The history of first-person shooter videogames

Call of Duty, Doom, Wolfstein and Halo are the most famous examples of first-person shooter (FPS) games. And these games have immense popularity all over the world, and not only with the experienced gamers, but with their accessibility, they are number one in many people’s favourite genres list.

Over time, there have been a lot of first-person shooter games, dating back to 1973. Here is a list of videogames that have been relevant for the FPS history:

  1. Maze War (1973) 

This was a simple computer game that introduced many features and concepts to the videogame developing world, which continue to be used until now. The concept was that the person wanders around a maze, and when a player saw different players, they could shoot them, winning points for shooting and losing if being shot. 

Its importance, however, is the origination of the First-person 3D perspective, Avatars, the map that showed the player’s position, the network play or the different player system, internet play among others. 

  1. Spasim (1974) 

This was a space flight simulation videogame, that featured four teams of eight players, each controlling a planetary system, where each player controls a spaceship in 3D space with first-person view. 

It holds the title of the first-person shooter game in history along with Maze War, but since uncertainty lies around the latter about its release date, there is no assurance to which one was the first. Spasim’s creator Jim Bowery once offered a $500 reward to any person who could find proof that there was a previous game before his.

  1. Wolfstein 3D (1992) 

In this exhilarating videogame, the player assumes the role of Allied spy William “B.J.” Blazkowicz during World War II as he escapes from the Nazi German prison Castle Wolfenstein and carries out a series of crucial missions against the Nazis. The player travells each of the game’s levels to find an elevator to the next level or kill a final boss, fighting Nazi soldiers, dogs, and other enemies with knives and a variety of guns.

This game set the precedent of FPS future trends, since it was the first to incorporate a fast paced rhythm, action and technical strengths of the avatars, which popularized the genre and took it to a whole new level. 

  1. Doom (1993) 

This videogame is probably the first FPS videogame that reach incredible records of popularity, becoming a very successful franchise. To this day, it has influenced a wide number of movies, comic books, novels and even a board game.

It helped shape and define the FPS genre, inspiring many Doom clones later on and it is considered to be one of the most significant games in video game history, since it not only inspired the first person shooter ones, but it pioneered online distribution and technologies including 3D graphics, networked multiplayer gaming, and support for customized modifications. 

Featuring a space marine as a main character, known as Doomguy, who had to kill hoards of hell demons, it was a controversial depiction of violence and hellish imagery.

  1. Half-Life (1998) 

In this FPS videogame, players assume the role of Gordon Freeman, a scientist who must find his way out of the Black Mesa Research Facility after an experiment with an alien material goes wrong. It introduced the puzzle solving and task accomplishing to move through the game’s chapters. 

Originally inspired on videogames like Doom, Quake and the novel “The Mist” by Stephen King for the plot development. 

  1. Halo: Combat Evolved (2000) 

As one of the first Xbox launches it rapidly gained popularity and with the sequel, Halo 2 (2004), it brought the popularity of online gaming to the console market through the medium of Xbox Live, on which it was the most played game for almost two years. 

It also made video games soundtracks popular, with nine of its soundtracks released for listening individually. The music allows for the mood, theme, and duration to change according to gameplay, and all the pieces created for the soundtrack were made to follow the course of the game. 

Strong sales of the games led to the franchise’s expansion to other media; there are multiple best-selling novels, graphic novels, and other licensed products. 

  1. Call of Duty: Infinity Ward (2003)

It first focused its set in World War II, eventually, other sequels have had different sets in the Cold War, futuristic worlds and outer space. It has over 30 sequels and this videogame has sold over 250 million copies, reaching the impressive amount of over 15 billion dollars. Other products in the franchise include action figures, comic books, board and card games and films. 

A study from Leiden University showed that playing first-person shooting games improve mental flexibility, since Compared to non-players, players of such games were found to require a significantly shorter reaction time while switching between complex tasks, possibly because they are required to develop a more responsive mindset to rapidly react to fast-moving visual and auditory stimuli, and to shift back and forth between different sub-duties.

In the 21st century, the first-person shooter is the most commercially viable video game genre, and in 2016, shooters accounted for over 27% of all video game sales. Several first-person shooters have been popular games for e-sports and competitive gaming competitions as well.


