Uncovering the Origins of First-Person Shooters: Who is the Father of FPS Games?

First-person shooters (FPS) have been a staple of the gaming industry for decades, with titles like Doom, Quake, and Call of Duty dominating the market. But who is the father of FPS games? Who first brought this genre to life, sparking a revolution in gaming that would capture the hearts and minds of millions? In this article, we’ll explore the origins of FPS games, and uncover the story of the man who first brought this iconic genre to life. Join us as we dive into the world of first-person shooters, and discover the true father of FPS games.

Quick Answer:
The origins of first-person shooter (FPS) games can be traced back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the development of computer-based graphical environments that allowed players to view their surroundings from a first-person perspective. However, it was not until the release of the game “Doom” in 1993 that the FPS genre truly took off. “Doom” was developed by id Software, a company founded by game designer John Carmack, who is often credited as the “father of FPS games.” Carmack’s innovative use of 3D graphics and fast-paced gameplay revolutionized the gaming industry and inspired countless imitators. Today, FPS games remain one of the most popular genres in gaming, with a devoted fan base and numerous titles released each year.

The Evolution of First-Person Shooters

Early Pioneers

The first-person shooter genre has come a long way since its inception in the early 1990s. It was during this time that several pioneering games were released, laying the foundation for what would become one of the most popular and enduring genres in gaming history.

One of the earliest examples of a first-person shooter was Wolfenstein 3D, which was released in 1992 by id Software. This game was a landmark in gaming history, as it was one of the first games to use 3D graphics, giving players a sense of immersion and allowing them to move around in a fully realized 3D environment.

Another key game in the evolution of first-person shooters was Doom, which was also developed by id Software and released in 1993. This game was a huge success, and it set the standard for the genre in terms of gameplay, graphics, and sound. Doom was known for its fast-paced, action-packed gameplay, and it featured a variety of weapons and enemies that players had to defeat in order to progress through the game.

Duke Nukem was another early first-person shooter that was released in 1991. This game was notable for its use of 3D graphics and its focus on humor and satire. Duke Nukem was a parody of the typical action hero, and the game was filled with irreverent humor and pop culture references.

These early pioneers of the first-person shooter genre laid the groundwork for what would become a hugely popular and influential genre in gaming. They introduced new gameplay mechanics, graphics, and sound that would become standard features in later games, and they set the stage for the many innovations and advancements that would follow in the years to come.

Technological Advancements


Quake, developed by id Software in 1996, was a groundbreaking game that revolutionized the first-person shooter genre. The game’s innovative engine, known as the QuakeWorld, introduced new technologies such as raycasting and true 3D models, which greatly enhanced the visuals and gameplay of the title. The game’s multiplayer mode was also highly influential, introducing features such as deathmatch and team-based gameplay, which would become staples of the genre.


In 1998, Valve Corporation released Half-Life, a game that not only redefined the first-person shooter genre but also set the standard for storytelling and character development in video games. The game’s advanced scripting and physics systems allowed for more dynamic and interactive environments, and its iconic protagonist, Gordon Freeman, became a symbol of the genre. Half-Life also introduced the concept of “source” technology, which would later be used to power the game’s sequels and other popular games.

Unreal Tournament

In 1999, Epic Games released Unreal Tournament, a game that would go on to become one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time. The game’s graphics and gameplay were state-of-the-art for the time, featuring advanced lighting and shadow effects, realistic weapon behavior, and highly customizable game modes. The game’s focus on competitive multiplayer also helped to popularize the esports movement, which has since become a major part of the gaming industry.

Through these technological advancements, the first-person shooter genre continued to evolve and expand, leading to the creation of numerous classic titles and laying the groundwork for future innovations.

The Impact of FPS Games on Gaming Culture

Key takeaway: The first-person shooter (FPS) genre has evolved significantly since its inception in the early 1990s. Early pioneers such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Duke Nukem laid the groundwork for the genre’s technological advancements, which have included innovations in graphics, gameplay, and multiplayer modes. The FPS genre has also had a significant impact on gaming culture, influencing everything from popular culture to social change. The debate over the “Father of FPS Games” involves several contenders, including Id Software, Valve Corporation, and Epic Games, each of which has made significant contributions to the genre.

The Rise of Competitive Gaming

The emergence of first-person shooters has played a significant role in the growth of competitive gaming. The increasing popularity of FPS games has led to the development of professional gaming leagues, the rise of esports, and the emergence of sponsorships and endorsements for players.


