From the Baby Boomers to Generation X to Generation Y, there have been changes in people, places, lifestyles, morals, and trains of thought. No offspring stays the same as its parents. New habits, new ways of life, and new values of life become increasingly apparent at the height of a new generation. These changes occur without question and are propelled by human’s natural instincts to be different from what they’ve been in the past and to move forward in life. It may be hard to believe and it may not be easy to understand, but just like with human life, over time gaming has had its share of generations thus far. In this article, the focus will be directed towards the Counter-Strike series by VALVe.
Counter-Strike, or CS as it is colloquially known, can be split into three solid generations spanning for ten years. Each generation has shown great change. This change has involved the professional teams all the way to the game that has been “officially”, yet unofficially, used as “the game” for leagues and tournaments. Just as in human life, each generation has been different in both minor and major ways and the hopeful future generations will be different from what we see today.
Rise to Power
Counter-Strike was released in a public beta in June of 1999. The “Official Release” of Counter-Strike 1.0 was in December of 2000 and occurred less than one year after the announcement of Valve and the original Counter-Strike developers joining forces. The Counter-Strike franchise exploded in popularity. It took three years for the current 1.6 version to be released, but Counter-Strike had built a name for itself long before the three year mark was even imagined.
Before 1.6 was released, the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) had already held four Counter-Strike tournaments (the 2003 CPL tournament was held in the summer and was therefore held before the official release of Counter-Strike 1.6). After the release of 1.6, the CPL officially held three more team-based tournaments. The final Counter-Strike tournament, in 2006, was won by fnatic and marked the end of the CPL as we know it today. Of the seven official Counter-Strike tournaments at CPL, not one of them was one by an American or Asian team. In fact, all were won by Swedish teams except for NoA in 2004. However, other large tournaments that started rising around the world were won by American teams, Asian teams, and other teams around Europe. Complexity, 3D, wNv, and Mouz Sports are probably the biggest names of the early days of Counter-Strike.
With this, we can mark the first generation as spanning from 2000 to 2006. Counter-Strike has enjoyed world fame ever since its release in 2000. The first Generation, 1G (1g as the club signifies), has been generally accepted as the “great” time of competitive Counter-Strike. Most, if not all of the powerhouse gaming organizations that are prominent today were formed and/or started during the First Generation of Counter-Strike.
Championship Gaming Series
Quite possibly the most revolutionary organization to grace professional video gaming was the Championship Gaming Series (CGS). The Series officially started in 2007, however there was a pilot episode held in 2006 with a Counter-Strike 1.6 match between the two US gaming powerhouses Complexity and 3D. This event was held as the Championship Gaming Invitational. After a miraculous win by Complexity and a fabulous number of viewers both at the event and on television, DirecTV along with other companies such as Mountain Dew and Dell started the CGS in 2007 and the first draft was held at the Playboy Mansion later that year.
The Championship Gaming Series ended abruptly after only two seasons. This came as joy to some and to the dismay of others. The closing of the CGS in November of 2008 is still a mystery and has led directly to the start of the Third Generation of Counter-Strike. The Second Generation, 2G, was the only time that Counter-Strike: Source was officially accepted as the professional version of Counter-Strike.
Back to the Old Days
Before the CGS officially ended, it was rumored that if the CGS were to ever end or if the players were ever given a chance to go back and play 1.6, they would. This happened faster than Usain Bolt ran the 100 Meters at the Beijing Olympics. Almost every player in the CGS that came from 1.6 went straight back where they came from. This movement of top teams has caused all of the small teams to follow suit and has sparked the Third and current Generation of Counter-Strike.
Counter-Strike needs to be revived and the only way to truly revive Counter-Strike is for all of the professional teams to come back with flying colors.This generation has come from a mix of feelings about gaming and where gaming should ultimately go. There are two big opinions about this current gaming generation and from talking with numerous players, I’ve noticed that most feel that Counter-Strike will still be big for future gamers and will more than likely expand so long as current gamers realize that Counter-Stirke needs to go back to what is was like before the CGS in terms of professionalism, desire, and dedication.
Bringing It All In
No other game has enjoyed the enduring success that Counter-Strike has. Its success has grown so rapidly that it has been called the “Cyber Sport” for the “Cyber Age”. So, after nearly ten years, Counter-Strike has spread over three, unevenly sized generations. To keep Counter-Strike at its high points that it has felt in the past, new teams and new players must come from somewhere. These new teams and new players will only come when players realize that professional gaming is the future and that dedication, practice, and desire are all premium factors towards what will make new teams great. Keep CS great and CS will keep you great!