With a fresh new computer, I sank into Counter-Strike like a nice, warm bath. It was comfortable, stewing for long hours in my own nerdly fragrances.
I eventually met The Devil.
We shared a mutual love of the game's novelty weapons. Guns that were so refreshingly random, so delightfully chaotic, as to be considered solid comic gold. You'll see them in a lot of action movies – the MAC-10, the TMP, the UMP – but in Counter-Strike they were a wretched joke. One only the most selfish of assholes would inflict on their team. These so-called “troll guns” let you run around like a lethally-caffeinated 10-year-old, and still take down the occasional baddie.
My first memory of The Devil involved the use of such weaponry on the infamous Counter-Strike map de_dust. Picture, if you will, thirty-two people trying their hardest to shoot, grenade, and bomb one another across some Egyptian archeological site. Now imagine that two players are running around, killing the very serious-minded terrorists and counter-terrorists with the aforementioned novelty guns. I’d scored a few gigglesome MAC-10 kills. Meanwhile, my teammates were being consistently and thoroughly UMPed (often in the face) by a character calling himself Diablo.
At the end of one serendipitous round, the two remaining survivors just happened to be he and I, the two assholes utilizing slapstick firearms. That’s when I heard the scraping of a knife.
A rather welcome invitation.
Slicing the knife against random walls or boxes was loud. It not only made it easy to find your final antagonist -- it was a badass move. “Party’s over here,” it said. “Bring a knife, if you're a bad mother fucker.”
I chose the honorable move, and engaged The Devil in gentlemanly knife-to-knife combat. We met in a long, dusty tunnel that runs underneath one side of de_dust. On either side was sunshine and sand, and in between were boxes stacked in the shade. He could have been hiding behind any of them. He might have lurked behind a shadowy corner, or leapt down from on high. He could have pulled a bait and switch – bringing a gun to this knife fight. Instead, he rushed down the center, scraping his knife across bricks and crates as he charged.
I take a swing.