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First-person shooter

In visual media[?], FPS is an abbreviation for frames per second. Generally, the higher the FPS, the higher the quality of a motion picture.

A first-person shooter (FPS), is an action video game where the player's on-screen view of the game world simulates that of the character. The term first-person shooter derives from the game's first person perspective, and from the fact that the gameplay tends to emphasize shooting.

The original FPS was the game Spasim[?] published in spring of 1974. It was a wire-frame 3D universe resembling to the 2D game Empire[?] (which became Netrek[?]). Spasim lacked even hidden lines but it was multiplayer over the world-wide PLATO network[?].

The first flat-polygon (hidden surface) game was the single-player Colony[?] (1987?). It lacked textured walls, floors, etc. Other FPS games of the flat-polygon era include Faceball 2000[?], and MIDI Maze (for Atari-ST), notable for its networked multiplayer feature (using the MIDI interface, of all things).

The first first person shooter with colored walls, floors was Wolfenstein 3D (1992) from id Software; it was shortly supplanted (1993) by the genre-defining DOOM, which introduced network multiplayer capabilities and thereby guaranteed the persistence of the FPS in gaming formats; the real thrill of these already-atmospheric games comes from blasting colleagues, strangers, spouses etc.

A large percentage of all new games nowadays are FPS, almost all playable over the Internet (on non-console platforms), giving rise to another enormous net subculture (usually called Clans, esp. re Quake, the definitive FPS).

Another characteristic of FPSs is the ability, either designed or hacked in, for players and enthusiasts to create their own levels (see level design) or indeed overall graphical appearances for distribution to other fans. This has again contributed to the longevity both of the genre and of individual games. Some games now include the software the designers used to make levels, such as Unreal.

Many FPS games are designed with a core game engine, separate from the graphics, game rules, and levels. This enables developers to license the core software to other games. This "plug-in" design allowed amateur programmers to add new elements to games, such as new game rules, characters or weapons. This is known as modding[?].

The appeal of the FPS lies in immersive frenetic blasting with a touch of verisimilitude, humour, puzzle-solving and claustrophobia.

Of historical note, among the early heirs of Spasim[?] were First Person Shooter 3D[?] games such as:

FPS are among the most demanding users of computing resources, persuading many users to upgrade computers that are still suitable for more mundane tasks. This is reflected in the use of such games as benchmarks to show the power of a computer, and in particular of a video card.

id Software is regarded as, if not the ultimate creator of the FPS genre, certainly the populariser and refiner of it, with the Quake series regarded by many as the definitive games of the genre. Epic's Unreal was also hugely popular and much-imitated. As well as developing games themselves, these two companies actively licence out the game engines to third party for other game developments.

Sub-genres include the stealth-based game (also known as a "first-person sneaker") and the tactical shooter, which use a similar viewpoint and mechanics, but respectively emphasise avoiding detection and team-based tactics. These are now regarded as being distinct from FPSs in computer games magazines. Thief exemplifies the stealth-based game; Rainbow 6, Ghost Recon, and other games based on novels by Tom Clancy are seminal tactical shooters.


Some people have blamed first person shooters for certain spree killings, particularly using sniper rifles. For example, there was much speculation in the UK media that the Beltway sniper attacks were inspired by first-person shooters and games like Grand Theft Auto that have first-person shooter elements.

List of first-person shooters

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