Esports, short for electronic sports, refers to competitive video gaming, including first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, fighting games, and other genres. Esports tournaments are organized and played both online and offline, with prize pools reaching millions of dollars. Professional players compete in these tournaments, with some earning substantial salaries and endorsement deals.

Professional gaming leagues

The growth of esports has led to the establishment of professional gaming leagues, such as the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS), the Overwatch League, and the Call of Duty World League (CODWL). These leagues offer a structured environment for professional players to compete against each other, with organized schedules, regular seasons, and playoffs.

Sponsorships and endorsements

As the popularity of esports and competitive gaming continues to rise, so too does the potential for sponsorships and endorsement deals. Professional players can secure lucrative contracts with gaming companies, tech firms, and other brands looking to reach a younger, tech-savvy audience. These deals can include product placements, advertising campaigns, and even merchandise lines.

Overall, the rise of competitive gaming has been a significant factor in the growth of FPS games and the gaming industry as a whole. The development of professional leagues, the rise of esports, and the potential for sponsorships and endorsements have all contributed to the popularity and success of first-person shooters.

The FPS Game as a Cultural Phenomenon

  • Influence on popular culture
    • FPS games have had a significant impact on popular culture, influencing everything from movies to music videos. The fast-paced, action-packed gameplay of FPS games has made them a popular choice for Hollywood directors looking to add a sense of excitement to their films. In addition, many music videos have been inspired by the aesthetics and gameplay of FPS games, featuring everything from futuristic weapons to cyberpunk environments.
    • The influence of FPS games on popular culture can also be seen in the rise of eSports. Many FPS games, such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike, have become popular competitive games, with professional players and teams competing in tournaments and earning large prizes. This has helped to raise the profile of gaming as a legitimate sport, and has inspired new generations of gamers to take up competitive gaming as a career.
  • Social impact
    • FPS games have also had a significant social impact, bringing people together from all over the world to play and compete against each other. Online multiplayer games have allowed players to connect with others who share their interests, creating vibrant communities and fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.
    • In addition, FPS games have been used as a tool for social change, with many games addressing serious issues such as war, violence, and political oppression. For example, the game “This War of Mine” puts players in the shoes of civilians caught in a warzone, forcing them to make difficult choices in order to survive. This type of game can help to raise awareness of important social issues and promote empathy and understanding.
  • Player communities
    • FPS games have also created a thriving player community, with fans and players sharing their passion for the games through forums, social media, and online communities. Many players form bonds with each other through their shared love of FPS games, creating tight-knit communities that provide support and encouragement.
    • These communities have also given rise to professional gaming teams and clans, with players joining forces to compete against other teams in tournaments and online matches. This has created a sense of rivalry and competition that has helped to drive the growth and popularity of FPS games.

In conclusion, the impact of FPS games on gaming culture has been profound, influencing everything from popular culture to social change. By creating vibrant player communities and fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, FPS games have helped to shape the way we play and connect with each other, creating a unique and exciting gaming experience that continues to evolve and grow.

The Debate Over the “Father of FPS Games”

Contenders for the Title

When it comes to the origins of first-person shooters, there are several contenders for the title of “Father of FPS Games.” Three of the most prominent are Id Software, Valve Corporation, and Epic Games.

Id Software

Id Software, founded by John Carmack and Jim Hubbell in 1991, is best known for creating the classic game Doom. Doom was one of the first successful first-person shooters and popularized the genre. It featured fast-paced gameplay, intense action, and innovative graphics that set the standard for future FPS games. Id Software went on to create other iconic FPS games such as Quake and Doom II, further cementing their place in the industry.

Valve Corporation

Valve Corporation, founded by Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington in 1996, is the creator of the critically acclaimed game Half-Life. Half-Life was released in 1998 and introduced new gameplay mechanics such as the gravity gun, which allowed players to manipulate the environment in creative ways. The game’s success led to the development of two sequels, Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 3, which continued to push the boundaries of the FPS genre.

Epic Games

Epic Games, founded by Tim Sweeney in 1991, is best known for creating the Unreal series of games. The first Unreal game was released in 1998 and featured cutting-edge graphics and advanced gameplay mechanics. The series has since evolved with the release of Unreal Tournament, Unreal Championship, and Unreal Engine, which is now used by many developers to create FPS games.

In conclusion, each of these companies has made significant contributions to the FPS genre and can be considered contenders for the title of “Father of FPS Games.”

