War Of The Nerds: The Counter-Strike Soap Opera - The Reykjavik Grapevine

War Of The Nerds: The Counter-Strike Soap Opera

War Of The Nerds: The Counter-Strike Soap Opera

Published May 17, 2018

Around ten to fifteen years ago, Counter-Strike basically occupied the cultural and mental space that Fortnight now does a.k.a. it is what teenage boys were actually doing when they locked themselves in their room. Iceland was no exception, and the multiplayer first-person shooter rippled through the country like Ebola, destroying social lives and thumb joints from Kópavogur to Keflavík. And like the #metoo movement, often online in-game actions had real-world consequences.

The defector

Take Kaztro, a rising star in the Icelandic Counter-Strike community and a member of a clan called MTA, which was short for “Mortal Enemy”. For those people who don’t spend their time shooting pixels, the basic gameplay of Counter-Strike revolves around one five-man team (a ‘clan’) battling another five-person team. One plays as terrorists and the other as counter-terrorists—it’s very politically correct, we know.

Kaztro was offered a spot in Celphtitled, a much better clan, and promptly quit MTA. This infuriated Calculon, another clan member, so much that he found Kaztro’s address, drove to his house, stacked a bunch of wooden pallets in front of his front door, and tied a rope around the palettes to the doorknob. The result was that Kaztro and his family were locked into their apartment. The boys were only X at the time and had never met in person.

On a few occasions, guys would sleep with other players girlfriends or ex-girlfriends to settle a Counter-Strike score or get revenge.

ÉG LEM ÞIG

This story is completely bonkers but still barely scratches the surface of Icelandic Counter-Strike drama. At the height of the game’s fame, players—around 300 to 500—would meet up at massive LAN events four times a year called Skjálfti. Like any community that revolves around them shooting each other and yelling, there was a forum called hugi.is where people would gossip and insult each other. A pretty common saying on the forum was “ÉG LEM ÞIG Á SKJÁLFTA”, which means “I’ll kick your ass at Skjálfti.” If that’s not dramatic enough, on a few occasions, guys would sleep with other players girlfriends or ex-girlfriends to settle a Counter-Strike score or get revenge. Yeah, for real.

The Grapevine contacted Kaztro for a statement on his pallet-filled panic and over the phone, the once prolific player revisited the fated pages of hugi.is. “Holy shit, there are actually 55 pages of search results when you look up my username,” Kaztro says incredulously. “Wow, I apparently had no life.”

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