Xbox Series X vs. PlayStation 5

There is a wild competition going on with the release of both of these consoles, Xbox Series X and PS5. A lot of information has flooded the internet and the gamer communities because of the competition between the next-gen consoles are launching at the end of the year. 

Microsoft has been a lot more forthcoming with the new Xbox’s information, revealing the new design, name and some of the Series X games, while Sony has been very secretive with the PS5 details, all that is rumoured to change with the PS5 reveal event in February. 

The only thing that both companies have made sure we all know is that their release date will be at the same time, going directly on a face to face battle, forcing gamers once again to team up into camp “Xbox” or “PlayStation”. 

Now our bets are in whether these new consoles are going to be any different from their previous versions. But here is a list of things that may give us some information on the near future of console gaming.

What we know so far

Microsoft is launching the Xbox series X, and Sony the PS5. They are the next-gen consoles set to deliver more ambitious and graphically impressive gaming experiences than ever before. Both companies have set their release dates to “Holiday 2020”, implying the period from October to December.  

Some of the machines’ internal specs are that Sony’s PS5 will have a third generation AMD Ryzen chipset, with an impressive 8 cores, the company’s new Zen 2 architecture and Navi graphics. It’s a system that will be able to support a performance-intensive lighting technique that has previously been reserved for expensive high-end PC GPUs, and which we now know will be “built into the GPU hardware” for the PS5. 

Sony has also bragged about building an amazing audio system into the PS5, specially for those who use a headset while playing. Setting to create a gold standard in gamer consoles 3D built in immersive audio

The PlayStation 5 is said to support screen resolutions up to 8k, and it will also work at 120Hz refresh rates, allowing for super-smooth movement in games. These are incredibly performance intensive specs, so we wouldn’t expect a game to hit these standards regularly (not to mention requiring an expensive TV that will support them), but it’s good to see what Sony is aiming at. A particularly specialized set of gamers, willing to pay for high end technologies. 

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Sony build is its commitment to using SSD storage. This solid-state drive in the PlayStation 5 will be a custom-built piece of hardware, and Sony has already been showing off its technical prowess with a demo of its existing Spider-Man PS4 game. On PS5 hardware, the game is able to race around an incredibly detailed New York City at amazing high speeds without any delay in geometry loading or texture streaming, something that would never be possible on PS4.

Maybe even the DualShock control will change as well, due to a few hints Sony has given us. On a recent blog post by PlayStation, they said that recent 3D Touch technology would soon replace last generation rumble or vibration feature, and modifying triggers would be able to provide different kinds of resistance levels depending on the users weapon loadouts of choice or the types of surface you may be manoeuvring through in the game. 

On the other hand, the Xbox Series X looks a lot like its competitor. With its choice of the AMD internals (the same as the PS5) the power it will bring to this console is four times more of what the Xbox One X had. 

Xbox Series X could have 16GB of RAM. The Xbox One X uses 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, and even a small boost to this would likely be enough for the new games. We also know it will support features like a variable refresh rate, “Variable Rate Shading” technology, and a low-latency mode so you can get better responses out of your games.

On the design front, Microsoft is the only one to have shown what its console will look like. Xbox Series X will resemble a lot like a PC tower, and it will be larger than the Xbox One X and Xbox One S, but it will keep its famous power button and disc drive on the front side. It will also feature more ventilation holes to improve the airflow. 

One significant characteristic is that Sony’s PS5 will be backward compatible, meaning it will be able to host previous PS4 games in addition to the new library of titles as well as PS VR games. 

On the other hand, Microsoft confirmed during E3 2019 that Xbox Series X will support every previous generation of Xbox games, similar to how Xbox One does so now. And Microsoft seems to be developing a project to make it easier for developers to create games for Microsoft’s consoles that can be more easily compatible with Windows PCs.

Studios are already working on the development for the games that will launch along these consoles. For PS5, it will be Godfall, a melee combat game, while for Xbox, Halo Infinite is going to be its launching title. 

Finally, lets not forget about Nintendo Switch Pro, which will also be an important player for the battle of consoles in the years to come.