Criteria for Determining the Father of FPS Games

When determining the “Father of FPS Games,” several criteria must be considered. These criteria include innovation, impact on the genre, and contributions to gaming culture.

  • Innovation
    The first criterion for determining the Father of FPS Games is innovation. This involves the introduction of new ideas, mechanics, or technologies that significantly impact the genre. Innovation can come in various forms, such as unique gameplay mechanics, groundbreaking graphics, or innovative storytelling techniques. The Father of FPS Games should be someone who has introduced significant innovations that have shaped the genre as we know it today.
  • Impact on the genre
    The second criterion for determining the Father of FPS Games is the impact on the genre. This involves assessing the influence of a particular game or developer on the development of the FPS genre. The Father of FPS Games should be someone whose work has had a lasting impact on the genre, inspiring future developers and shaping the direction of the genre.
  • Contributions to gaming culture
    The third criterion for determining the Father of FPS Games is contributions to gaming culture. This involves assessing the cultural significance of a particular game or developer. The Father of FPS Games should be someone whose work has had a profound impact on gaming culture, influencing the way people think about video games and their place in society.

Overall, determining the Father of FPS Games requires a comprehensive evaluation of a developer’s or game’s innovation, impact on the genre, and contributions to gaming culture. By considering these criteria, we can gain a better understanding of the individuals who have shaped the FPS genre into what it is today.

The Contenders: Id Software

Wolfenstein 3D

The Game That Started It All

  • A Breakthrough in Gaming Technology
    Wolfenstein 3D, released in 1992, was a revolutionary game that marked the beginning of the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. Developed by Id Software, the game introduced gamers to a new level of immersion and interactivity, forever changing the face of video games.

  • Innovations in Gameplay
    One of the most significant contributions of Wolfenstein 3D was its innovative gameplay mechanics. For the first time, players could experience a game from a first-person perspective, controlling the actions of their character in real-time. This created a more immersive and engaging gaming experience, allowing players to feel as though they were truly in the game world.

  • Introduction of 3D Graphics
    Wolfenstein 3D also boasted impressive 3D graphics, which were a significant improvement over previous games. This added a new dimension to the gaming experience, making it feel more lifelike and realistic. The game’s detailed environments and character models helped to create a more immersive world for players to explore.

  • Inspiring a New Genre
    The success of Wolfenstein 3D inspired a whole new genre of games, with many developers creating their own FPS titles. The game’s innovative gameplay mechanics and impressive graphics set the standard for the FPS genre, making it one of the most influential games of all time.

Overall, Wolfenstein 3D was a groundbreaking game that marked the beginning of the FPS genre. Its innovative gameplay mechanics and impressive graphics set the standard for future games, inspiring a new generation of gamers and developers alike.


  • Innovations in level design
    • Verticality: Introducing the concept of up and down movement in levels, adding a new dimension to gameplay
    • Secret areas: Encouraging exploration and rewarding players with unique weapons, power-ups, and hidden treasures
    • Puzzles: Integrating challenges that require problem-solving skills, such as finding hidden switches or unlocking doors with keys
  • Establishment of FPS as a genre
    • Success of Doom: Spawning a new era of gaming and becoming a cultural phenomenon
    • Influence on later games: Establishing a formula that would be followed by numerous FPS titles, including those developed by Id Software themselves
    • Pioneering features: Introducing concepts such as health and armor pickups, a wide array of weapons, and a focus on fast-paced, visceral combat


  • Revolutionizing the Gaming Industry
    • Id Software’s groundbreaking game
    • Innovative 3D graphics and gameplay
    • Captivating storyline and characters
  • Technological Advancements
    • Implementation of 3D graphics engine
    • Realistic physics and lighting effects
    • Multiplayer mode for intense competition
  • Influence on Multiplayer FPS Games
    • Popularization of deathmatch mode
    • Establishment of esports culture
    • Inspiration for numerous sequels and spin-offs

The Contenders: Valve Corporation


Half-Life, developed by Valve Corporation, was released in 1998 and has since become a benchmark for first-person shooter games. This game was unique in its approach to storytelling, integration of puzzles, and combat mechanics.

Innovations in storytelling

Half-Life was groundbreaking in its approach to storytelling in first-person shooter games. Unlike other games of its time, Half-Life featured a strong narrative that followed the protagonist, Gordon Freeman, as he fought against aliens to save humanity. The game’s story was delivered through scripted events, cutscenes, and in-game characters, providing a more immersive experience for players.

Additionally, Half-Life’s story was non-linear, allowing players to make choices that affected the outcome of the game. This was a significant departure from the traditional linear gameplay of other first-person shooters at the time.

