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Counter-Strike & Va. Tech

Mike Musgrove

A story that appeared on yesterday mentioned that the Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung Hui was a fan of the terrorist-vs.-counterterrorist game Counter-Strike.

Small world. Counter-Strike was co-designed by a Virginia Tech student, Jess Cliffe, who graduated in 2003. Cliffe now works as a designer for famous game developer Valve. I spoke to Cliffe once, back in 2001-- back when he was still surprised that anyone had downloaded his game. These days, Counter-Strike is the most popular online PC "shooter" game on the globe.

UPDATE: The Washington Post spoke with people who knew Cho during high school who said Cho played the video game "Counter-Strike" then, but it was unclear whether Cho played the game at Virginia Tech.

By Mike Musgrove  |  April 18, 2007; 11:42 AM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Just fantastic. I'm sure we'll see Jack Thompson rolling up on Blacksburg soon.

Posted by: David S | April 18, 2007 8:47 AM

Lets not forget that TWICE as many as Virginia Tech. minors die from gun related crime in the US EVERY WEEK!

Counter Strike and any other gun related game has no relation to these!

Posted by: sure thing | April 18, 2007 9:44 AM

I just searched through that entire article (after hearing jack thompson on Fox) and not once does it mention Counter Strike.

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2007 9:45 AM

I heard on CNN that this is not true.

Posted by: Ashley | April 18, 2007 9:45 AM

Its apparent that he prefers 1.6 to css.

Posted by: CitricAcid | April 18, 2007 10:03 AM

The Post and CNN are playing with this story. The reference to "counterstrike" still shows up in the Post search engine referencing stories on April 17. They have obviously edited it out. Don't believe everything on CNN, and as for the Post, they owe us an explanation.

Posted by: Mark N. | April 18, 2007 10:27 AM

Yep, need an explanation here in a hurry. Any word on this Mike?

Posted by: Matt P. | April 18, 2007 10:44 AM

Let me check, Matt P.

Posted by: Musgrove | April 18, 2007 11:03 AM

Thanks Mike, very helpful and appreciated.

Posted by: Matt P. | April 18, 2007 12:02 PM

When are people going to stop blaming video games when these things occur? This Jack Thompson guy is not an expert witness and yet he's on TV just because he sue's video game manufacturers.

People are responsible for their actions not video games. Should we stop selling cars? They kill a whole lot more than video games. Video games are not intoxicating yet we still have more people dying from alcoholism.

Posted by: Gabe Z. | April 18, 2007 1:11 PM

If it weren't for the violince in the video game, this probably would not have happened. Mr. Cliffe (a Va. Tech grad) who developed counter strike, should be held as accountable as Cho.
What a disgrace!!

Posted by: Gordy | April 18, 2007 1:57 PM

Gordy, i dont think you make any sense in wording that mr cliff a grad should be held accountable as cho because he developed counter strike. THE GAME IS NOT ABOUT PREMEDITATED KILLINGS.Quit the blame game and try something new.

Posted by: roe.... | April 18, 2007 2:33 PM

there's a difference between playing a game and actually going out and cold blooded killing a bunch of innocent students, that's as stupid as saying osama bin ladin plays starcraft to work on his strategy, i do agree that it could mabey give you ideas, but not drive you to go out and do the action, and if you ask me you can blame the school for the massacre, they should have locked down until they at least had an idea of who did it and where he was, there was a 2 hour difference between both shootings, just goes to show how stupid people really are.

Posted by: italiman | April 18, 2007 6:43 PM

At least he had a good pistol round strat...

Posted by: Jeff O'Conner | April 18, 2007 8:04 PM

Anyone who believes that this could be directly related to counter-strike is straight up dumb. Yes, its a violent game, dont get me wrong, but in the same sense YOU have to be messed up in the head to go and shoot 30+ people that you dont know for a relatively unknown reason.

Now what's pathetic is the fact that he was administered to a mental hospital but was released a few days before the shooting because he, "still had good judgement." Explain that one.

Posted by: Garrett | April 18, 2007 8:08 PM

Hey Jeff thats not really funny yes cs is fun and he probably would have a sick pistol but thats besides the point. This guy was insane should have been locked up before hand

Posted by: Anthony | April 18, 2007 8:16 PM

I'm not going to say the online game Counter Strike did or didn't have any influence on Cho. However as a 46 year old my life as a teen in the late 70s did not exist of sitting in front of a TV or PC and 'playing games' as I 'killed' people hours each day. If you wanted to 'shoot a gun' you went out into the woods or joined the Army and shot guns for real. You wouldn't be scared of one if you learned how to use one. And these 'gun free zones' are JOKE!! Va Tech wasn't gun free that day was it? If some RAs, professors, or even law abiding students would have had a weapon on them many, many deaths could've been avoided. How fast did your governement security blanket react for you? I don't need big gov't to take care of me from cradle to grave. I am a law abiding citizens with nothing more than a couple speeding tickets in 46 yrs. IMO many lives were lost due to liberal on-campus policies. Don't be AFRAID of guns, educate yourself and protect yourself. It's nobody elses job but YOURS!!! Don't reply on MommyCrats and MommyPublicans your whole life. You'll ve VERY disappointed if you do. What does the gov't at any level do successfully, efficiently, and on budget? Here's your answer:

