A first person shooter, or FPS, is a video game where the 'camera' or the player's view is an exact replica of the in-game character's. The player is looking through the eyes of the game's hero. The title derives from this 'first person' perspective. Or even simpler: the screen simulates the view of the game's protagonist.
The gameplay tends to emphasize shooting anything that moves.
The original first person shooter was Colony (1987?). It lacked textured walls, floors, etc.
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 he 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 (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.
The appeal of the FPS lies in immersive frenetic blasting with a touch of verisimilitude, humour, puzzle-solving and claustrophobia.
Of historical note, First Person Shooters are a derrivative of early 3d games such as:
- [Battle Zone] - is this the earliest commercial first person shooter
- [Tail gunner] - fixed screen shooter with 3d aspects
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.
Top dogs in the FPS world are ID Software with their hugely played and raved Quake series and Epic's Unreal series. Such is the might and ability of these two developers, they actively licence out the game engines to third party for other game developments.
- Wolfenstein 3D and successors
- Doom series
- Duke Nukem 3D
- Rise of the Triad
- Half-life and modifications
- Heretic and Hexen series
- Quake series
- Unreal series
- Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force
- Thief series
- Deus Ex
- System Shock