CS:GO, A Proven Discourse
In today’s world, there are many gun and war themed games such as Call of Duty, but in my opinion Counter Strike Global Offensive is the best. Counter Strike Global Offensive, or CS:GO for short, is an online first person shooter meaning that you feel like you are looking in the eyes of your character. It is one of the most popular games on the Steam market an online games marketplace where you can buy and download tons of different games. Thousands of people play CS:GO and the game has gotten so popular there are even professional CS:GO teams who play against each other in tournaments for big money. Players can customize their online characters with different color and style guns that can come from in-game drops, after playing a game you get a new gun skin, gun crates, crates you can open for real money and get a chance at rare skins, or through the CS:GO market place where players can buy and sell weapon crates and guns. Some weapon skins so valuable they can cost hundreds of dollars. Players of CS:GO show unique values and have game based language and beliefs that supports the claim that players who play this game are indeed in a Discourse. In Gee’s “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction.” he says that ,
”Discourses are ways of being in the world; they are forms of life which integrate words, acts, values, beliefs, attitudes, and social identities as well as gestures, glances, body positions, and cloths.” (7)
Although he talks about Discourses, he also elaborates his ideas of seven building tasks which describes a Discourse that Fiano summarizes in “Primary Discourse and Expressive Oral Language in a Kindergarten Student”. These building tasks show correlations with CS:GO because in the game players show practices, identities, and relationships and sign systems and knowledge that allows them to participate in this Discourse otherwise they would be considered an outsider. Online blogs written by adreN, Turbosquid and Serenity help articulate ways one can engage themselves into the Discourse.
Practice Makes Perfect
One of Gee’s seven building tasks that Fiano brings up is practices. Practices are activities done to show how one is in a Discourse. In the example of Counter Strike, there are many people who warm up their skills in team death match games. Team Death match is a gamemode where players have infinite amount of lives and the objective is to kill the enemy players as many times as they can until the round is over. Team Death match is a great way for players to practice their crosshair placement and strafe shooting skills. Crosshairs are the small aiming icon on the screen which indicates where you are aiming at and it is important to practice your crosshair placement in order to maximize accuracy, gun control and damage output. When “placing your crosshair at the most likely spot where the head of an opponent will appear is one of the best ways to improve your aiming.” (adreN).
Furthermore, strafe shooting is when players move side to side and on every stop they fire a bullet. Strafe shooting requires much practice because CS:GO is a game that considers player movement and recoil greatly and wrong execution can lead to inaccurate shots. By practicing crosshair placement and strafe shooting, players show value in precision and execution which is a strong value in any CS:GO player. These values can help identify players if they are in the CS:GO discourse or outside of it.
Player Roles In CS:GO
Like in any Discourse, one has an identity that only those in the Discourse can understand. In other words, it is the “identity or identities relevant in a context.” (Fiano 67) With these different identities, there are also different relationships we can witness unique to that identity. For example, when someone asks if you play CS:GO, they also ask what rank you are.
CS:GO have a ranking system which places you in a certain rank which helps the game pair you up with people of the same skill level. Therefor your rank in the game acts as a sort of identity to you as a CS:GO player. Silver ranks are the lowest and the global elites are the highest ranked players. Knowing a player’s rank helps build relationships because it is common for players to friend players of the same or higher rank in order to que up, join a game with a group of people, or practice with. In many cases, if a player starts playing with a higher ranked player they would be apprenticed by him/her. In Gee’s “Literacy, Discourse, And Linguistics: Introduction”, he states that people can join a Discourse through
“apprenticeship into social practices through scaffolded and supported interactions with people who have already mastered the Discourse.” (7)
So through an apprenticeship relationship, a player identified as a low rank can become a higher rank by being apprenticed a higher rank player which shows greater understanding of the Discourse.
The “Good” Players Lead The Way
In competitive mode, there are many ways one can identify other players based on their play style. If a player is doing outstandingly better than the other players, they are considered the team’s “carry”. They essentially “carry” their team to victory and is an essential player on the team. Similarly, there is something called a “smurf”
which is a skilled player playing on a low ranked steam profile which basically tricks the ranking system to pair that player up with lower skilled players. In the sense of smurfing, players who smurf often do so for their lower ranked friends which shows outside social relationships being transferred into the game. In my experience, I have a smurf account ranked much lower than my main account so I can play with friends I’ve made from school. Through smurfing you can see how relationships from outside the game can be transferred into the game.
One Shot One Kill
Lastly, there is something called an AWPer. The team’s AWPer or AWPers are the team’s snipers. These players are skilled with using sniper rifles that can result in one shot or two shot kills depending on the bullet placement. The best AWPers can do something called a quick scope or no scope which is when a player quickly zooms in or doesn’t zoom in at all to kill an enemy. Awpers shows a special relationship with teammates because in competitive mode players always know that when the team acquires an AWP, they always give it to the AWPer even if it is their own gun.
“If you are using the AWP and know that somebody else fancies it too it can prove beneficial to let them use it and go with something else yourself” (Serenity) AWPers also take specific spots on the map for different strategic advantages so it affects the positions of teammates making another special player to player relationship. For example, On a map called Dust 2, the AWPer would most definitely hold a spot called “goose”. This spot is excellent for shooting enemy players going down a long straight stretch of the map called “A long”. Other players then would position themselves elsewhere so the AWPer can provide the best support in that position. These identities found in the game show special relationships with other players.
Strategy And In Game Knowledge Is Key
Sign systems and game knowledge is also very important in CS:GO. For example, in competitive mode there are many maps players can play on. The objective of the game is to rather plant the bomb on site A or B or protect the sites. Players must be able to communicate quickly and effectively to teammates so learning map callouts is key to success. On a map called “Dust 2” map positions like “Mid-doors” and “Goose” are key map callouts that players need to know when trying to relay enemy locations. There are also different strategies a team can take in order to take over a plant site. On Dust 2, “the standard for overtaking A site is the “Split A” strategy.
The strategy involves sending two players mid and three players long. The terrorist team pushes up both sides of A site (catwalk and long A) in order to sandwich the players who are on long A and A Site.” (TurboSquid) In this strat, there are also different techniques one must know like throwing flashbangs in specific areas and timing timing entry kills. This sign system and game knowledge can relate back to Gee’s idea “saying-doing-being-valuing-believing combinations” (6). Similar to Gee’s “Walk into your local bar” idea, those who do not know callouts and strategies clearly don’t own the same saying-doing-being-valuing-believing combinations one who is in the Discourse would have.
CS:GO Is A Discourse
It’s not everyday that I look at my computer, get onto Counter Strike and think how much it is a Discourse to me. I did have an interesting time writing about this Discourse I’m in and it has been an interesting time. After writing about Discourses in the previous essay, my final thoughts is that I believe my Discourse is a Secondary Non-dominant Discourse. Although there are pro players who do make a lot of money and get a lot of fame playing the game, the majority of players find “solidarity with [this] particular network, but not wider status and social goods in the society at large.” (Gee 8) Also, although there are many games like CS:GO, Call Of Duty, Battlefield, Fallout 4 for example, there is so much you can transfer from those games into the CS:GO Discourse. Believe me you can tell if someone has played COD vs Counter Strike Global Offensive.