Posted by: Dave in Ohio | April 19, 2007 11:00 AM

Jack T. "the school shooting expert" was saying that Cho ussed it as a training tool and that other school shooters have done the same. He does reference the Post repeatedly saying the news articles supporting his claims are out there. But, like many of the other views here, I agree that games are not to blame. Or does anyone believe that "Driver" and "Grand Theft Auto" are responsible for car jackings, high speed chases and prostitute beatings. It is time for people to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming anyone and everyone or anything and everything else.

Posted by: WT | April 19, 2007 11:10 AM

hold a mouse in your hand point and click @ a virtual enemy... was it easy???
now hold a cold steel handguns in your hands and point it at your classmates, does it feel the same idiots?

Posted by: CS:S DEFENDER | April 19, 2007 3:53 PM

Hey everyone. I played Counter-Strike for quite some time and even played in a clan. I and my fellow clansmen were followed by a player who went by the alias "QuestionMark". Does anyone know anything about Cho's gaming tag or anything? I haven't heard from this player in quite some time either. He would follow my friends and I around in servers and pretend to be in our clan. We would often get into "arguments" online....I mean, c'mon it was online so how bad could it be. Anyways, this kid would always follow us and acted extremely immature. He would never reveal his name, and only wished to be referred to as QuestionMark. I'm not definite that this was Cho, but it's quite a coincidence. Didn't know if anything had been revealed to give further description or not. Also, the player I'm referring to favored pistols and occasionally a sniper rifle as his weapon of choice. I'm not saying that Counter-Strike or anything other shooter game is responsible for these deaths. People can take any and everything and turn it into something bad.

Posted by: Justin T. | April 19, 2007 6:50 PM

If you have any comments/information, please feel free to e-mail me at


Posted by: Justin T. | April 19, 2007 6:52 PM

Gordy if you would please just leave video games, especially CS out of this.

Video games do not help people shoot, a real gun weighs a lot more that a gun on the computer.

Cho had more issues with his fellow peers.

For most people playing games is a way of RELEAVING stress.

i am sorry for the misspellings but please people.


Posted by: Random CS player | April 20, 2007 10:16 AM

WOW. I really love how shootings come back to counter-strike.

Counter-Strike is my life. I am consumed by it.
I have played Counter-Strike since the beta version for the original Half-Life.
I own every version. I am planning on playing Counter-Strike until my death but I dont see how things can always come back to it.
I agree with Random Player on how playing games cant help you shoot.
Just because you shoot people in VR doesnt mean you can shoot a real gun. Cho had a .22 target pistol, note-- he probably had it to practice shooting a gun.
He knew what he was doing before the shooting because he practiced in REAL life.
he owned a gun 2 months before the shooting. 2 months, plenty of time to practice.

Columbine was caused because people pushed the shooters, Harris and Klebold, over the limits that they would allow. They snapped just like Cho did. people keep messing with others and eventually things get out of hand and people just break.

I got introuble in my early years because people pushed me too far and I snapped.

People that are mentaly unstable but dont get required help from people that say they are unstable will continue to get madder and madder over time and eventually explode and do things that are sometimes considered in human and/or flat out crazy.
People just need to stop screwing around and talking trash about people when they are not around. that would help a lot in stopping things like school/work shootings and homicides.

Posted by: Sniper1418 | April 20, 2007 10:31 AM

people... CHO had big problems and did express thim in the wrong way (in the end)
now games are not to blame for this, thay say that CS helped him learn to shoot...cuz we all know that a gun in a game and a gun in real life way the sam -.-
CS was not a source of his problems it was people... and the way he was treated... he had mental problems and nobody helped whith it, thay say that thay "recomended" counsoling but if thay realy cared thay would have forced him to go for a little while if thay were really conserd for his mental stability.

now im not blaming others, he did do the wrong action but we are partal to blame for not seeing the pain he must have felt
people pay a friend show some compashion to your fellow man sometimes you just need that one person, just that could have avioded this incodent
come on leave the game alone and look at yourselvs

Posted by: fallen cyangel schatten | April 20, 2007 10:33 AM

I think it's ridiculous that adults are blaming a video game for a school shooting. I see worse things on my television than I do when I play Counter-Strike. Look at the numbers. Everyone feel free to go download Steam or visit Valve's website for Steam and look at the number of people that play both Counter-Strike v1.6 and Counter-Strike Source.

Counter-Strike 1.6 -- 99,565 players
Counter-Strike: Source -- 41,924 players

These are numbers I took straight from ( That is in the U.S. alone.. so think about it. I cannot believe you can blame this game for causing this shooting. It's obvious there was more to him that we don't even know about. You have to have serious issues to do something like this, not just play a "violent" video game.

