Escape From Mount Stupid - First-Person Shooters

Danny goes on a journey into first-person shooters' past, and looks towards their uncertain future.

I think that Modern Warfare 3 was the final straw for me. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a fantastic game, but I have little desire to play little clones of it every year. I'm not saying these are bad games, but their lack of imagination is so deeply frustrating that I feel myself getting angry at my television with each additional turret sequence and quick-time door breach.

I've thought about this a lot over the past few years. We all look back at our gaming youth with rose-tinted glasses, but were games really better back then? While I remember a lot of complaining about the amount of World War 2 games, I also remember the incredible variety and creativity of a genre coming of age.

Without getting into too much detail on any one game, this is a brief history of the most consistently popular genre in video gaming--one that has provided us with some of the best games ever created. We've already covered Deus Ex, Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Halo, Call of Duty and Battlefield on previous episodes of EFMS, but if you've got an old favourite that you think we should cover next season, please stick it in the comments.

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Written By

Long time community member. Creator of video nonsense. Apologies in advance.dannyodwyer.tumblr.com@dannyodwyer

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Gameplayer-1
Gameplayer-1

My Favourites

Unreal Tournament and Half Life 2 to many shooters are just clones now.


rangeraa
rangeraa

MoH:AA is quite possibly the best fps ever.  Also you didn't mention Vietcong (the first one)...Fantastic game.

MarcJL31
MarcJL31

Man I miss some of these classic games. I remember back in school, you were either a Counter Strike or Delta Force person. And we would get into arguments on who was better.

DoctorWho88
DoctorWho88

MoH, the king of CoD clones deserves some time in the spotlight as well!

 

 

SalahDinThe2nD
SalahDinThe2nD

Even you Denny O,Dwyer you make fun of us? if the infinity  ward have chosen      to remove the holy Verses from the Quran it their choise, is it for you to accept

rsj2
rsj2

The shooter genre is a victim of CoD's success.  MW2 swept all before it, and EA's next move was to reboot Medal of Honor and Battlefield as realistic modern war games with hugely-hyped multiplayer modes.  Three years after MW2's November 2009 release and all three series are still being flogged.  Counting MW2, Black Ops, MW3, Black Ops 2, MoH, BF3 and MoH Warfighter, that's seven obscenely over-promoted games in three years with tragically little to choose between them in terms of setting.

 

This makes no sense when many of Danny's great list of classic shooters had sci-fi settings - such as Jedi Knight, Unreal, Quake, Red Faction and, obviously, Halo.  That's proof that FPSs can be brilliant - are at their best, really - in settings other than the real world.  In design terms the trend of CoD clones is inexplicable, but in financial terms it's EA trying to ape CoD's success, with pretty repellent obviousness.  If Warfighter and Black Ops 2 flop this holiday season - and I hope they do - then maybe the big publishers will reward something at which the games industry used to be great - creativity.  

 

Personally, the best multiplayer experience I can remember was Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast on PC.  Force powers and lightsabers plus the Quake 3 engine and inventive game modes kept me logging in nightly for months.  The mods were awesome too.  More like that!

 

DBZ19
DBZ19

Timesplitters 2 awesome game

wildchair
wildchair

Thanks Danny for the retrospective of the FPS, you brought back some great memories.

 

I have to disagree, though, with your assertion that the console killed the FPS. IMO, the console added something that was sorely needed, standardization. I was a PC gamer since the late 80's and played the majority of the games on your list, Unreal Tournament is still one of my favs of all time. Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, SoF, Counter-Strike, Half-life, Thief, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six,  I've played them all.  Hoewever, it got old having to buy a new video card or system upgrade everytime a new game came out and the console has solved that issue. I switched to the Xbox in the early 2000's and have never looked back.