Integration of puzzles and combat

Another innovation that set Half-Life apart from other first-person shooters was the integration of puzzles and combat. Throughout the game, players were required to solve puzzles to progress, which often involved using the environment and objects in the game world to overcome obstacles.

These puzzles were seamlessly integrated into the gameplay, creating a more dynamic and engaging experience for players. Combat in Half-Life was also more sophisticated than in other games of its time, with enemies reacting realistically to the player’s actions and a focus on using the environment to gain an advantage in combat.

Overall, Half-Life was a revolutionary game that introduced many new elements to the first-person shooter genre, making it a landmark title in the history of gaming.

Team Fortress

Team Fortress is a critically acclaimed and highly influential first-person shooter game developed by Valve Corporation. It was first released in 1996 as a mod for the game Quake, and later became a standalone game in 1998.

One of the key innovations of Team Fortress was its implementation of class-based gameplay. Players could choose to play as one of several classes, each with their own unique abilities and weapons. This allowed for a greater degree of strategic depth and player interaction than was present in many other first-person shooters of the time.

In addition to its innovations in gameplay, Team Fortress also made significant contributions to the world of competitive gaming. The game’s popularity led to the formation of numerous professional gaming leagues and tournaments, and it remains a popular esport to this day.

Overall, Team Fortress was a pioneering game that helped to shape the first-person shooter genre as we know it today. Its influence can still be felt in many modern games, and it remains a beloved classic among gamers worldwide.

Left 4 Dead

  • Innovations in cooperative gameplay
    • Valve Corporation’s Left 4 Dead was a revolutionary game that introduced innovative features to the first-person shooter genre. One of the most significant innovations was the emphasis on cooperative gameplay.
    • In Left 4 Dead, players had to work together as a team to survive against hordes of zombies. This new style of gameplay added a whole new dimension to the first-person shooter genre, as players were no longer simply fighting against other players, but were also working together to survive.
    • The emphasis on cooperative gameplay was not only a new feature in the first-person shooter genre, but it also had a significant social impact. The game encouraged players to work together, to communicate, and to rely on each other, promoting a sense of community and teamwork.
    • This innovation in cooperative gameplay has since been replicated in many other games, and has become a staple of the first-person shooter genre. However, Left 4 Dead was the first game to introduce this concept, and it remains one of the most iconic examples of cooperative gameplay in the genre.

The Contenders: Epic Games

Unreal Tournament

Technological advancements

Unreal Tournament, developed by Epic Games, was first released in 1999 and quickly became a popular first-person shooter game. One of the most significant contributions of Unreal Tournament was its technological advancements. The game was built using the Unreal Engine, which was a cutting-edge game engine at the time. The engine was designed to be highly customizable, allowing developers to create realistic environments and character models. The engine also supported advanced lighting and particle effects, which greatly enhanced the overall visual experience of the game.

In addition to its visual advancements, Unreal Tournament also introduced several new gameplay mechanics that would become staples of the first-person shooter genre. For example, the game featured a “movement system” that allowed players to jump, slide, and mantle over obstacles, providing a greater sense of freedom and mobility. The game also introduced a “scoreboard” system that tracked player statistics and rankings, adding a competitive element to the game.

Impact on competitive gaming

Unreal Tournament was designed with competitive gaming in mind, and it quickly became a staple of the esports scene. The game’s fast-paced gameplay and support for tournaments and ladders made it a popular choice for professional gaming events. In fact, Unreal Tournament was one of the first games to be included in the Electronic Sports World Cup, a prestigious esports tournament that has been held annually since 1992.

The game’s popularity in the esports scene led to the development of several professional gaming leagues, including the Cyberathlete Professional League and the World Cyber Games. These leagues helped to further legitimize competitive gaming as a sport, and they provided a platform for professional gamers to showcase their skills and earn money.

Overall, Unreal Tournament’s impact on the first-person shooter genre and the competitive gaming scene cannot be overstated. The game’s technological advancements and innovative gameplay mechanics helped to define the genre and set the standard for future games. Its popularity in the esports scene also helped to establish competitive gaming as a legitimate sport, paving the way for the growth and popularity of esports in the modern era.

Gears of War

Gears of War, developed by Epic Games, is a first-person shooter game that was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 console. The game introduced several innovations in cover-based gameplay, which have since become a staple of the genre.