Posted by: joltX | April 20, 2007 9:03 PM

There are numerous FPS games on the market that they could blame but most have hit it on the head...the game doesn't control our actions and doesn't desensitize us to the point that we could easily commit any act of any sort.... otherwise we would all be #1 hit-man or racecar drivers. Now that the pot is stirred up very well, I wonder if the expert Jack T and Gordy will turn and blame the gun manufacturers next.... you know, no voice recognition gun locks and things of the sort. Or, maybe they would like to take on the auto maufacturers for not installing sobriety ignition systems because the drunk drivers aren't to blame for who they kill or mame eihter. I really wonder if people in the US (who don't already) will learn to take responsibility rather than dispense it and try to correct the real problems and not censor or ban what they believe to be the problems.

Posted by: W.T | April 20, 2007 9:46 PM

Video games, whilst I agree can bring out quite a temper in even myself, are not responsible. Some of the users make out that by playing a video game people cannot detach from the game and carry the experience into reality. Quite simply this is absurd.

Just because this is a violent incident it assumes that people are following in their computer games. You don't see gamers of Combat Flight simulators arming up a cessna, with no flight experience and taking down other aircraft. Violent games are probably likely to produce aggressive behaviour. My experiences show that it does with me, but then this fades quickly after stopping and as stated it is one this to shoot pixels but to have the guts to kill in cold blood I don't any truly sane person has the ability to do, no computer interaction is going to change that

Posted by: UK-User | April 20, 2007 10:30 PM

If the talent of Cho Seung Hui was applied to Hollywood film making, he would have made a boatload of money off of it.

Too bad he chose to act out his shooting scene in reality.

What a waste of life.

Posted by: B. D. | April 21, 2007 10:54 PM

he also consumed bread within the last 48 hours before he shot 32 innocent students.
so please forbid bread! :)

Posted by: mulder | April 22, 2007 8:47 AM

Of course every terrorist playing counterstrike ............ Osama Bin laden, Pres.Bush and the other.

Posted by: Bullite | April 22, 2007 10:15 AM

this forum is just proof of how stupid some americans really are. it's a game, once you leave the game you have real life, if you kill someone in real life there's consequences his being labelled as mentally insane and a coward

Posted by: anon | April 22, 2007 6:54 PM

*sigh*.....look the dude also wore clothes and breathed why no just outlaw that too -.-
i mean come on..bad things happen.....ITS LIFE!!!!!!!!....people have been killing others for 1000's of years........and were going to continue with or without violent can get rid of the games with ease....not peoples mental problems.

Posted by: fallen cyangel schatten | April 23, 2007 10:08 AM

You can complain and complain about how your video games could not have had an effect on Cho. The problems with your arguement is the way he chose to dress for his massacre, the weapons he used and the way that he wanted to use them is all too remeniscent of Counter Strike. Yes, the game did not tell him to go out and kill real people, but it is obvious he was not mentally capable of understanding the difference between killing people in a video game and in real life. Counter Strike did not force him to do what he did but it certainly inspired the way that he went about doing it. Mindlessly defending the violence that is prevelent in video games as well as in other parts of our culture will never solve this problem. We cannot glorify violence in games, on TV, in our government without expecting young people to want to emulate it.

Posted by: That guy | April 23, 2007 3:19 PM

omg,how ridicolous u american guys are!
16 yr old boys can buy guns without any control and u blame counterstrike for massacres,muhaha
but what do i expect from a country that is focused on guns and war
perhaps u shouldnt have elected george wanker bush again.....
stupid,nothing more to say

Posted by: killerspielspieler@ger | April 23, 2007 4:56 PM

hmmm, with or without the facts of this case.

The idea that rehearsing behavior violent behavior can desensitize a person sounds at least plausible.

The fact that other people don't show the same symptoms has more to do with the fact that they aren't sociopathic, or psychopathic. I would tend to agree that disturbed individuals probably shouldn't be playing graphically violent video games, or over exposing themselves to potentially suggestive materials. Just as I don't think a pedophile should be looking at child porn. Looking at the porn hardly stems the fixation, it is just another element in the whole problem. The snap back reaction people here need to be a bit more honest / realistic with themselves.

I love rainbow six, Gears of war, halo 2, COD 3 etc. but, I'm willing to concede that such violence can be too alluring for people with problems distinguishing reality.

Posted by: greg | April 23, 2007 6:07 PM


Posted by: Greg LuGayness | April 24, 2007 11:14 AM

Did he walk around with a knife, knifin people saying humilation? I think not...pfft..just another reason to blame something else when people are the only root of their own demise

Posted by: CS Fan | April 25, 2007 5:05 PM

So someone who plays on mario will plan to dress up in a plumber style outfit and jump on turtles?
Get Real.

Zapdude_Uk - Steam

Posted by: Luigi | May 2, 2007 6:50 PM

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