 

I think you did hit the real issue of what's killing FPS, the lack of innovation. In the "old days" you had a huge variety of games, environments and weapons. You could play in space with a Redeemer, or a Ripper, On far away planets with a Lightsaber and Force Powers, with modern or experimental military weapons in foreign lands, in a secret government science facility with a crowbar, etc. Now a days everything is the same, I play with a M-4 in COD, MoH, Battlefield etc and about the only thing that's different is the graphic look and maybe the button layout (Yawn). The gameplay and environments are all pretty much the same. I think that is a function of game developers and not the rise of consoles. I believe that's one of the reasons BioShock was so popular, because it offered totally unique environments, weapons, enemies and a great story. The same could be said for Oblivion/Skyrim and Assassin's Creed. It's about the first person experience. Most developers have become risk averse and are just developing what they think will sell over trying something new. Seems like most developers these days think being innovative is trying to figure out how many F-bombs they can add to make the game "edgy" or how many cutscenes to have to make the game like a certain movie.

 

I agree the old model of being able to mod the games and have access to free maps is a superior model to the pay for DLC model or even what the last CoD game did with their premium "Elite" monthly service. Also the single player campaign seems to be suffering or ignored these days for thrown together online play.

kierwinyoung
kierwinyoung

Team Fortress, Halo, Counter-Strike, 007 Golden eye, CoD, SWAT 4 those games are my faves. and Danny don't worry Consoles didn't ruin FPS gaming, They just uh..... you know diversity, but i know the feeling about what you feel. It's good to have this episode, the History of FPS. I can really correct my non-real-gamer friends about FPS, all they know today is MMO RPGs, tell them that Wolfenstein 3D is one of the first FPS games and they're all "uh?" They only know about Crossfire and Special Force MMO RPG(very popular in the Philippines) they'll be disgusted if you mention Counter-Strike to them, but They don't know that all the games they're playing came from Counter-Strike, and I know that Counter-Strike came from Quake, Doom and so many other old FPS games. I gotta say gamers here in Philippines sucks. I'm only lucky i got opened to this kind of Gaming.

CrazyEd2k
CrazyEd2k

Unreal Tournament is still the greatest experience Ive ever had on PC or any platform for that matter. Amazing maps, amazing gameplay, amazing announcer, free maps, free mods, FREE statistics online (and more in depth than the BS elite COD stuff they try to get you to PAY for these days). If only this new generation knew what it was like to be a PC gamer in those days for FPS they would puke at what were experiencing today.

 

fsocristao
fsocristao

Careful Danny,  you're getting fat.

Vince21C
Vince21C

Do you have facebook Danny?

CrillanK
CrillanK

Borderlands 1 and 2 is all I have to say.

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

@lampindoo0d Holy C****t! I love this simulator just from seeing it!

Now on to imagine what they will do to simulate getting hit by a rocket, impaled by a sword, burnt by a torch, poisonned and whatnuts...

I think I would think more carefully about treading in Dark Souls if I had these threats around!

Thanks so much for sharing the link!

I hope someone gets to build an arcade-like business around this! Let me know which place in the world has this!

pelvist
pelvist

Im not getting sick of shooters, but I am getting sick of console shooters. Thankfully we still have games like Hard Reset, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Tribes Ascend, Shootmania and Planetside 2 to keep the genre going after console centric game designers have finished dumbing down all of our other favorite franchises for people who only seem to care when the next cheesy rehash of HALO or COD will be released.

rotkiv
rotkiv

Yea... I miss the days before COD...

LJMStrike
LJMStrike

I’m looking forward to playing "Medal of COD Warfighter Opps 20 (Master Chief Premium Edition)"  ;-)

 

 

 

Joking aside though there are good first person shooters out  there, but I much prefer the ones where actual gameplay is involved and you don’t feel like you are on a linear rail going from point A to point B. At the moment the industry seems to be saturated with these kinds games.  

