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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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First-Person Firing Squad

Back in my Atari days, first person games were rare and prized. Most games were third person—you saw the action from a third-person perspective, with your little tank, man, or airplane running around on the screen just like all the other tanks, men, or airplanes. But in a first-person game, you saw the action from the point of view of your character. This was a much greater technological challenge and was seldom adequately implemented until the arrival of Doom.

Nevertheless, as early as 1980, game designers at Atari were avidly discussing the possibilities of first-person games. One wag suggested a First-Person Firing Squad game; I thought the idea had merit so I slapped something together in BASIC. Four little stick-figure ...

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