Real-life Counter-Strike

The guys at Namco get together in the Nevada desert to test the guns of the popular Counter-Strike game.

By Tom (Tombo) Ham
February 1, 2001

Ever since Counter-Strike was released, everyone who has played it praises it for its "ultra-realism." No more running around like a mad man with quad damage and rocket launchers — nah — we're talking one-shot-one-kill baby. Without question, this aspect of the game totally changed the typical gameplay dynamic of first-person shooters. All of a sudden it wasn't about run-and-gun but instead about holding back and rethinking strategies. But the question does still remain. Just how realistic is Counter-Strike? Oh sure the equipment and types of units (i.e. Counter-Terrorists and Terrorists) are based on the real thing but how realistic are the weapons? Does the Colt M4A1 Carbine really have such a kick? What about the MP-5 Navy, how come folks get better kills with that then with any other sub-machine gun? What about the Mac 10? Is it that much more inferior than the others? Well folks we're here to tell you that Counter-Strike is indeed realistic and the recoil you get from some of the guns are accurate to their real-life counterparts. Even the way the units hold their weapons is accurate. How do we know? Read on for all the details.

Well for those of you who already hate us game editors for what we do, you'll hate us even more after you read this *grin*. Namco Hometek Inc. recently held an Editor’s Day last week in Las Vegas. Promoting their new lightgun game for the PlayStation - Time Crisis Project Titan - the folks at Namco wanted to show the game editors what it would be like to actually shoot a sub-machine gun that is used in the game. After a long night of gambling and debauchery, we left the next morning to the firing range.

The main event was held at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute hell 40 minutes West of the Las Vegas Strip. After a comfy limo ride we finally arrived; little did we know our lives would be changed forever. After signing in we were greeted by Brad Ackman, Operations Manager at Front Sight. After giving us a brief overview of what we were going to do that day, we set off to the range.

As one would expect, a lot of our time at the range was dedicated to safety and proper procedure. The last thing any of us wanted was to go home in a body bag so safety, thankfully, was the number one rule. Our main instructor for the day was Darryl Okayama; one of many dedicated and extremely well qualified instructors at Front Sight. "This is all about fun gentlemen," says Mr. Okayama, "but there are a few things you need to know and remember before you fire these weapons." Throughout the day we were taught by a host of other instructors. We learned everything from the proper stance to the right way to unload and reload the Uzi. We learned terminology such as "Field Ready" and "High Ready." We learned how to scan our area and make sure the threat is no longer there. And believe it or not, we weren't there more than 30 minutes before we were firing the guns.

So how does it feel to fire an Uzi sub-machine gun? In a word - unbelievable. The adrenaline rush you feel while firing is phenomenal. The brilliance of it is, this feeling is perfectly conveyed in Counter-Strike. Think about it. You're the only Terrorist left with five Counter-Terrorists looking for you, now tell us you don't feel the adrenaline pumping? After firing about 30 or so magazines we broke for lunch. We had no idea what was coming afterwards.

After lunch, the group went on to moving targets. Basically the targets were facing to the left and at the instructors cue would turn to face us; after which we would open fire. This section was all about speed and getting your sights right on the target - much like zeroing in on a running target in Counter-Strike. Surprisingly, after learning how to aim properly at a moving target - taking into consideration getting the enemy in the sights and using short controlled bursts - has increased this editor’s score while playing Counter-Strike. No shit.

At the end of the day we were allowed to do what we all wanted to do from the start. All right kids, says Mr. Okayama, now is the time you can unload a full clip into the target. Woohoo!!! No more controlled bursts. It was all about destroying the target in front of you. After we all fired our magazine, we looked at all the editor’s targets and the results were truly interesting. Some editor’s completely missed the area they were supposed to hit. Were your eyes closed boy? was one comment from an instructor. Others got half and half while some were dead on their target areas. But how this compares to Counter-Strike is fascinating and further supports the realism of the game. For example, how many times have you fired a full magazine at a guy and he didn't fall over and while you're reloading, he manages to kill you instead? After seeing firsthand in real-life how keeping your finger on the trigger is not the best thing to do for accuracy, we never would've believed it.

And just when things couldn't get any better, one of the instructors pulled up in his truck and unloaded a plethora of automatic and semi-automatic weapons on a table. Check out the picture and you can see for yourself. We got to fire an M-16, a suppressed MP-5, a Cobray M-11 w/suppressor, a Mac-10 and an Uzi w/suppressor. It’s like we died and went to heaven. Our first choice was of course the MP-5. Loading the magazine is identical to how it’s done in Counter-Strike — to the T. Afterwards we went for the M-16 or the Colt M4A1 Carbine as it is in Counter-Strike. Once again the kick we felt while firing is identical to that in Counter-Strike. The front sight bounces just like in the game, which totally blew us away. Every aspect of the reloading procedure, the stance and how we hold the guns is perfectly recreated in Counter-Strike.

Well our action-packed day finally had to end (the once full bucket of ammo was down to about 4 inches left). The game editors managed to destroy a boatload of targets - all without incident. Being an avid player of Counter-Strike, this editor was truly fortunate in being able to fire these real-life firearms. After the experience suffice it to say, the folks who programmed and designed Counter-Strike knew exactly what they were doing. See you all online!