Counter-Strike celebrates its 25th anniversary, still the most popular game on Steam by far

Can you believe that Counter-Strike first arrived in public beta version form 25 years ago? First released as a mod for Half-Life, Valve changed the game.

1 minute & 17 seconds read time

Counter-Strike is officially 25 years old, with the game first hitting the PC as a mod for Half-Life hitting public beta on June 19, 1999.

I still remember being at a LAN with my friends and brother when Counter-Strike first dropped in 1999, pumping unimaginable hours into it amongst Half-Life, Quake, Quake II, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Blood, Shadow Warrior, Duke Nukem 3D, Need for Speed II: SE, and so many other 90s classics on the PC.

Counter-Strike was officially released as a standalone game after being a Half-Life mod on November 8, 2000, and became the foundation for competitive first-person shooters. Now that Counter-Strike is celebrating its 25th anniversary, CS players are hoping that Valve steps up and does something well and truly above and beyond any other celebration of previous games hitting major birthday milestones.

Half-Life turned 25 recently, with Valve updating it with bug fixes, updates, and content that included multiplayer maps and even Steam Deck compatibility for Half-Life on-the-go. We've still got a few hours left, but Valve hasn't done anything noteworthy to Counter-Strike today, which is a disappointment. We do have Counter-Strike 2, but it's not the same as celebrating one of the most influential first-person shooters in gaming history.

Counter-Strike has had a huge history, also released in different forms:

  • 1999: Counter-Strike (Half-Life mod)
  • 2000: Counter-Strike full release
  • 2004: Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike Source (on the Source engine)
  • 2008: Counter-Strike: Online
  • 2012: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
  • 2023: Counter-Strike 2

Valve released Counter-Strike 2 in September 2023, officially replacing CS:GO and will carry on the Counter-Stirke legacy with new and improved technical and graphics improvements thanks to Valve's new Source Engine 2. There's dynamic smoke and server tick rate adjustments, which CS gamers have loved (among other controversy, of course).

Counter-Strike 2 has been smashing daily player numbers for months now, further cementing in the legacy that Counter-Strike builds, which turns 25 today. Happy birthday, Counter-Strike!

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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