Valve’s competitive first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive turned nine years old today. It remains the most popular game on Steam – a little bigger than Dota 2, and around four times bigger than the 3rd and 4th placed games. Not bad, eh.
Not bad considering that Valve aren’t exactly cramming Counter-Strike full of regular new maps and weapons. The anniversary was commemorated, for example, with just a tweet:
CS:GO released 9 years ago today! Whether you’ve played for one day, one week, or all nine years we are excited to have you. Thank you for playing! pic.twitter.com/Ue9luHxcQP
— CS:GO (@CSGO) August 21, 2021
I played more of the original Counter-Strike and CS:Source than I have CSGO, but I remain enormously fond of every version of the game. If I wanted to dash around Dust or enjoy the feel of an Aug in my hand, it’s CSGO I’d turn to.
For that reason, I stress that I don’t want Valve to cram Counter-Strike with new stuff. It was thrilling to watch the original mod grow and change over successive betas, but it’s not a hero shooter and it wasn’t built as a foundation for perpetual updates. Instead it became clear early on that the game had hit upon a balance that didn’t need constantly changing. There’s a reason why both CS: Source and CSGO are in many ways remakes of Counter-Strike 1.0, and playing any version of the game feels to me like coming home.
I once compared Counter-Strike’s seemingly eternal rules to chess, and was rightly mocked by some magazine readers for it. But it’s over ten years later, now, and Counter-Strike persists. Only approximately 500 years more to go until what I said makes sense, jerks!