 

TheJamin
TheJamin

Hall of the giants on the original UT was so good... wish they brought that level back to ut3...

luketheduke324
luketheduke324

PC gaming will never die, just look at the alienware x51, i have one, size of an xbox, 10x the power :D play all my games on there

ezfryk
ezfryk

Been a huge Medal of Honor series fan ever since the first Medal of Honor installment on PS, super fun game. Looking forward to pick up my MoH: Warfighter copy in 6 days. Would actually love to see some videos from the history of MoH, since their first game up to Warfighter. Enjoy BF3 very much too.

pal_080
pal_080

Oh man I can remember playing Hexen on an old PC back in the day, fun game!  As far as getting a tad sick of FPS's I'm definitely getting there (and I'm certainly not playing Dishonored for the shooting!).  The last FPS games I've really been into were BF3 and Rainbows Six: Vegas, and the newer Fallout games, though arguably they are not really shooters.  I prefer more intricate games these days like strategy games (Total War series, Company of Heroes, etc) or third person adventures (RDR, Batman: AA/AC, Hitman, L.A. Noire and the like) or good ole RPG's (The Witcher 1/2, GW2, Elder Scrolls though the new ones aren't all that RPG-ish).

GamerBaboo
GamerBaboo

Been playing PC games since the late 80's, I LOVE shooters, but a good game is a good game. Really loved the original splinter cell, and Dishonored has it's own charm too. Got the TC-Ghost Recon:FS for Consoles but somehow don't really like console controllers. Fav FPS, BF3.

hastati4
hastati4

I think I might go dig up UT2004 and reinstall it. This video make me so freakin' nostalgic.

TheJamin
TheJamin

facing worlds on ut... so awesome. then add the game of the year edition mods with the smiley faced bombs and turrets!? serious fun on a LAN.

TheJamin
TheJamin

This guy know's his pc game history. well done! keep the video's coming.

Takeno456
Takeno456

After all these years I can truly say goldeneye 64 is still my favourite shooter.

Salinger
Salinger

I don't know if I should feel proud that I've played almost all those games, but I do.  Borderlands 1-2 are excellent examples of why shooters are not going away.  Unreal Tournament 1 and 2 were so good I can forgive them their many failed sequels.

jagdedge124
jagdedge124

I just really want to congratulate Gamespot in really bringing out issues i quite frankly been saying for years, and what's on many gamers minds. I think they GET IT, and that's a good thing. I personally feel that Modern War Shooters have had it, and we have to go to something different.

 

It's true, the WW2 Genre at the time (past generation consoles) may have flooded the Market, but they were just much better quality games. We need to go back to QUALITY, and although this Black Craps 2 is going to something different as far as a setting, it's the SAME game as well as this BF Genre.

 

The FPS Market should have really stuck with the Cold War Vietnam Era for awhile, and maybe MOH (given that game looks atrocious, and the past game an utter disappointment) should have went back to it's WW2 OSS Campaign based Game, given the Market is FLOODED with this Modern War Fatigue.

 

In short, if i have to shoot another Russian i swear i'm going to puke.

secracium
secracium

yeah, i've shot maybe twenty things in Dishonored

Xerialstraz
Xerialstraz

Love love love Quake 3 arena and unreal tournament .. they were fun because they were simple to play and easy tog et in to.. its not the same nowerdays buti guess ppl will always enjoy shooting stuff.

Gen_Warbuff
Gen_Warbuff

I can't say I'm done with FPS, as I still spend a ton of time with BF3, and might give the new MoH a try, but my interest is fading. It's a shame that a game like Mirrors Edge did not attract more attention, it was my sleeper GOTY.

hastati4
hastati4

The number of hours I played Borderlands 2 with my friend last night says I'm not tired of shooting. 

 

But maybe that's because it isn't a generic modern military setting. Those I am getting tired of. EA's kidding themselves if they think they can get me to take even a second glance at the next Medal of Honor. I really don't care how well the game is done, I just can't take any more military shooters. 

 

Also, I flipped out a little when I saw that Unreal Tournament map on the front page. Loved that map to death.

dw9872
dw9872

 @DoctorWho88 It's funny, CoD was originally a MoH clone (back when both series were WWII games), and now it's the other way around.

MarcJL31
MarcJL31

 @rsj2 I think it was COD4, not MW2. I mean MW2 was so big because of how great and a fresh change COD4 was. I mean every game in the series after followed that formula. Even WaW which basically was COD4 back in WW2. There is the consensus that COD4 is one of the best and most well-rated FPSes, especially in the modern era. COD keeps breaking records but if you look at the reviews from consumers, it doesn't match that of COD4. And obviously so because it was such a unique experience when it came out.

