The internet era is the era of commercialism. Just look up at the URL of this page. The .com suffix is our way–the internet’s way, really–of telling you that the site exists to make money. I know, it must come as a shock.
The truth is, it’s fairly easy to make money on the internet. Hell, I’m getting paid to write about Counter-Strike. (Which is great, by the way–I get to do what I’m passionate about for a job.) I’ve often wondered what I would do if I couldn’t write but still loved Counter-Strike.
Thankfully, others have blazed that trail for me, and I look forward to never, ever going down it. Due to the growth of craft and design digital storefronts such as Etsy and Redbubble, internet users have access to an ever-expanding marketplace of ill-conceived, terribly designed, and atrociously executed video game merchandise.
Once I discovered this, I knew what I had to do. My task was simple find and compile a list of the worst Counter-Strike: Global Offensive merchandise. I suppose I’m a sadist, because I decided to write this article after I cringed my way through the first page of search results.
I have gazed into the abyss, gentle reader. And it has gazed back. I waded through 54 pages worth of shirts, mugs, scarves, skirts, and posters. What I’ve decided to publish here is only a tiny sampling of a truly massive internet shithole.
1. I Hate This
It’s morning. You get out of bed. Put on pants. What kind of pants? Doesn’t matter. You might not even be wearing underwear. You open your shirt drawer. Yes–today is the day. Today is the day that you will make your grand announcement. Today, the world will finally know that you are global elite.
Look, I understand how difficult it is to brag about video game achievements to people in real life. Most of the time, you sound like a pompous ass, and honestly, unless the people you’re talking to actually play video games, they probably won’t care. But, yeah, I get it–you want a way to tell people that you’re good at CS:GO. Let your frag flag fly high, friend.
But please, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t try to brag with a shirt that was made by some jerk who ripped the in-game image file for the Global Elite logo, slapped it on a black background, then threw in some “flirty” Times New Roman for giggles. Everyone knows that Helvetica is the font of flirtation, but this designer apparently missed that memo. Or every memo. Not sure.
I give this shirt a 4/10. I’d go lower, but I think I spent more time writing about this shirt than the designer did actually making it. You can purchase this bad boy here, if you really want to.
2. I Think I Actually Like This One
I hope every other shirt in the world is taking notes right now, ’cause this cotton badass is one of a kind. It’s a beautiful, intricate design, combining classical motifs with modern aesthetic sensibilities. It is a shirt that will never look out of place anywhere, whether it’s on the wall at a MoMA exhibition or hanging in your closet.
I give this shirt a 10/10, and I’ve already ordered five of them. One for every day of the week. Buy it here, if there are any left.
3. “Keep Calm And Play Counter-Strike”
Oh dear. An unfortunate side effect of stretching this meme of a design to fit a pair of leggings is that the words don’t exactly look like what they’re supposed to. I’ll leave you to figure out why I burst into an uncontrollable fit of giggles after I saw this, but use your adult imagination to fill in some of the missing letters on the front of the leggings and you might have a better idea.
I give them a 5/10. What can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for designer laziness when it makes a pair of pants as funny as this pair of pants is. Buy them here, if you really must.
4. Give Me a Kangaroo Instead
Ah, the pouch for all occasions!
Can’t swear around the house? No worries–this pouch uses asterisks to block out letters in dirty words, so it’s still got that mom-friendly PG-13 vibe about it!
Unable to punctuate? That’s cool, neither can the pouch!
Desperately need a place to stuff criminal evidence where nobody will come looking? The pouch has got you covered–trust me, nobody is going to want to look at it twice, much less open it.
I give this a 2/10. From the sentiment behind it to its regrettable execution, the creator has managed to systematically ruin everything I love about pouches. If you really need something terrible, I guess you can buy it here.
5. Don’t Call Me ‘Honey,’ Pal
I can’t place my finger on it, but something about this shirt makes me deeply physically uncomfortable.
This shirt makes me feel violated. I give it a 3/10, because at least the outline of the CT isn’t blatantly plagiarized. Buy it here, but I’ll be the first person to cross to the other side of the street if you’re walking towards me. (It could still be blatantly stolen content, of course, but it’s not as bad as the people who throw a crappy photoshop filter on top of the DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015 sticker image files and sell them on Redbubble.)*
*Sidenote: please don’t buy these stickers. None of the money from your purchase goes to the players whose name is on the sticker. If you actually want to show your support for a favorite player or team, buy the in-game stickers.
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6. Top Frog!
Take a minute and think back to the last time someone in Matchmaking complained about how they’re the “top frag” and “the only one doing anything.” Well, thanks to this shirt, I have an idea–every time I hear someone bragging about top fragging, I’m going to pretend that they’re boasting about being the “top frog.”
Yes, thanks to the circular shape of this horribly drawn HE grenade, I suppose the shirt is at least useful for letting the other frogs know that you are not to be messed with. You are the top frog. The top frog, you hear me?
7. This Shirt is Basically a Dementor to Good Taste
Fun fact: I did a lot of research, and it IS possible–although unheard of within the Harry Potter universe–for a patronus to take the form of something other than an animal. So technically, your patronus could be an AK-47, but you’d really stick out at parties. Then again, you could probably take out at least a couple Dementors with a rifle. Assuming that the gun doesn’t jam, an AK-47 is about as reliable as a a spell where you think about happy memories to make a fighting ghost animal come out of a piece of wood.
If we’re being realistic about our standards, this shirt isn’t the worst of the bunch, but I have to admit that I don’t look forward to meeting the kind of person who would buy it. I give it a 6/10, making this my second highest rated shirt of all time. Buy it here–you could do much worse.
I’ll leave you with something good, dear reader. While I was writing this article, I googled “Counter-Strike Drums,” fully expecting to find handmade drumsets with painted CT and T logos on them. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered this video of a man performing a drum solo using only CS:GO’s in-game sound files.
In a world full of regrettable consumer purchases, this dude’s gnarly drum solo is not only free, it’s pretty great. The same cannot be said for the dark underbelly of fanmade merchandise.
Here’s my suggestion. Please, for the love of God, stick to Valve’s CS:GO merchandise store. I’m even going to turn this entire sentence into a hyperlink that will take you there. I don’t love all of the designs, but it’s a whole lot better than…well, pretty much everything else out there.