Fantastic minutes in PC gaming are bite-sized events of some of our preferred gaming memories.

I didn’t enter into CS: GO till 2015 when I enjoyed Vincent “Pleased” Cervoni Schopenhauer’s Deagle ace live in the audience at Dreamhack London. In spite of being miles behind, doing not have the lightning-fast reflexes and game understanding required for such a penalizing FPS, I spent the rest of that year running around Mirage and Dust II with my family.

I ended up being consumed with enhancing my skills utilizing the objective training tools in the Steam Workshop, and playing countless rounds in Casual and private lobbies. After a while Casual started to feel uninteresting, so we decided to finish our placement matches and get our ranks. But even after 10s of hours of practicing smokes, retaking bombsites, and awkward clutches, I could not assist however feel anxious about my very first match.

CS: GO has visual and audio cues to remind you things will buckle down. I might feel myself tensing up as I read the on-screen notice: “By playing Competitive you are dedicating to a complete match which could last as much as 90 minutes. Deserting the match after you ‘ACCEPT’ will result in a penalty.”

I look back at this moment and laugh about it now– I’ve ignored this message numerous times considering that. But prior to I hit ‘accept’ because first Competitive match, I all of a sudden ended up being extremely anxious. I really wished to win, and more than anything I didn’t wish to mess up in front of my group. In a Casual lobby nobody else is troubled about the outcome, however Competitive is a totally different monster. Queuing with a lot of strangers produces an erratic experience, and things can turn aggressive and sweary quickly. This was something I ‘d only had a mild taste of in other modes, but I ‘d still discovered to expect the worst from individuals utilizing voice comms.

“Your match is ready!” turned up on screen. It’s around this time that you hear a series of high-pitched beeps that prompt you to prepare for the match. I clicked the big green button and saw the server slowly fill with the nine remaining gamers. The last thing you hear before the map loads is a last burst of beeps and the “let’s roll” voiceline, and this is where the full weight of the match ahead slapped me in the face.

It’s bizarre how a single, innocuous sound bite can cause such a powerful sense of excitement and fear. Countless hours later on, this familiar audio clip still makes my palms feel a little sweaty, since I know the hour or so ahead will be extremely demanding. I love it however, and I’m yet to discover a video game that uses a similar spectrum of low and high as CS: GO. The buzz I get from scoring an ace, or pacifying a bomb with milliseconds to spare in a critical round makes it all worth it, even if it causes my heart rate to spike.

I’m not alone, either. Even Carlos “Casemiro” Henrique, a footballer with four Champions League titles, has felt the pressure, just recently stating that Counter-Strike makes him “a lot more worried than dipping into the Bernabéu”. I mean, if that isn’t the ideal description of how difficult CS: GO games can feel, I don’t know what is.

I reflect to that very first Competitive queue every time I consider booting CS: GO. I can’t even remember the match really well, but I’m quite sure our team lost. I don’t play much Counter-Strike now, but every now and then I’ll dip in for a few matches, and to this day, I still get those pre-match jitters.