I think ASCII would have been about as difficult to implement as these squares, but I would've lost some flexibility. Making the players look similar but not identical was important, and in ASCII that would've been harder to do.
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I'm taking the between-rounds economy of CS:GO and extracting it into a separate game so I can practice just the economy part and develop an intuitive sense of what makes sense to do when. I doubt "CS:GO without all the gameplay" is a thing anybody asked for, but whatever.