Posted on April 29, 2020
A Quick History Of First-Person Shooter Games
The first-person shooter game is no doubt one of the most popular styles of games for both computers and consoles. They give the player a sense of ownership in the events that unfold in the game as they are making decisions for a character that is ostensibly an extension of themselves. At the heart of all these games is the sense of satisfaction they create for the player as they get to act out scenarios that are far removed from everyday life.
These first-person shooter games have been around for a long time and have come a long way in their design and development. The roots of these games can be traced back to the 1970s, when video games were essentially first created. That’s over 40 years of first-person shooter experiments, designs and innovations to get us to where we sit now with the likes of Call of Duty, Halo and Destiny.
In The Very Beginning
It was the early 1970s, and two developers were busy working independently to create games that would set the foundation for where we are today. The first was Steve Colley and his Maze War – a simple black and white labyrinth in 3D. Players were represented by a floating eye and you would wander through the maze looking for other players to shoot. This was the first time that a game was designed to be played from the first-person viewpoint, and it was truly groundbreaking.
The other game to lay the groundwork for our favorites today was Spasim, created by Jim Bowery. This was a flight simulator game set in space, and was exciting as playing online Bingo for real money. The player was the pilot sitting in the cockpit and navigating their way through the challenges of the game. Neither of these games were commercially released, but enough of the right people saw them to ensure that the legacy of these games would be set for life.
The First-Person Revolution
It would be another almost 20 years before the concept of the first-person shooter game became the norm. id Software is largely credited with cementing this gaming evolution in 1992, with the release of their Wolfenstein 3D. 1993, however, was the biggest year for the company and the style of gaming as they released Doom. This game defined the era with its use of heavy metal for the soundtrack and the incredible graphics (for the time). The company sold a whopping on million copies of the first version of the game around the world. The next step in the evolution of first-person shooter games was the company’s release of Quake. This is considered widely to be the original game that was truly 3D polygonal shooter.
id Software also pioneered the evolution of other first-person games. They created a cockpit simulation game called Hovertank 3D back in 1991. However, it was their character-led games that really captured the world’s imagination. The original developer of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, John Carmack, openly acknowledges that he was inspired by Ultima Underworld, a game created by Blue Sky Productions.