I had heard of Counter-Strike before college. I remember seeing people playing it at the cafe I used to play Dota2 at during 11th and 12th.

I had no idea what the game was about though. I just figured, you have a gun, so you have to shoot people. How hard can it be.


The screenshot on the right is the very first screenshot I can find.

My handle reads 'Isuckatthisgame' suggesting that I had played enough games to realize that.

I just didn't get the game. I couldn't differentiate between terrorists and counter terrorists. I didn't know the maps. I didn't realize the game was about bomb-defusal. Can you guess what happened when I tried to join in the 5v5 servers regardless?
Yep. I kept getting kicked.

People preferred to play 4v5 than have me on their team. Been there, done that.

Anecdote : I was not a stranger to getting kicked. One of the first memories of playing Dota1 that I have is that of a guy who convinced me that pressing 'alt+q' would activate a cheat code and encouraged me to press it.

It was the disconnect/exit shortcut. :sweat_smile:
People in my adjacent lobby began playing the game and needed people to fill the slots. I was more than happy to play.

I really liked the concept of multiplayer games and playing with/against people.

Didn't get kicked from these games because everyone was pretty new to the game (except one).

I didn't yet get hooked though.

There was something really unappealing about CS 1.6 that I never really got over.

I was still bad but hey, I had company and at least I wasn't getting kicked.

Also, looks like I formulated and started using my current nick already.
We switched over to CS:GO after a friend found a setup that would work on campus Lan.

I was instantly hooked.

The graphics just made sense. It was clear who the terrorists were and who the counter-terrorists were. There were helpful hints about where to plant the bomb. The voice chat didn't suck. I could see bullets hit the walls and leave an imprint. The mini-map could be made sense of.

People were patient enough to explain concepts like 'rushing a site' and because none of us knew callouts, the one who knew would explain which areas were called what.
I was so hooked that I started practising to get better.

The game then came with a map called awp_rainbow where each bot spawned with an awp. I played deathmatch on that map in the break between classes and labs.

I chuckle each time I remember that. I was so dedicated. I really wasn't even thinking. I just wanted to get better at this game like nothing else mattered. period.

One of the many things that make CS addicting is how you can see your practice result in improvements and that makes you want it even more.

I still remember my first ace and the euphoric feeling after I got that. I could directly ascribe that to this practice and well, I've been chasing it ever since.
One day, I was randomly pinged on IPMSG by a senior asking the setup file for the version that we play in. From him, I learnt about another group playing the game in other hostels, Dihing & Kapili.

I joined their servers to see them play 10v10s on de_Aztec.

It legit blew my mind. I mean, we were struggling to get 5v5s going and these guys had 20 people playing.


They were playing casual mode (with sv_alltalk 1) on de_Aztec.

I now know what the first Europeans to land in America felt like.
There were other issues too.

They played on a different older version than us and they were seniors (3rd years). I may have gone a little overboard in trying to show them the light ._.'

Neither of the groups were willing to switch versions because boo-hoo, extra effort.

I don't know why I cared so much to get people to run on a unified version, but I did. Even organized a tournament to 'trick' people into installing the same version. I eventually gave up.
Lobby games continued but they were few and far in between.

We initially played only Dust2 because that was the only map people knew the callouts of and where each bombsite was.

Inferno the next map that was slowly introduced and Cache was the third.

It wasn't all rosy though. Because the size of possible players was so small, we struggled to find people to fill a 5v5 game. People would join midway, leave midway with little regard.

Also, not everybody was as hooked. People, understandably, started losing interest and it became harder and harder to collect people to play on a regular basis.

It was around this time that we found out that we weren't the only people playing.
Shortly after discovering the other group, I tried organizing a CS:GO tournament where people would form a team and play against each other.

I horribly under estimated the commitment required to host such an event. After just one day and a few matches, I got exasperated with the entire thing and called it quits.

