I’ve been a gamer for a very long time. My first experience with a video game was playing with my dad’s old Intellivision system at our family cottage. It was a stormy night at the lake and there really wasn’t much for us to do, so my parents pulled the old video game system out of the closet, dusted it off and hooked it up. I was awestruck by the terribly blocky graphics. Racing F1 cars that looked like squares was a new experience.
Not long after that, we started renting Nintendo consoles on weekends that were going to have poor weather. We never did buy one, but renting was a fairly regular occurrence. I enjoyed all sorts of games, but we never really got the chance to replay, or master anything.
Later we did end up getting a Super NES, and we amassed a decent collection of games. I spent hours playing Super Mario Brothers, and Mario Kart. My favorite game was Uniracers, a silly racing game featuring rider-less unicycles. It was these years that I really started to hone my gaming abilities. I had the time to play, for hours.
When we eventually got a Nintendo 64, my dad put a rule in place that really didn’t make any logical sense. For the first year or more of owning the console, we weren’t allowed to actually buy a game. The idea was that we wouldn’t be able to waste too much time on the system if we didn’t actually own a game. When the Player’s Choice edition of Mario 64 came out and cut the price in half, finally then we were allowed a game. With it being the only game I had, I was able to once again hone my skills, and practice at it. I started to get better at games again.
Sometime between the N64 and the Gamecube I transitioned to a computer gamer. We finally had a decent computer in the house that could handle these games and this became my preferred platform for many years. I found myself spending hours upon hours playing FPS games like Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. These games required fast reflexes, and skills that were garnered from hours of practice.
In the very early days I was introduced to Counter-Strike. A good friend of mine was actually one of the first 100 people to ever download the first beta of the game. That day he got to play with all of the creators. Soon after he showed people at school and interest quickly spread.
At the time, I wasn’t able to play the game on my own system, as it just wasn’t able to run the game fast enough, but I often went to friends place’s to play the game. I believe the first time I ever tried was beta 3. I know it was beta 4.5 when I got a computer that could play it.
In those early days there was nothing even remotely close to a professional league. It was just a bunch of high school kids playing games after school. Over time my group of friends and I got pretty good at the game, but again that’s bound to happen when you have all the time in the world. We were a bunch of 14 and 15 year olds. None of us had jobs. We came home after school and played CS until supper, and then went back and played CS until bed.
After high school I was still playing the game. I had the same part time job I had in senior year, and even more time on my hands. By this time I had found Scoutzknivez. This map mesmerized me, and I was instantly excellent at it.
Having lived through so many years of the game, I remembered bunny-hopping. Many of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. Bunny-hopping was an exploit that was discovered in the game long ago, where you could strafe in one direction, while jumping and looking in the other direction, and alternate on each jump. This action allowed you to move insanely quickly through maps, and was quickly addressed in an update, but it still worked in low gravity which ScoutzKnivez was designed for. Using this skill I had learned years prior, I was quickly able to master the paths in the map.
The other thing that worked to my advantage is that I was never able to quite get the AWP down, so whenever sniping was needed, I would often chose a Scout in regular CS. With the practice I already had with this gun, I was a force to be reckoned with.
I would spend my days, and the wee hours of the night dominating the masses in a 24/7 ScoutKnives server. I’d see tons and tons of regulars, but few were in the same league. But then again, few were putting in 5 to 8 hours a day playing the game. It was easy to be good with that much practice.
Those days are long behind me. Now I have real responsibility, like car payments and rent to pay. Now I have other things to do like spend time with my girlfriend or maybe some family members. Now I have other hobbies to keep me occupied. Now I’m in my 30s and gaming just isn’t priority number 1 anymore.
As I get older, games get harder. Not harder to play (I actually find a lot of modern games to be shamefully simple considering the breadth of inputs controllers have these days), but harder to find time to play. I haven’t even played a game since BaseLAN, and that was a month ago now.
Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Editor for aybonline.com. He knows a little about a lot, and a lot about a little. The opinions in his columns are his and his alone, but you are free to have them.