With our new esports guy joining us, we’re hitting him up with many questions about the industry. With the 10th year anniversary of CS:GO, it felt fitting to write a piece about it. I had a lot of questions! Sorry, Chris!
Chris: Well I love talking about Counter-Strike, watching it, writing about it and just generally keeping out about it, so bring them on Alex, let’s goooooo!!
So here are 7 things I learned about Counter-Strike:
1. How is Counter-Strike played?
Learning about how this game is played has been an exciting experience, while it’s relatively easy to play once you understand the basics, like other competitive games and sports, to master it takes practice, determination, and a lot of skill.
CS:GO is a PC-only game that’s a first-person shooter and it’s team-based, mostly, with 5 players vs 5 players. There will be two halves, each with 15 rounds. Each round is limited to 1 minute 55 seconds. After the first 15 rounds of play, the teams will switch sides. Each team takes it in turns as the Counter-Terrorist and Terrorist sides. This is commonly referred to as CT and T respectively.
Chris: interestingly, Counter-Strike has not always been PC only. There was a time when the game was available to play on console, including CS:GO for a short time on Xbox 360 and PS3 as they launched it on all platforms. The console versions were abandoned by Valve but CS:GO actually owns a lot of consoles as it was developed as a result of trying to port CS:Source over to home consoles.
The goal for the Terrorist side is to plant a bomb in a designated site on the map, being either the “A site” or “B site”. It has a timer that then counts down and if it explodes then the T side wins the round! It’s the CT side’s job to prevent the bomb from being planted and defuse it if it does get planted.
The round can also be won by a side defeating all of the opposing team members. While this may sound simple to someone who hasn’t played the game before, there’s a lot to consider.
One of the biggest strategic factors is the in-game economy, where weapons and items can be bought before the round starts. How a team spends its in-game currency can mean everything when it comes to winning or losing the game!
You should take your time getting to know each weapon and mastering it because there’s only so much in-game currency you can use to purchase items. Don’t worry, there’s only around 34 of them! The teamwork, proper grenade use, sneaky tactics on the maps, and other features of CS: GO make it one of the deepest gaming experiences available.
2. Is it CS, Counter-Strike, or CS:GO and what’s the difference?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard of CS:GO and maybe even seen videos of the game in action, but what’s the difference between the common names? I had no clue before I spoke to Chris.
Most simply, CS stands for Counter-Strike, and CS:GO stands for Counter-Strike: Global Offense: the latest version of CS. However, they all mean the same thing these days, especially when talking about CS in esports as CS:GO is the only one played professionally and competitively.
Chris: Like a lot of areas, scenes, and games within esports, we have a lot of terminology that we use which does not always make it easy for new people coming into the space, especially when we are so protective and passionate about it!
CS:GO was released in August 2012 as the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, however Counter-Strike was first released in November 2000.
3. Who are some of the top players of Counter-Strike?
Counter-Strike has been around for more than 20 years, so this was never going to be a simple question, but I’ve enjoyed researching and talking to Chris about these legends on CS.
If you are someone who is familiar with CS:GO I’m guessing you’re not surprised to see his name here. After reading up on this guy, I wouldn’t be either. His accomplishments are outstanding.
Not only has he won a record 21 HLTV MVP medals, a Major, and an Intel Grand Slam trophy & other numerous S-Tier trophies, but s1mple has also been crowned as the best player of 2018 and 2021, and a runner-up for the best player of 2019 and 2020!
Chris: The greatest CS:GO player of all time? There’s a very good argument to say so! Definitely the best AWPer ever, dude is always so cool, calm, and collected with his clicks and he just keeps getting better. Don’t think we have seen peak S1mple yet.
Born in Denmark, Xyp9x currently plays for Astralis and has been playing for this team since January 2016. His real name is Andreas Højsleth. He’s won 3 consecutive majors and is the first ever player to win 4 majors in CS:GO. Xyp9x made HLTVs Top 20 players of the Year four times. He isn’t named the ‘Clutch Minister’ for no reason. This guy is awesome.
He’s been given this title due to his high success rate in clutches, which is no simple task. Being the last player alive and defeating more than one enemy player and winning the round takes so much skill and expertise. More importantly, being able to remain calm! I couldn’t imagine being able to keep my cool enough to do this.
Chris: Another legend for sure. The pronunciation of his name still catches folks out and makes my smile. Not saying I get it right but I go with “zu-pex”, having listened to Andreas pronounce it himself when asked on interviews!
Hailing from Recife, Pernambuco, the fourth-largest city in Brazil. Epitacio “TACO” de Melo is arguably one of the Brazil’s most successful Counter-Strike players ever. A Major winner and according to Chris, someone who deserves a place in competitive Counter-Strike history books. After a stint in Europe with GODSENT, a Swedish organization, he returned to Brazil and joined 00Nation as their IGL, which means their In Game Leader.
