Why Have FPSs Always Fascinated Us?
For the record, this is not a rhetorical question. It's quite legitimate, so comment away.
The biggest video game in the world right now is a first-person shooter. That's not news. And although I am not on the bandwagon that says shooters dominate this generation (as one developer said, this isn't true in the slightest unless your name is "Call of Duty"), I think it's plain as day that one genre has always fascinated gamers from the dawn of the industry.
Those who are old enough might remember first seeing Wolfenstein 3D. They will likely recall that it was a revelation almost to the level of Super Mario Bros.. And although one can make the claim that shooters are bigger now than ever before, simply because of CoD and maybe Battlefield, the veteran gamers are going, "...uh, no, we were around when Doom, Duke Nukem, and Heretic totally kicked ass." They didn't just kick ass, they were technological tour de forces and as far as I could tell everyone loved them.
In fact, I dare say it was more of a lovefest in those days than it is now. I really didn't know anyone who didn't at least admit that Doom was something special. Now, is that because we were still breaking down walls in video games, and exploring unknown frontiers? Well, that may have been the case with Wolfenstein, but weren't Doom and Duke Nukem just more of the same...only fancier? And what about the ensuing generations, when games like Half-Life and Halo once again owned the gaming world's attention? The love really never dies.
So what is it exactly that makes these first-person shooters so damn enduring and appealing for such a large number of gamers? Is the love simply passed down from the olden days? That's a fine answer for those over a certain age, but what about the young'uns that don't really play anything but shooters these days? Is it just the constant gratification that caters to our ever-dwindling attention spans? That's undoubtedly part of it, but was it true in the late 80s and early 90s? Not everyone on the planet worshiped at the alter of digital deification in those days. Heck, people still went outside and did stuff.
Maybe it's just the viewpoint. First-person RPGs like The Elder Scrolls seem to be immensely popular as well. Then again, Mirror's Edge didn't exactly leap off the sales charts, and these days, third-person shooters (Uncharted, Gears of War, and to a lesser extent, Grand Theft Auto) seem to earn the highest praise (if not necessarily the highest sales). It's quite the complicated question, isn't it?
5/24/2012 9:15:43 PM Ben Dutka