In hindsight, it was doomed to fail because,

- I did not think the organization through entirely
- I tried using it as a tool to get people to migrate to a newer version, and some seniors just flat out refused to do that.
- I was trying to manage it all by myself and too many things went wrong.
Techniche was going to have a CS:GO tournament. I was hyped. I organized the best players I could find into a team and took part in it.

We lost 0-16. By this time, I had spent 430+ hours on this game and spent soooo much time practising. A 0-16 after all that? I was legit crushed.

I planned to not play for a month. I see a post talking about purchasing a gaming mouse 3 days later and a post-game screenshot after 7 days. So much for that.

I later convinced myself that it was a peripheral issue. We didn't have mics so couldn't communicate with each other. We were used to playing on a laptop-screen but they had bigger monitors. I didn't realize how big of a factor resolution played.

I now know that even with those accounted for, we couldn't have done much better. Our skill level wasn't high enough then.

A friend took an interest in wanting to organize a tournament. I was fully expecting a repeat of last tournaments debacle and warned him as much but he didn't seem to care.

He named the tournament 'Apocalypse' and sent out google forms asking for registrations. After I noticed that something indeed seemed different this time around, I jumped in to help with everything. I was still passionate enough.

Made schedules, created posters with copyrighted artwork, posted teaser images for upcoming matches, learned how to run servers with GOTV enabled.

The tournament was a success. 9 teams took part and a whole lot of matches were played. My team won the finals and well, everybody had fun.
10v10s were still all the rage. I wasn't a big fan of them but I still kept playing. 10v10 didn't feel like true counter-strike. There were too many people on bombsites, people crowded at chokepoints. It was really hard to get better when you're playing like that.

I figured out how to change the number of players in a server and lobbied to get 7v7 servers and encouraged people to use them but that only found limited adoption.

If only the 'community servers' tab had worked then we could've actually had fun playing multiple 5v5s.

The seniors wanted 10v10s and that's what we went with, I guess.
CS:GO is a game that is fun to play amongst people you know and well, people did just that.

Sub-communities cropped up everywhere. People were playing it in hostels among themselves, Dihing, Siang, Kameng, Kapili. And games were still going in the main group too.

The sub-community I played in was that of my department's. I had more fun than I would care admit playing these games.

Occasionally, I would sneak into other communities games under a pseudonym and wreck their games. Thankfully, they didn't know how to kick players using the console or call a vote-kick.

I lobbied to get CS:GO added as a part of Kriti '16 and volunteered to manage the event.

The CC guys were unwilling to lend out space because of all the external peripherals we'd bring in. Had to play the quarter finals on WiFi in the New SAC. It wasn't a pleasant experience because of all the lag.

Managed to get a lab in the CSE department for the semifinals and finals and they went without a hitch.

My hostel's team, Manas, won the event very comfortably with scores of 16-0, 16-2, 16-4, 16-3, 16-5, 16-1 .

I uploaded the videos of the finals onto my youtube for posterity. Not my intention to desecrate anybody's memories of it but, wow we were all so terrible at the game and wow did we have NO idea that we were that bad. At least I didn't.
Apocalypse saw it's second edition be organized under a different organizer.

I had just organized Kriti so I wasn't willing to organize but was more than willing to play.

This time, the tournament followed an auction-format. We had to bid for players with whatever starting money we had. That group chat ran for hours, whew.

Well, my team won this edition too. There were minor hiccups along the way, such as the organizer being banned for cheating. But hey, the finals were a treat to play.
With the senior batch finally graduating, there was no compulsion to host 10v10 servers anymore.

5v5 servers became the standard.

Personally, I saw an increase in the average skill-level after this. Maybe because it coincided with the subcommunities losing steam so the better players were the only ones that remained.

Games became much more fun and competitive.
The community within Kameng seemed to have been pretty strong because a lot of good players cropped up from there. They just seemed to have the people who were willing to play and willing to get better.

I remember a game of inferno from one of the first organized scrims that we (my hostel) played against them, it was inferno and I remember just waltzing into sites and eventually winning the game.

They got better so fast.

