The First Person Shooter
(FPS) games genre was
first recognised in the early 1990s when Wolfenstein 3D
world-wide smash hit for its developers id Software
. But remarkable
as it sounds, the ancestors of FPS games can actually be traced all the way
back to the early 1970s (Maze War
was probably the first FPS, and
it went into development in 1973).
As the name suggests, FPS games are distinguished from other types of shooting
games by a first person perspective which renders the game world from
the visual perspective of the player's character.
This can provide a very gripping (in act, often quite thrilling!)
immersive gaming environment, even though the objects of FPS games (ie shoot
the heck out of everything) and most
of the genre's conventions have changed very little since Wolfenstein
3D, Doom and Quake first carved out the FPS landscape in
the early to mid-1990s.
Contemporary FPS games usually offer vastly improved graphics over
the 1990s versions; and most also offer the ability to compete against
other people over the Net. This has led to the creation of numerous
gaming fan sites and - for very popular games - lots of add-ons
developed by the fans themselves (for example, extra maps, weapons etc).
The drawback of modern FPS games is that they usually involve big
downloads (250 Mb to 1Gb+ isn't uncommon). This is a far cry from the
couple of 1.44Mb floppies that Wolfenstein 3D occupied in 1992. And some
of the most popular ones only run in multi-player mode, so
you can't just settle down for a solo shoot-em-up when it suits you either.
But against this, most FPS games run fairly seamlessly on most
contemporary PCs and don't require much in the way of specialised
gaming equipment (though of course the more souped up your machine is, the
faster and better the more graphics-intensive games fly). Many modern FPS games also run equally
well on Linux and Mac as well as Windows.
All this being so, if you want to burn a bit of spare time with some pulse-pounding,
adrenalin-charged action these brilliant - and completely free
- FPS games can have you on the edge of your seat for anything from a few
hours to literally days, weeks or months: