Now that Counter-Strike 2 has been announced, there is nothing better than pointing to the past, to its beginnings, to those Internet cafes full of people playing its very first version amidst tobacco smoke and a lot of heat. Because Counter-Strike continues to enchant players so many years later by maintaining the playable bases.
The history of a first person shooter that has dazzled different generations thanks to its proposal. What a mod could do, couldn’t it?
Half-Life, the basis of everything
There are dozens of famous and well-known video games that have seen the light of day thanks to mods and creation tools. In other words: they are not developed with a commercial purpose in mind, but as an add-on or change for other titles. However, the unbridled success of these variations ends up turning them into successful products and they are commercialized.
In the specific case of Counter-Strike, everything was born as a result of a Quake II mod, which was called Action Quake II. The idea was simple and already had the basic premise: weapons, objects and two groups facing each other while playing online. Minh Le, the architect of this idea, went all out to make it a reality, with Jess Cliffe, level designer, in charge of shaping it and that name already known to all: Counter-Strike.
However, this is only the beginning, as anyone who knows the story will know that Counter-Strike is not developed with a Quake II mod, but with Half-Life. As soon as the team realized the potential of Half-Life with its tool for creating maps, characters, weapons, etc., they didn’t think much about it and took the leap.
The team began to gain good fame on the Internet thanks to the launch of the first beta in June 1999, something that did not go unnoticed by the people at Valve. In the company they observed that the product was (and is) good, that it had the potential to become much more as long as it was given a budget. With that, Valve made an offer to Le and Cliffe and they didn’t think twice about it. After a while, in November 2000, the first version was released under the name of Half-Life: Counter-Strike.
In this sense, Valve was very smart, because instead of charging for it as an independent title, what they did was to release it completely free of charge. Of course, it required a version of Half-Life to be able to be played.
The success of cybercafés
Although Counter-Strike triumphed on the Internet and among Half-Life owners, we must not forget that at the beginning of the new millennium not everyone had access to the Internet as they do now. Because of this, Counter-Strike enjoyed an inordinate fame in Internet cafes and arcades.
The idea was simple: a place full of PCs where you could connect to the Internet, play video games and all for a small fee. Moreover, and to top it off, Counter-Strike did not require very high specifications, hence the cybercafés spread all over the world beyond the Internet connection: they were also used to play video games.
Counter-Strike began to work among these users, to such an extent that clans, championships and an entire ecosystem were created around the game. Counter-Strike was so popular that only a year after its launch (in 2001), Valve already had more than 9,000 servers available for play. If you think that a couple of years earlier it was nothing more than a mod, this amazes anyone.
From this point on, Valve only had to do one thing: keep building on the base created, all the way up to this Counter-Strike 2 that we will have among us this summer. And as a detail, this spectacular data: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive got 1,320,219 players during last February, an absolute record for the game and third in the history of Steam. Real vertigo.
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