Unraveling the History of First-Person Shooters: What Was the First Big FPS Game?

The world of video games has been a haven for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies for decades. One genre that has captured the hearts of gamers worldwide is the first-person shooter (FPS). But, have you ever wondered which game kick-started this beloved genre? Join us as we delve into the history of FPS games and unravel the mystery behind the first big FPS game. From the early days of Doom to the modern-day battlefields of Call of Duty, we’ll explore the evolution of FPS games and discover which game laid the foundation for this beloved genre. Get ready to embark on a journey through the history of first-person shooters and uncover the truth behind the first big FPS game.

Quick Answer:
The first big first-person shooter game was Doom, released in 1993 by id Software. Doom popularized the genre and set the standard for first-person shooters with its fast-paced gameplay, innovative graphics, and engaging storyline. It was followed by games like Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, which further developed the genre and established it as a staple of gaming culture.

The Evolution of First-Person Shooters

Early FPS Games

  • 1970s: Spasim and Maze War
    • Spasim: Created by Daniel G. Bobrow in 1973, Spasim was one of the earliest known first-person shooter games. Players could move around a virtual environment using a set of instructions displayed on the screen. The game used vector graphics to create a wireframe world that could be navigated in real-time. Although the game had limited gameplay mechanics, it laid the foundation for future first-person shooter games.
    • Maze War: Released in 1974, Maze War was a multiplayer arcade game developed by Steve Colley and Howard Palmer. The game allowed players to navigate a maze from a first-person perspective, using a joystick to move and shoot targets. Maze War featured a split-screen display, enabling players to see their own maze and their opponents’ mazes simultaneously. This game mechanic was revolutionary for its time and set the stage for future multiplayer games.
  • 1980s: MIDI Maze and Terminal
    • MIDI Maze: Developed by John A. Kibler and Mark P. Jones in 1983, MIDI Maze was a first-person shooter game that used MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology to create a multiplayer experience. The game featured a networked mode in which players could navigate mazes and shoot at each other. MIDI Maze demonstrated the potential for multiplayer gaming over a network, paving the way for future online games.
    • Terminal: Created by Jim Mackey in 1983, Terminal was a first-person shooter game that featured a text-based interface. The game allowed players to explore a maze-like environment, shooting targets and collecting power-ups. Terminal was one of the first games to incorporate text-based adventure game elements into a first-person shooter format, making it a pioneering title in the genre.

The Emergence of 3D FPS Games

The early 1990s saw a significant leap in the evolution of first-person shooters with the emergence of 3D FPS games. Prior to this, most FPS games were 2D, and gameplay was limited to a top-down or side-view perspective. The introduction of 3D FPS games revolutionized the genre, providing players with a more immersive and realistic gaming experience.

  • 1992: Doom

In 1992, id Software released Doom, a game that would go on to become one of the most iconic and influential FPS games of all time. Developed by John Carmack, the game’s engine was revolutionary for its time, utilizing ray casting to create a 3D environment that players could move through and interact with. The game’s success was largely due to its fast-paced gameplay, detailed environments, and the ability for players to engage in multiplayer deathmatch matches.

  • 1993: Wolfenstein 3D

The following year, in 1993, Wolfenstein 3D was released. Developed by id Software, the game was heavily influenced by the popular action game, Castle Wolfenstein. It featured a 3D environment and the player’s character moved in a 3D world for the first time. The game was a critical and commercial success, and its impact on the FPS genre was significant.

  • 1994: Quake

In 1994, id Software released Quake, a game that further pushed the boundaries of 3D FPS games. The game’s engine was significantly more advanced than that of Doom, utilizing a 3D game engine with light-sourcing, which allowed for more realistic lighting effects and a more immersive gaming experience. Quake also introduced multiplayer support, allowing players to engage in deathmatch and team-based matches over a network.

These three games are widely considered to be the first big 3D FPS games and played a significant role in shaping the FPS genre as we know it today.

The Birth of Modern FPS Games

Key takeaway: The first big 3D FPS game was **Doom**, released in 1993, which paved the way for the rise of online FPS games in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Games like Counter-Strike, Battlefield 1942, and Rainbow Six: Vegas helped to define the genre and paved the way for the modern online FPS games that we know and love today.

The Golden Age of FPS Games

The 1990s were a pivotal time for the first-person shooter (FPS) genre, as it evolved from a niche interest to a mainstream phenomenon. The golden age of FPS games was marked by a series of groundbreaking titles that redefined the genre and set the stage for its continued growth. This period was characterized by a number of significant releases, including three games that stood out from the rest: Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, and Team Fortress.

