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First-Person Shooter

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It's like you're right there, killing Nazis.

"Far distant eyes look out through yours."
Vortigaunt to Gordon Freeman, Half-Life 2

The First-Person Shooter is a popular form of Shooter. Its basic style of play is exactly what the name says: the perspective is first-person, through the eyes of the player character, and the action revolves around shooting.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not always about shooting the first person you see.

This is a game genre that was first widely popularized by id Software, via Trope Maker Wolfenstein 3D (1992) and especially Trope Codifier Doom (1993). Indeed, before the genre's name finally crystallized, many following games were referred to as "Doom Clones".

It actually had two potential sets of progenitors:

  • There were games such as Wolfenstein 3D (1992), Gun Buster (1992), Doom (1993), and Duke Nukem 3D (1996), which had full freedom of movement but used it solely to let you shoot everything and proceed to the end of the level. These games have origins in flight Simulation Games, dating as far back as Sega's Jet Rocket (1970), the Ur-Example of the genre.
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  • There were games with a first-person, but not quite 3D because it was rendered in discrete steps, view of the surroundings, typically a dungeon, and which had sensible and consistent worlds, NPC interaction, relatively few artificial restrictions, plotlines, and puzzles. These games were typically Role-Playing Game or Adventure Game titles. Several games of this type were full 3D with freedom of movement, notably Action RPG titles Star Cruiser (1988) and Ultima Underworld (1992).

Game designers went with the latter for a while, but as technology advanced, the genre has begun to shift towards having more interactive surroundings, setpieces, friendly NPCs, vehicle driving sections, physics-based puzzles, cover mechanics and RPG Elements with games like System Shock, F.E.A.R. or Half-Life.

See also: Standard FPS Guns and Fackler Scale of FPS Realism. If a game never breaks from the first-person perspective of the player character, that's Unbroken First-Person Perspective. Some Third Person Shooters have similar gameplay.


Contrast Fixed Camera (in terms of perspective).

Examples of this genre:

Alternative Title(s): FPS, First Person Shooters


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