First person shooter (FPS) video games are one of the most popular genres in the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. Like many of today's video games, most of the first-person shooters of today are derivative of previous games and can trace back their history to humble beginnings. Just as, for example, city-building games' heritage can be traced back through games like Lincity, Caesar, and Sim City, so too can FPS history be traced.

Cover image: Deus Ex (Source: Facebook)

Many movies have been turned into video games, like Alien, Star Wars, and Terminator, but video games are reversing the pattern with successful movies based on games like the Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, and Hitman franchises as well as Assassin's Creed. Video games are even influencing iGaming sites and the games they offer to gamers. For instance, Sloty Casino offers a slot game based on the long-running management sim, Theme Park, which can be played for free, much like the iOS release of the classic game. The title, called Theme Park: Tickets of Fortune uses visuals and sounds relevant to its theme, while the eight bonus games available bring the experience closer to classic strategy/simulation titles.

Let's take a look at some of the iconic games responsible for the growth and quality of the FPS games we enjoy today.

The legendary Duke Nukem. Source: Facebook

As with most video games, the earliest versions of FPS were revealed on old home computers with basic graphics, simple objectives, and little or no story. Maze War was created in 1974 and is considered one the earliest examples and, which, by today's standards, is just a slow-moving and confusing mess of straight lines. Some consider Nintendo's Duck Hunt worth mentioning in FPS history but it is different than typical games in that the environment is fixed and the gamer cannot move around.

The 70s and 80s represent the infancy and perhaps toddler stages of gaming technology and, by virtue of technological constraints, game design had to be less sophisticated. That would start to change in the 90s as improvements in computing power allowed designers more freedom to create more elaborate games with more detailed settings and plots.

Doom is perhaps the most pioneering FPS for home play. Released in 1993, the game was a huge leap in graphics for the time but it was also one of first FPS to offer network play. A full immersive feeling is important to gamers and Doom was definitely at the vanguard in providing the atmospherics that today's gamers demand and expect.

Three years later, the horror-themed Duke Nukem 3D and the 'sci-fi meets fantasy' Quake were released and fed the momentum for FPS that Doom created and the genre continued to grow with games both forgettable and mind-blowing. Later in the 90s, gamers would be treated to other outstanding franchise pilots with the revolutionary Half-Life, and the WWII set Medal of Honor.

At the turn of the millennium, gamers were introduced to Counter-Strike. A year later, Halo would have one of the biggest launches the industry had seen to date. After that, the Battlefield, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and Call of Duty series would begin. It's astonishing to see how much the FPS has evolved over the last 40+ years, providing gamers with a lot of excitement and anticipation of what will come over the next 40.

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Last Updated: Oct 03, 2017

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James, a lifelong gamer, is a freelance writer who occasionally contributes to Ten Ton Hammer.