1996: Half-Life

Half-Life, developed by Valve Corporation, was released in 1996 and became an instant classic. The game was notable for its immersive storytelling, engaging gameplay, and pioneering use of voice acting. Half-Life followed the story of Gordon Freeman, a scientist who becomes a resistance fighter against an alien invasion. The game’s innovative use of scripted events and environmental storytelling made it a standout title, and its success helped to establish the FPS genre as a force to be reckoned with.

1997: Unreal Tournament

In 1997, Epic Games released Unreal Tournament, a game that revolutionized the FPS genre with its cutting-edge graphics and advanced gameplay mechanics. Unreal Tournament was designed as a multiplayer-focused game, and its fast-paced, competitive gameplay helped to popularize the use of LAN parties and online gaming. The game’s focus on team-based gameplay and its robust level editor allowed for endless customization and innovation, cementing its status as a pivotal title in the evolution of the FPS genre.

1998: Team Fortress

Team Fortress, developed by Valve Corporation, was released in 1998 as a part of the game Half-Life. The game featured a class-based, team-oriented gameplay style that emphasized strategy and cooperation. Team Fortress featured a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique abilities and weapons, which added depth and variety to the gameplay. The game’s success helped to popularize the concept of team-based gameplay in the FPS genre, and its influence can still be seen in modern multiplayer games.

Together, these three games marked the beginning of the golden age of FPS games, paving the way for the continued evolution and growth of the genre in the years to come.

The Rise of Online FPS Games

The first big FPS game that paved the way for the rise of online FPS games was Doom, which was released in 1993. However, it was not until the late 1990s that online FPS games started to gain popularity. Here are some of the key games that contributed to the rise of online FPS games:

1999: Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike was first released in 1999 as a mod for Half-Life. It was a team-based game where players could choose to be terrorists or counter-terrorists. The game quickly gained popularity due to its simple yet addictive gameplay, and it became one of the most popular online FPS games of the early 2000s.

2002: Battlefield 1942

Battlefield 1942 was a revolutionary game that introduced players to large-scale warfare in an online environment. The game allowed up to 64 players to engage in battle on massive maps, which included various vehicles and weapons from World War II. The game’s focus on teamwork and strategy made it a favorite among gamers, and it spawned several sequels and spin-offs.

2004: Rainbow Six: Vegas

Rainbow Six: Vegas was a tactical first-person shooter that emphasized teamwork and strategy. The game’s multiplayer mode allowed players to work together to complete objectives, such as planting bombs or rescuing hostages. The game’s realistic weapons and tactics made it a favorite among fans of tactical shooters, and it remains a popular game today.

In conclusion, the rise of online FPS games in the late 1990s and early 2000s was a crucial turning point in the history of first-person shooters. Games like Counter-Strike, Battlefield 1942, and Rainbow Six: Vegas helped to define the genre and paved the way for the modern online FPS games that we know and love today.

The Impact of FPS Games on Popular Culture

FPS Games and Gaming Communities

First-person shooters (FPS) have been a staple of the gaming industry for decades, and their impact on popular culture cannot be overstated. These games have not only shaped the landscape of the gaming industry but have also given rise to a thriving community of players, modders, and competitors.

The FPS Game Competitive Scene

The competitive scene for FPS games has been around since the early days of the genre. One of the earliest examples of an FPS tournament was the “Video Game International Pentathlon” held in 1984, which featured a game called “Space War.” Since then, FPS tournaments have grown in size and scope, with major events like the “ESL One” and “DreamHack” tournaments attracting millions of viewers and offering massive prizes.

The rise of online gaming has also led to the growth of esports, with many professional FPS players earning substantial salaries and endorsement deals. Some of the most popular FPS games for competitive play include “Counter-Strike,” “Call of Duty,” and “Overwatch.”

The FPS Game Modding Community

Another way that FPS games have impacted popular culture is through the modding community. Modding, or modifying a game’s code and assets, has been a part of the gaming industry since the early days of PC gaming. Many FPS games have a large and active modding community, with players creating custom maps, weapons, and game modes that add new dimensions to the gameplay.

One of the most famous examples of an FPS mod is “Team Fortress,” which started as a mod for “Half-Life” before becoming a standalone game. Other popular FPS mods include “Zombie Panic Source” and “Natural Selection,” which have both been played by thousands of players and have become beloved cult classics.

The modding community has also given rise to new FPS games, with many indie developers starting out by creating mods for existing games. Examples of FPS games that were originally mods include “Battlefield 1918” and “Insurgency,” both of which have gone on to become successful games in their own right.

