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Counter-Strike – the most famous first-person shooter

3 minutes reading time
11-17 years
© Liesa Johannssen/ photothek.net

Counter-Strike is a strategic first-person shooter game in which teams compete as anti-terrorist units or terrorists. As a multiplayer game, it has been popular all over the world for around 20 years – even among young gamers.

In a nutshell:

  • Online game via PC, alone or in groups
  • released from 16 years (USK)
  • Includes the depiction of violence and realistic weapons
  • current version Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available for free – but with in-game purchases

What is Counter-Strike?

All versions of the game work on the same principle: two teams compete against each other and either try to eliminate the opposing team members with their weapons or fulfill the respective goal. In the process, anti-terrorist units usually have to rescue hostages and terrorists detonate bombs. Currently, the version CS: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is played.

Counter-Strike is a first-person shooter, like Call of Duty, for example. This means that players see the game world from the first-person perspective. Most of the time you can only see your own weapon, which you use to aim at the opponent’s end of the game.

At first glance, the game looks like it’s all about violence. The focus is on strategy and tactics. Gamers must constantly interact with team members and make elaborate plans to win. Gamers come together in communities called clans around the world and compete against each other in matches.

What fascinates young people about it?

Counter-Strike is reminiscent of “cops and robbers”. The players slip into different roles and have to prove themselves against others. Young people in particular find this appealing. In addition to the competition aspect, there is the possibility of community building. They come together in clans, train together, and compete against others in professional competitions. It is usually about getting recognition from others through special achievements. Young people want to test their skills and compare them with each other. Age restrictions or bans rarely play a role or can even make a game particularly attractive.

What can be problematic about the offer?

Even though the shooting in Counter-Strike is depicted comparatively unrealistically, the environments, game endings and weapons look very real. Such depictions of violence can have negative consequences, especially for younger gamers. If they are not yet able to properly assess and process them, they can cause them anxiety. That is why it is important to take the age restriction (USK: 16) seriously.

During gameplay, people often communicate with each other via a headset or chat. The language is often very rough and insulting. Even in online forums where gamers exchange ideas outside of Counter-Strike, there is often communication that is not appropriate for children and teens.

In addition, there is the urge to become better and better. Especially getting started is difficult in Counter-Strike and can quickly lead to frustration. In the worst case, it can lead to computer game addiction. In connection with the competitive nature, in-game purchases also play a role. For example, weapons can be purchased.

What does the provider think?

The provider clarifies that the game contains extreme violence and blood. Although the game overall seems realistic, care was taken to ensure that at least the shooting was clearly differentiated from reality. For example, defeated opponents disappear into thin air.

What should parents pay attention to?

Teenagers who desperately want to play such a game, which is not suitable for their age, usually still find a way. Nevertheless, as parents, pay attention to the USK age label and explain to your child why this is important for the protection of children and young people. At the same time, it is helpful to talk to other parents. Especially if the game is popular among friends, this can help to ensure that people play responsibly with each other and that common rules apply to everyone.

If your child plays Counter-Strike because he is already 16 years old or you consider him mature enough, be sure to talk to him about his gaming experience. This allows your son or daughter to reflect on and better process what he or she has experienced in the game. Communication with other players is also crucial. Ask your child what is talked about in the chat and how he/she finds it.

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