Have You Played… Counter-Strike: Source

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every weekday of the year, perhaps for all time.

Not the original mod. Not Global Offensive or Condition Zero. I’m talking about Counter-Strike: Source, the remake that brought terrorists and counter-terrorists to the Half-Life 2 engine – and for some reason, was never fully embraced by the audience.

At the time of writing, CS:GO has 260k players, the original Counter-Strike standalone release has 11,399, and Counter-Strike Source is last with 7,141. That’s maybe a measure of the original running better on older computers and laptops, but it’s true that Source was never as embraced by the competitive scene as CS:GO has been. There were complaints over recoil and gun feel, and protestations from Valve about them being identical to the previous game, but still much of the audience remained for a long time with the original.

For me, who was only ever a casual player, I liked Source because it smartly updated the maps I already liked and because the introduction of physics to a multiplayer game was novel. Even if the latter was functionally useless and often laggy, I liked being able to shoot and knock around the scattered filing cabinets of cs_office.

Otherwise, to me, it was much the same Counter-Strike as always: tight, exciting, and compulsive.


  1. Retne says:

    This was the one I stuck on, but I was very much casual – mostly playing with a few RL mates for laughs rather than serious competition.

  2. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I mainly played it for the comedy zombie mode, which was much more fun that other zombie modes. (For those that haven’t tried it, the zombies had massive healthbars and had to be kept at bay by gunfire pushing them back, or by barricades of furniture (also put into place with gunfire)). Utterly ridiculous but a lot of fun.

  3. Myrdinn says:

    Sure I did, it’s physics were superior to CS:GO imho! Flying barrels for the win!

  4. ronpeppers says:

    By the time they’d fixed the godawful hitboxes too many had already written it off and flocked back to 1.6. Shame really, trapping people in rolling barrels before melting their heads (well, their right arms) was great fun.

  5. Sic says:

    For some reason?

    It was horrible, that’s why. The original was better. Simple as that.

    • Nioji says:

      Could you say a bit more please ? As a complete and utter nub and casual that only started to play CSGo like 5 months ago, I’m interrested to know wy Source is so awful according to you.

      • Razumen says:

        There was a lot of issues with it, like hitboxes, etc and the such-moving a competitive game like CS to a whole new engine is not an easy feat.

      • brento1499 says:

        as someone who has played all three games at a fairly high competitive level, I’ll try and break down why CSS was such a bad game compared to 1.6

        – CSS got rid of tagging (stopping your forward momentum as you are getting shot in the body and slowing you down), which in turn led to less focus on good, defensive positioning in CSS, as you were able to just strafe out of harms way if you were caught by an enemy out in the open
        – CSS had an immense amount of peeker’s advantage. For reference, CSS had twice the amount of peeker’s advantage that early CSGO had. So basically you could be holding an angle with perfect defensive position and someone could basically glitch onto your screen and kill you before you can even react because of the game’s lag compensation
        – awp and deagle were absurdly overpowered
        – bhoping was broken for a long time and could be abused

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      phuzz says:

      I played a bunch of 1.6 (well, everything from about beta 6 up to 1.6), then came back when CS:S was released and it did feel a bit different, kind of like swapping to a different mouse, off putting, but something you can get used to.
      It looked to me like the community, who’d got used to CS never changing, collectively decided they didn’t like change, and pretty much boycotted it.

    • caff says:

      Ugh, I hated the movement/mechanics of CS:S. 1.6 was perfect twitch shooting but pretty ugly. CS:GO is much better but feels a bit like a cash factory what with all the knives and stuff.

  6. Jeremy says:

    Competitively, I played all the way up until Source came out, and for whatever reason… things just felt off. Everyone that I played with could feel it too, and so we never really transitioned to Source. After the clan moved on from the original founders, we all stopped playing. Just recently, I picked up CS:Go, and was really happy to find that things felt really clean again, and can see why it was picked up by the competitive community again. All that being said, I think Source was a necessary step in the process. Rebuilding a lot of maps, and then figuring out that upgraded tech doesn’t always mean an upgraded experience, especially when it comes to competitive gaming. Feel is everything.

    Imagine any sport changing the weight and feel of a game ball… it would be awkward and take a long time to get used to. That actually happened in the world cup. FIFA produced a ball that was TOO perfectly spherical, which was difficult for players to adjust to.

  7. Premium User Badge

    johannsebastianbach says:

    Btw, what happened to Pop Flash, the CS:GO column by Emily?
    I actually liked it a lot and with the upcoming major I’m positive there’s enough stuff to write about.
    Some news on this?

  8. Herr_C says:

    Nope, I hate clans, clan wars and everything they eventually evolve into. GO is my first CS simply because it has a matchmaking system and it gives you the ability to find 4 people and play. No clan bullsh*t required.

  9. Unclepauly says:

    Well, before CS:GO came out CS:Source dwarfed 1.6 in population. Even when GO came out Source had a larger population for a few months until everyone upgraded to the newer game.

  10. JustAchaP says:

    de_iceworld! :O

  11. dethtoll says:

    There was, for a brief period of time, a number of servers that had a “no suicide bombing” rule.

    It was because a friend of mine and I would use pull out and prime HE grenades when we were low on health and charge the enemy. We’d die, the grenade would drop, it’d explode, the enemy would get blowed up.

    Got banned from a server after doing that a couple times :D

    • Phasma Felis says:

      At first I thought that that kinda violates the spirit of the game, but then I remembered that this is a game where you run faster if you’re holding a knife, so yeah, I think whatever is legit.

  12. Razumen says:

    If you’re playing as terrorists, I’d say that’s perfectly within the spirit of the game. The server admins just sound like they’re no fun.

  13. Stellar Duck says:

    According to your interpretation of player numbers, the players never embraced CS 1.6 either.

    link to steamcharts.com

    As you can see CS:GO is the only one that exploded since 2012.

    Source was released in 2004 and I haven’t been able to find reliable data before 2012.

    There may have been a lot of griping about Source but I don’t think it’s correct to say it was never embraced. It certainly was in my circles.

    Also don’t underestimate the allure of the obnoxious gambling systems Valve bakes in to their games.

  14. tonicer says:

    CS:1.6 and CS:S are the best CS games, CS:GO is to arcady and consoly imho.