Soon the scrims became hotly contested and it wasn't as easy anymore. Their teamwork was excellent and their awper unpredictable (until he wasn't :P)

My only regret is that we didn't seem to play enough of these.
Kameng won 2-1 against us. The maps were Cache, Dust2 and Train, in that order.

I really should get the demos online one of these days. Dust2's already up but I've been procrastinating on getting the other two up.

Cache could've gone either way. We mounted a comeback on Dust2 from a 5 round deficit. Train, well, we didn't know how to play the map. They were better prepared for it.

I'm a little salty about Train but Cache and D2 were fair and square.

One of the things I really wanted to do was host an inter-IIT tourney.

The idea was to contact individual people from IITs and ask them if they were interested in a friendly scrim. Do it enough times to get contacts from everywhere and well, organize a tourney.

The logistics didn't seem to pan out and my motivation waned.

I did however manage to organize a scrim against guys from IIT-K. Just 5 people I could manage to convince to play at that time.

The game ended on 12-6 because of a powercut on our side. We were poised to win it. I'm gonna count that as a win.
Until so far only the server host's skins would work, that left the game feeling too drab for the rest of us.

One fine day in February, a trigger caused me to want to investigate this and get skins working.

After a really long day of testing with a couple of friends, I managed to figure out how to get them working and what we needed to do exactly.

Things just got sooo much more colourful since then.

128 tick, lag-free servers. Your choice of skins.
Previous tournaments had shown that only matches between the top two/three teams were any interesting.

As a result, the format was different this time. There were challenger teams and legend teams. Challengers teams fought amongst themselves to qualify for the legend spots and then the Legends would play amongst each other.

It started off pretty well. Matches were held and were pretty interesting. Legend teams were finalized.

A couple of legend games were held before a hacker was discovered and tainted the entire thing, really disappointed me. Even after, people bailed out and oh well. That was that.
I did not spend as much time playing CS:GO on lan anymore because I wasn't enjoying it as much anymore. It wasn't as exciting anymore.

My laptop couldn't run it decently anymore and I switched to Dota2 which was more forgiving to it.

The Lan scene continued despite me. A bunch of new players stepped up to regularly show up and continued to enjoy the games.

There was once a time when I was fairly certain I knew the nicks and IRL names of every single CS:GO player in the campus. That changed this year.

After getting my PC, I did play a couple of lan games but I mostly focused on playing online during this period.

The game become so much more enjoyable and less frustrating with all the extra fps.

Assembled the best team that I could and we played in the Techniche CS:GO tournament.

I knew we were better than 2 years ago but I had no real hopes coming into the tournament. I don't think my heart could've handled another 0-16 loss.

We won.

Now that's a fairy-tale ending if you've ever seen one. From losing 0-16 two years ago to winning the entire thing.
Coming into the semester, I didn't expect to play as much and I haven't. Half the semester's up and I've maybe only played ~10 games on lan.

But I realize that I'll never get to play on Lan after graduating and I'll miss the 5 ping.

I expect to get in some good 5v5 games. Had one such 'yesterday' and boy was it so much fun.

There have been times when I've felt downright blessed to have known this game.

Mid 2016, I was interning in Mumbai and the entire experience was very taxing. This game is what made it bearable. I'd fire up CSGO in the night on a dingy-ass table, roll up the bedsheet and use it as a mousepad. There was also a gaming cafe just 5 minutes from my PG which I'd visit on Sundays to play CS:GO in somewhat respectable conditions.

But at other times I feel I may have gone a bit overboard. I've spent 1100+ hours online, a significant amount offline, and even more watching many CS:GO tournaments. That's a lot of time and there was Dota2 too. Could I not have had just as much fun with a fraction of the time?

I'm still graduating 4 years later, even with all the missed classes(sometimes weeks) because of messed up sleep schedules courtesy of late-night queues, guess I managed to scrape through but that does that really make it all OK?

Looking back now, I realize would never wish for a universe in which I didn't play CS:GO, it has given me far too much for it to not exist in my life but I'd wish for one in which I spent a marginally less amount of time on it.