Overall, the impact of FPS games on popular culture cannot be overstated. These games have created a thriving competitive scene, a massive modding community, and have given rise to a new generation of gamers and game developers. Whether you’re a fan of the competitive scene, the modding community, or just enjoy blasting away at virtual enemies, FPS games have something for everyone.

FPS Games and Society

First-person shooter (FPS) games have had a profound impact on popular culture. These games have become a cultural phenomenon, captivating audiences and shaping the way we think about entertainment.

The FPS Game as a Cultural Phenomenon

FPS games have been around since the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until the release of games like Doom and Quake that they really took off. These games were not just video games, but cultural events that brought people together. They were talked about in the media, played in arcades, and even influenced fashion trends.

The FPS Game and Its Influence on Entertainment

FPS games have had a significant impact on the entertainment industry as a whole. They have inspired countless imitators, spawned entire genres, and influenced other forms of media such as movies and television. The success of FPS games has also led to the development of new technologies, such as online gaming and virtual reality, which have changed the way we experience entertainment.

Overall, FPS games have had a profound impact on society, shaping the way we think about entertainment and influencing other aspects of culture.

The Future of FPS Games

Current Trends in FPS Games

Battle Royale Games

The Battle Royale genre has become increasingly popular in recent years, with games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds leading the charge. These games feature a large number of players dropped onto an island or map, where they must scavenge for weapons and resources while attempting to be the last person or team standing. The genre’s popularity has led to numerous copycats and spin-offs, but few have been able to replicate the success of the originals.

Hero-Based Games

Another trend in the FPS genre is the rise of hero-based games, which emphasize individual player abilities and hero abilities over traditional gunplay. Games like Overwatch and Valorant have gained massive followings by offering unique heroes with their own abilities and playstyles, which can be combined in a variety of ways to create diverse strategies and gameplay experiences. These games often require teamwork and coordination, making them a popular choice for competitive play.

Predictions for the Future of FPS Games

Virtual Reality and FPS Games

As technology continues to advance, virtual reality (VR) is becoming increasingly integrated into the world of first-person shooters. VR provides an immersive experience for players, allowing them to feel as though they are truly in the game world. Many experts predict that VR will become a major component of the future of FPS games, with more and more developers incorporating VR technology into their games.

The Continued Evolution of Online FPS Games

Online multiplayer has been a staple of the FPS genre since its inception, and this trend is only set to continue in the future. Developers are constantly looking for new ways to improve the online experience, whether it be through better matchmaking systems, more diverse game modes, or improved social features. As the internet continues to evolve, so too will online FPS games, with faster and more reliable connections allowing for smoother gameplay and more seamless multiplayer experiences.

The Future of Competitive FPS Gaming

Competitive FPS gaming has seen a massive surge in popularity in recent years, with events like the Call of Duty World League and the Overwatch League attracting millions of viewers. Many experts predict that competitive FPS gaming will only continue to grow in the future, with more and more developers putting resources into creating competitive scenes for their games. Additionally, the rise of streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube means that competitive FPS players will have even more opportunities to showcase their skills and connect with fans.


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

First-person shooter (FPS) games are video games in which the player sees the action through the eyes of the character they are controlling and uses weapons to shoot enemies. These games often involve fast-paced, action-packed gameplay and require quick reflexes and strategic thinking.

2. What is the first known FPS game?

The first known FPS game is called “Maze War,” which was created in 1973 by Steve Colley and was played on a mainframe computer at a college in Guilford, Connecticut. Players controlled characters that moved through a maze and shot enemies with weapons like rifles and pistols.

3. What was the first big FPS game?

The first big FPS game was “Doom,” which was released in 1993 by id Software. “Doom” was a hugely popular game that revolutionized the FPS genre and set the standard for many games that followed. It featured fast-paced, gory gameplay and immersive 3D graphics, which were rare at the time. “Doom” was also one of the first games to use networked multiplayer, allowing players to compete against each other over a local area network (LAN).

4. What made “Doom” such a popular game?

“Doom” was a popular game for several reasons. It featured fast-paced, intense gameplay that was very satisfying for players. The game’s graphics were also groundbreaking for their time, using 3D graphics to create a fully immersive world. Additionally, “Doom” was one of the first games to feature networked multiplayer, which allowed players to compete against each other in a more social setting.

5. Who created “Doom”?

“Doom” was created by id Software, a game development company founded by John Carmack, John Romero, and Tom Hall. The game was designed by Romero and Hall, with Romero taking on the role of game’s lead developer. “Doom” was a huge success for id Software and helped establish the company as one of the most influential in the video game industry.

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