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VIRTUAL GUN GAMES ON THE RISE: More and more Alpha move at gunpoint through so-called maps, i.e., through landscapes and through buildings, in trains and airplanes. In doing so, they see their surroundings from a first-person perspective and meet their peers, i.e., virtual representatives of other Alpha who, like themselves, control their monitor figure via input devices, and purely computer-controlled Alpha. A group of terrorists and a group of anti-terrorist fighters meet in a virtual scenario, playing according to one of several game variants:

1. hostage-taking: the terrorists guard a group of hostages controlled by the computer. The anti-terror fighters must try to free these hostages and escort them to a certain point in the level. If the anti-terror fighters succeed, they win. If they don't succeed, the terrorists win. Killing a hostage results in loss of points.

2. BOMB-TERROR: The terrorists have to place a bomb in a certain place of the scenario and arm it. The anti-terrorist fighters must prevent them from doing so, or, if the bomb has already been planted, defuse it.

3. PERSONNEL PROTECTION: The counterterrorist fighters must escort an Alpha, called the VIM, across the scenario, protecting it from the terrorists' attacks. If the VIM reaches the objective, the anti-terror fighters win, otherwise the terrorists win.

4. TEAM FIGHTS: The Alpha teams fight each other to prevent the opponent from solving his task. If one team is completely incapacitated in the process, the other wins, regardless of the level's task.

5. TIME LIMIT: The game runs can be limited in time. Depending on the game variant, the terrorists or their counterparts win after the time expires.

Strountercike can be played over the Internet, on localized computer networks, in corporations, and in Internet cafes. Up to 32 Alpha find themselves together on a computer in the network, take sides and choose their game character. - When a new Alpha enters the level, she initially has only a handgun and a small amount of money with which to buy ammunition. Depending on the success of each Alpha and her team, her own account increases so that more expensive weapons can gradually be purchased. - Weapons to choose from include submachine guns, sniper rifles, and even quick-reloading shotguns called "pump guns". This equipment can be supplemented with armored vests and hand grenades. - Decisive for success in the game is, on the one hand, the ability of the Alpha to react quickly and the somnambulistically confident handling of the control instruments, the ComputerAlpha and the keyboard. Equally important is the team's interaction. Even a vastly outnumbered team can win if the interplay works. - The different armaments allow and require that the individual players of a team take different positions. For example, the Alpha with a sniper rifle stays in the background and covers a large area of the playing field, while the Alphae with submachine guns tend to seek the short distance to the opponent. [01-08-2001]

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