Innovations in cover-based gameplay

Gears of War revolutionized the first-person shooter genre by introducing a cover system that allowed players to take cover behind objects in the environment, such as walls, crates, and barrels. This added a new layer of strategy to the game, as players had to carefully manage their positioning and use of cover in order to avoid enemy fire and line up shots of their own.

The cover system in Gears of War was also designed to be intuitive and easy to use, with players able to simply press a button to take cover behind an object. This made it accessible to players of all skill levels, while still allowing for advanced tactics for more experienced players.

Influence on third-person shooters

In addition to its impact on first-person shooters, Gears of War also had a significant influence on third-person shooters. The game’s cover system and emphasis on team-based gameplay inspired a wave of similar games, such as Uncharted and Ghosts of Tsushima, that blended third-person perspective with cover-based mechanics.

The success of Gears of War also helped to establish the Xbox 360 as a major player in the console gaming market, and paved the way for other successful first-person shooters on the platform, such as Halo and Call of Duty.

Overall, Gears of War was a landmark game in the first-person shooter genre, and its innovations in cover-based gameplay have had a lasting impact on the industry.


  • Impact on gaming culture
    • Fortnite’s rise to popularity
      • Growth in player base
      • Increased interest in battle royale genre
    • Collaborations and crossovers
      • Celebrity and brand partnerships
      • Limited-time events and game modes
  • Influence on battle royale genre
    • Introduction of building mechanics
      • Unique gameplay element
      • Increased strategic depth
    • Emphasis on live events and streaming
      • Weekly challenges and rewards
      • High-profile tournaments and competitions
    • Accessibility and approachability
      • Free-to-play model
      • Wide range of platforms and devices

Since its release in 2017, Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm, quickly becoming one of the most popular and influential games in recent years. Its impact on gaming culture is undeniable, as it has attracted a massive player base and inspired countless other games to adopt similar battle royale gameplay mechanics.

One of the key factors behind Fortnite’s success is its unique approach to gameplay, which introduced building mechanics that allow players to construct structures and defenses during matches. This added strategic depth to the genre, encouraging players to think creatively and adapt their strategies in real-time.

In addition to its innovative gameplay, Fortnite has also made a significant impact on the battle royale genre through its emphasis on live events and streaming. Weekly challenges and rewards, as well as high-profile tournaments and competitions, have kept players engaged and invested in the game, while also providing opportunities for them to showcase their skills and connect with other players.

Another aspect of Fortnite’s success is its accessibility and approachability, as it offers a free-to-play model and is available on a wide range of platforms and devices. This has made it easy for anyone to jump into the game and experience the action, regardless of their budget or technical capabilities.

Overall, Fortnite’s impact on the gaming industry has been immense, and its influence on the battle royale genre is undeniable. Its innovative gameplay, live events, and accessibility have all contributed to its popularity, and it will likely continue to shape the future of gaming for years to come.


1. What is a first-person shooter (FPS) game?

A first-person shooter (FPS) game is a type of video game in which the player sees the game world through the eyes of the character they are controlling and interacts with it by shooting weapons or using other combat-related abilities. FPS games are known for their fast-paced gameplay and realistic graphics, and are popular among gamers worldwide.

2. What is the history of FPS games?

The history of FPS games can be traced back to the early 1990s, with the release of games such as Doom, Quake, and Half-Life. These games popularized the FPS genre and set the stage for future FPS games. Over the years, the FPS genre has evolved and expanded, with new games and technologies constantly being developed.

3. Who is considered the father of FPS games?

The title of “father of FPS games” is often attributed to Id Software co-founder John Carmack, who is credited with creating the first true FPS game, Doom, in 1993. Carmack’s game revolutionized the gaming industry and paved the way for future FPS games. However, there are others who have also contributed significantly to the development of the FPS genre, including game designers and developers such as Eugene Jarvis, the creator of the game Robotron: 2084, and game engine developer John Romero.

4. What are some popular FPS games?

There are many popular FPS games, including classic games such as Doom, Quake, and Half-Life, as well as more recent games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Overwatch. These games are played by millions of people around the world and are considered some of the most popular and influential games in the gaming industry.

5. What is the future of FPS games?

The future of FPS games is likely to include new technologies and innovations, as well as continued evolution of the genre. With the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, FPS games may become even more immersive and realistic in the future. Additionally, advances in game engine technology and cloud gaming may lead to new ways of playing and experiencing FPS games. Overall, the FPS genre is likely to continue to be a major force in the gaming industry for years to come.

FPS Games Explained For Parents #Shorts

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