 

And in EA's defense, Battlefield was already modern with BF2. Bad Company was their experiment to see if BF would work on consoles (which it did with some minor problems), and i think BFBC2 showed how great that franchise would work. Personally, I had more fun playing Bad Company 2 than I do 3. And rather have a Bad Company 3 than BF4.

 

And sadly, I do not thing Black  Ops 2 will flop. It seems that for every person who moves on past COD waiting for something fresh, 5 others jump on the bandwagon.

ifdarkone
ifdarkone

 @wildchair Well said, diversity is what we lack in today FPS, but there are still a few developers seeing that - I am wondering why theres no mention of Deus Ex, one of the greatest FPS ever concieved, and of course Its great third installment - Humar Revolution. And of course there are a few developers trying to conquer the boring stereotype of modern shooter, like Bulletstorm, Dishonored, upcoming Bioshock Infinite or Syndicate, Darkness series, Singularity and a few more. Oh, but I really missed those good old days of Unreal, Deus Ex, Jedi Outcast or maybe even Strife and Old Duke and Shadow Warrior when exploring those rich world was really exciting... 

CaesarIIII
CaesarIIII

 @1funnygame 

I know is lots of guys here DYING to say this... so I going to say it...... MARIO a FPS!?!?!?!??! WTF!!!!!

TheJamin
TheJamin

 @hastati4 if you do, make sure you download the "monkey matrix" mod and neo skin. good times!

Pivasik
Pivasik

 @jagdedge124 "I think they GET IT"

Better to say that only irish guy "get it". Not gamespot, not game developers. So you will see in future only "Modern War Shooters".

DBZ19
DBZ19

 @secracium  hahah 20 i think i've killed way more than that. in fact at the end of level 2 it said my chaos was high. hahahah i freaking love that game.

eddyoshi
eddyoshi

 @Gen_Warbuff

  loved mirrors edge and still play it quite alot today, cant wait for the sequel that might be happening but might not because EA hasnt said anything...

LJMStrike
LJMStrike

 @hastati4 Why do these game developers think that it would be interesting to bring out another fps rail shooter which is based in a desert setting, with American marines shooting at the local native occupants who are armed with water pistols.

 

 

Pivasik
Pivasik

 @hastati4 "I just can't take any more military shooters" same here.

rangeraa
rangeraa

@dw9872 @DoctorWho88

CoD was originally developed by many of the same folks who made Allied Assault.  It brought ADS into the spotlight and significantly increased on the scope of the battles over Moh:AA  so it's hard to really call it a clone.

pitosga
pitosga

@dw9872 @DoctorWho88  

Indeed. Sad to say, MoH series was much better before it let an upstart dictate its development.

Played only 2 in the series, actually, but it suffices to say Allied Assault was a vastly superior experience to Medal of Honor's (2010). That reboot that disgraced the series by obviously and, thus, shamelessly, following CoD's new path with Modern Warfare. A lot of flak that path has gotten and much of it deserved, MW and MW sold wildly more than the games' worth, still I must say I did find each to be great shooters, in their own sub-genre of this modern realism fixation and ironically contradicting regenerating health. Got to admit that my favorite parts were the music, dialog and story, all of which especially in MW2, although MW had the advantage of novelty that nothing can top.

rsj2
rsj2

@MarcJL31 Good points. I agree it was CoD4 that paved the way for MW2's success but as big as it was MW2 still outsold it by 9 million units (according to Wikipedia's latest figures) and I think only that commercial success explains the competition we've since seen in that rather narrow type of shooter. Whether CoD4 was the better game I'm not sure is relevant, though it certainly should be. And yeah I agree Black Ops 2 will probably be huge and make a big profit, but there's a chance it'll fall short of MW3. Perhaps that'll be enough to send a message to Activision?

wildchair
wildchair

 @ifdarkone

 Thanks for your comment and support. I didn't mention Deus Ex because I thought that would be more likely categorized as a 3rd Person RPG type game, more along the lines of Mass Effect? I agree with you, though, that it was a great game. I can't comment on Dishonored because I have not played it at this point.