Chapter 10
First-Person Shooters
-  (FPS)  a kind of videogame that is
distinguished by a 3D character’s eye view of the world and fast-
paced, oen violent, gameplay that requires players to react rapidly and
acquire physical skills. “First person” refers to the camera position—as
opposed to the third-person view of the main character used in most
graphical adventures and computer role-playing games (CRPGs)—and
shooter” to the player’s most common action. Later examples of the type
have added a variety of other elements to the gameplay, including puzzle
solution, exploration, and an increasing focus on (usually linear) narrative,
but physical combat is still the core of the form’s appeal. e speed and
immediacy of the FPS make it perhaps the type of videogame most analo-
gous to lm, though it is clearly more closely related to the violent action
of e Terminator (1984) than to the pensive montages of La Jee (1963).
First-person perspective games based on combat evolved early in the
history of videogames. e rst example may have been Maze War (1973;
also known as Maze) designed by Steve Colley, Greg ompson, and
Howard Palmer, a game created at a Californian NASA center, which
allowed several players to enter a 3D maze drawn using simple lines and
shoot at each other. Isolated examples of similar gameplay appeared over
the next two decades in such works as the tank-combat-based Battlezone
(1980 Atari) designed by Ed Rotberg, Voyager I (1981 Avalon Hill)
designed by William Volk—in which the player must destroy a ship full
of berserker robots—the UK-developed games 3D Monster Maze (1981 J.
K. Greye Soware) designed by Malcolm Evans and Driller (1987 Major
Developments; also known as Space Station Oblivion in the United States),
248 Science Fiction Video Games
and Ultima Underworld: e Stygian Abyss (1992 Blue Sky Productions)
designed by Paul Neurath, a CRPG with a fantasy setting that focuses on
real-time combat in 3D perspective. e FPS form, however, is gener-
ally regarded as having begun with the American game Wolfenstein 3D
(1992 id Soware [id]) designed by John Carmack and John Romero, in
which the player must ght their way through various covert missions in
a not especially serious version of World War II, including slaughtering
an army of mutant zombies and assassinating Adolf Hitler (who is wear-
ing a suit of mechanical armor). is game has a uidity and immediacy
lacking in its predecessors, partly as a result of technical improvements
that allowed it to use more realistic, rapidly updating visuals; the result-
ing sense of intensity has come to dene the form.
Wolfenstein 3D was followed by Doom (1993 id) designed by John
Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall, and Sandy Petersen, which made
the form famous, and then by a wave of similar games including Quake
(1996 id) designed by John Carmack, American McGee, Sandy Peterson,
John Romero, and Tim Willits; Unreal (1998 Epic Games) designed by
Cli Bleszinski and James Schmalz; and the broadly parodic and mildly
pornographic Duke Nukem 3D (1996 3D Realms) designed by George
Broussard and Todd Replogle. e UK-developed Aliens Versus Predator
(1999 Rebellion) took something of a dierent approach, concentrating
on evoking a sense of vulnerability more than on carefree mayhem. e
Marathon Trilogy (from 1994 Bungie Studios [BS]) and System Shock (1994
Looking Glass [LG]) designed by Doug Church added linear stories, an
element almost entirely absent from Doom, though this innovation did
not attract much attention at the time. Meanwhile, two concepts popu-
larized by Doom and its successors had a major eect on videogames in
general: competitive (and later cooperative) games between several play-
ers in temporary online worlds and the creation and free distribution
of new content by the game’s players as well as by its developers. Almost
all early FPSs were science ction (sf); a rare exception is the sword and
sorcery Heretic (1994 Raven Soware; 1995 revised as Heretic: Shadow of
the Serpent Riders) designed by Brian Rael.
In the late 1990s, developers devoted considerable eort to expanding
the boundaries of FPS design. Half-Life (1998 Valve) added a credible and
well-integrated linear story, created by the sf writer Marc Laidlaw. e ste-
ampunk and sorcery game ief: e Dark Project (1998 LG; 1999 revised
as ief Gold) designed by Greg LoPiccolo, Doug Church, and KenLevine
introduced gameplay that depended more on stealth and subtle trickery

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