Chris: One of my favourite players of all time and a bit of a legend from the 16/17 era of CS. Hopefully still a few years left in him and with the Road to Rio well underway and Brazil CS only becoming more popular, he’s still someone to watch in the competitive Counter-Strike scene!
4. What does a chicken have to do with the game?
I thought this was going to be an easy one to answer, turns out chickens have a very complicated history in CS:GO. It’s been described as ‘a love-hate affair’ which stretches all the way back to CS 1.6, with players even blaming their lack of success on these birds.
The more I read about the chickens, the funnier it gets. I love them already!
The very first sightings of the infamous chickens were two well-behaved, stationary birds feeding in the ITALY map. They didn’t cause any bother to players…yet. The addition of livestock into the highly competitive world that is CS:GO was always going to be a risky move, luckily they don’t affect the outcome of the game in any way.
Chris: Early on, chickens actually could be used as a signal or indication as to where a player may be sneaking and peeking from.
Don’t get me wrong, the game is not all about killing birds! But maybe there should be a game mode dedicated to killing them! I still have questions/concerns/queries about the chickens:
- Whose idea was it to include chickens into the game?
- Why did this person think this was a good idea?
- Who was the first player to kill a chicken?
- How many are there in the most recent version?
- Can they lay eggs and breed?
Even the CS:GO 10th birthday muffins have the logo of the chicken on them. Not only that, in-game, the chickens are seen to be wearing birthday hats! Nobody can tell me they aren’t admired by the community (and me).
5. How big is the world of Counter-Strike?
Over the past 12 months, CS:GO has seen more players than ever, averaging over a staggering 20 million monthly unique players.
CS has had record viewership for Majors of 2.7m simultaneous viewers. The numbers seem to just be getting stronger and stronger. Which proves just how great this game is and the level of loyalty and passion from its players & community.
I feel a Major is considered the most prestigious of tournaments within CS. It looks like the first Major took place in 2013, with a prize pool of $250,000 split between 16 teams. Now there are prize pools of $2,000,000 with 24 teams from all over the world taking part in these.
CS:GO is played all over the world. With Russia being the most popular. Although Russia has taken the top spot, CS:GO is seriously growing in popularity in South America. The Brazilian community is so passionate and loyal, so if there’s a tournament or Major with a Brazilian team, you bet they are going to show up with their flags.
The next Intel Extreme Masters will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between October 31 and November 13, 2022. The prize pool is an eye-watering $1,000,000. This sold out within an hour! Popular or what?!
6. What’s with the banana?
To a CS:GO newbie like myself, this question actually sounds pretty funny and if anything, it makes me want to play the game to see what this is all about! To put it simply, the banana is a callout for a place on one of the maps – it’s called banana because on the map it has the shape of a banana.
Not only this but a player has actually been crowned ‘King of Banana’. I love this. I can see the humorous side of the players. I really admire this side of the community. Adam “Friberg” Friberg was a member of Ninjas in Pajamas when he earned the title “King of Banana” for his supremacy on the CS:GO map Inferno. Big respect to you, Adam!
On a serious note, I think the banana is a great example of how strategic this game is. This is a team-based game and the callouts really show the hard work and effort that they put into working together. At the end of the day, this game is a kill or be killed scenario. If a team wants to make a name for themselves they have to be extremely skilled & know the maps like the back of their hands.
The game is about strategy, skill & speed. Mastering every map, weapon, (and the banana!) takes hundreds of hours of play, dedication & skill. This is what makes the game so great. It’s challenging, exciting, and unforgiving. According to Chris, this is what makes the community of CS:GO the most authentic and passionate in the esports industry.
Chris: Well said Alex! With the CS community currently celebrating 10 years of Global Offense, it does have a very passionate community, some of whom have been there since the very beginning of Counter-Strike over 20 years ago!
7. Can you wager on CS and what type of bets are there?
Ok, this is not something I learned from Chris! Yes, you can certainly wager on Counter-Strike! What is most important when betting on Counter-Strike is ensuring you join a site which is fully licensed and regulated by a reputable jurisdiction that ensures player protection. As a trusted casino and sportsbook, we offer odds on a wide range of Counter-Strike tournaments.
- Match Winner
- Outright tournament winner
- Map winner
I hope you enjoyed learning with me and thanks Chris for helping me out with it!
Chris: Nicely done Alex. As you have already seen, I can talk about Counter-Strike and esports all day! You’ve done a great job of highlighting just some of the fun and interesting things about CS:GO. It is great to be part of a team that is so eager to learn!