, and there is no evidence that he ever played Counter-Strike.[17][18] Thompson also blamed Counter-Strike for the February 14, 2008 Northern Illinois University shooting perpetrated by Steven Kazmierczak on the day after the shooting. It is reported that Kazmierczak did play Counter-Strike in college.

On January 17, 2008, a Brazilian federal court order prohibiting all sales of Counter-Strike and EverQuest and imposing the immediate withdrawal of these from all stores began to be enforced. The federal Brazilian judge Carlos Alberto Simões de Tomaz, of the Minas Gerais judiciary section, ordered the ban in October 2007 because, according to him, the games "bring imminent stimulus to the subversion of the social order, attempting against the democratic and rightful state and against the public safety".[19][20][21][22] As of June 18, 2009, a regional federal court order lifting the prohibition on the sale of Counter-Strike was published. The game is now being sold again in Brazil.[23]

External links


  1. ^ : Counter-Strike version history.
  2. ^ "Top Mods For Half Life By Players". GameSpy. Retrieved 2008-06-12. [dead link]
  3. ^ Eddie Makuch (12 August 2011). "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive firing up early 2012". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc.. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Counter Strike - Complete Noobs Guide to Not-so-Noob". Retrieved 2011-11-7. 
  5. ^ "Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC)". Steam. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  6. ^ "IGN: Counter-Strike Review". IGN. Retrieved May 17, 2007. 
  7. ^ Counter-Strike – CS info » history
  8. ^ "Valve to Close WON Servers". IGN.Com. 2004-07-15. Retrieved January 11, 2007. 
  9. ^ FilePlanet: Counter-Strike 1.5 Full Mod Client [Win32]
  10. ^ "Ads Now In CS1.6". CSNation. 2007-03-05. Archived from the original on March 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  11. ^ Eddie Makuch (12 August 2011). "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive firing up early 2012". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc.. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Half-Life: Counter-Strike". GameRankings. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  13. ^ "Half-Life: Counter-Strike". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  14. ^ Steam: Game and Player Statistics
  15. ^ Boomtown - cs - Counter-Strike [ link broken ][dead link]
  16. ^ People's Daily Online – Counter-Strike, China police's latest tool of anti-terrorism
  17. ^ Were video games to blame for massacre?
  18. ^ Playing the blame game
  19. ^ Only In Brazil: Brazilian Government Bans Counter-Strike, EverQuest, Fun
  20. ^ Brazil bans popular video games seen to incite violence – Yahoo! News
  21. ^ Brazil bans popular video games seen to incite violence – Science & Technology – MSN Malaysia News – News
  22. ^ Folha Online – Informática – Justiça proíbe Counter Strike em todo Brasil; Procon tenta recolher jogos – 18 January 2008
  23. ^ (Portuguese) G1 – Games – Justiça libera venda do game 'Counter-Strike' no Brasil – 18 June 2009

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