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Counter-Stricken

It started just like any other day. I was casually breezing through Steam (kind of like a Tesco for gaming) looking for any hot deals. Then I saw it. A little bundle of joy containing Garry’s Mod (which I’m not going to go into here) and Counter-Strike: Source (which I am going to go into here). Basically, Counter-Strike: Source is a version of possibly the most famous First-Person Shooter ever to grace a PC.

There are two teams: Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists. Terrorists want to get all up in the world’s face and be all terroristic. Counter-Terrorists ain’t got no time for that. You run round with guns and shoot each other. Whoever shoots more, and crushes their feeble enemies like the worms they are, wins. Sounds like fun, am I right?

Now I’m not one to blow my own trumpet here (hur-hur, euphemism) but I am pretty darn good at FPS games. I used to play Call of Duty regularly and I’m proud to say that I only ever lost one local multiplayer game against my friend’s dad, who was some sort of Call of Duty god. Naturally, even before I’d bought Counter-Strike, I could see myself pwning noobs like a champion. With that image of me standing triumphant over my enemies’ lifeless corpses in mind, I snaffled up both Garry’s Mod and Counter-Strike for a reasonably low price and made myself some tea while they downloaded.

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The only problem was that I was (and still am at heart) a console gamer. Always have been and probably always will be. Therefore I wasn’t used to these odd controls; for a start, the controller or keyboard or whatever you call it was too big and had too many buttons! And a mouse? Pah! Where were my little sticks? My relatively short time of playing on PC and my unfamiliarity with PC controls worked against me, but my reactions, honed over hours of console play, were still lightning-fast. I felt confident that I would be semi-decent. Not great but good enough to begin with the systematic annihilation of my opposition.

A few millennia later, I came back to find my two new purchases ready and waiting. I got comfortable, switched my phone to silent to avoid any distractions and pressed play. This was it. I could feel my limbs tingling with excitement at the thought of nailing player after player with headshot after headshot. I would capture so many flags, my base would look like the United Nations Headquarters when I was finished. I would throw so many grenades, the place would look like Swiss cheese

I would throw so many grenades, the place would look like Swiss cheese.

The first thing that hit me was voices. Lots and lots of voices. It was like standing in the middle of the playground when I was a wee nipper, only with more cursing and more annoyingly grating bad singing. However, none of this really mattered to me as I wasn’t here to be social. I was here to win. My terrorist was stood in a crowd of similar-looking terrorists, all with big shiny guns ready to pop a cap and all that. My AK47 was locked and loaded. The countdown began. 3, 2, 1… Go!

I sprinted as fast as I could, following the crowd. I had no idea what map this was, nor did I care. I didn’t know where I was going, nor did I care. I didn’t even know the layout, nor did I care.  I broke away from the group and ran down an alley in search of bad guys. Within seconds of me breaking away, the enemy were upon me already with superhuman speed. They jumped, crouched, span in circles and generally confused me to the point where I had no idea how to aim for them; they were too quick. Pop pop pop. Dead already. No matter, I could always respawn and come back to kill them. Pop. Dead. Pop. Dead. This repeated for a good three or four minutes, my respawning and my quick and inevitable death at the hands of people who had obviously spent a good deal of their life playing this game, learning the maps, the weapons, everything. My spirit was slowly being crushed with every death. My hands grew slower and slower, my aim became more frenzied and panic-stricken and eventually, after 0 kills and roughly a gazillion deaths, the game ended.

I calmly left the game and decided that I would never play again. My ego couldn’t take it. However, I realised what I had to do. I had to practice. After all, practice makes perfect. I can now proudly say that I can get at least a few kills, but I’m still a long way off. Oh well, maybe one day…

Rob Priest 

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