Shooting games are arguably the most popular types of video games for 21st-century players, but this hasn’t always been the case. While first-person shooters have been popular in arcades for the last several decades, there has always been a quality gap between these games and other genres such asracing or strategy games. The potential for first-person shooter games was sky-high back in the 1990s, for example, but game developers and console designers simply didn’t have the technology required to make them work as well as they could.
Fast forward to the present day, however, and sharpshooter games are all the rage. It’s for good reason, too, as options like the Call of Duty and Battlefield series showcase breathtakingly clear graphics, complex storylines and remarkably smooth online multiplayer connectivity. If you want an example of how incredibly popular these titles have become, just consider the fact that the Call of Duty series has generated over $30bn dollars in revenue from consumer spending. In other words; a lot.
But modern shooting games took a long time to get to this stage. Their DNA lies in the brilliantly simple gameplay pioneered by arcade shooters like Time Crisis, although game developers had to work out how to replicate these games on commercially available consoles. Moreover, not being able to actually move your character, as in games such as Time Crisis, can quickly get boring.
So, how did modern sharpshooter video games get to where they are today? Stay with us for a detailed breakdown of how the evolution of first-person shooters has resulted in such a fertile gaming genre. We’ll explore the early precursors, obstacles gaming developers had to tackle, milestones in the gaming genre and more.
Looking back at the history of sharpshooter video games is remarkable. To get to the bottom of how this genre developed, we must first consider the importance of the first-person perspective in gaming. Most gaming historians agree that this basic concept actually began with flight simulators, originally designed to help pilots learn how to fly planes. The developers spotted an opportunity to sell these flight simulators as commercial games in the 1970s, birthing one of the first genuine gaming genres.
Around the same time, other game developers were creating simplistic first-person strategy games,such as Maze War in 1973 and 1974’s Spasim. While these games were nothing like the modern shooters we have today, they did introduce gamers to the concept of playing games with a first-person perspective.
Perhaps the most important game in the history of first-person shooters was Battlezone, released in 1980. This primitive tank combat game used 3D graphics and a first-person view, setting the stage for the slow and steady evolution of shooter games. In reality, however, the 1980s were still dominated by arcade shooters. This was great for people who lived near arcades, but for gamers playing at home, it didn’t quite cut the mustard.
This all changed in the 1990s, when a combination of new software technology and consoles like the PS1 created a fertile ground for a new wave of FPS games. Doom, released in 1993, popularized the genre with its fast-paced gameplay and multiplayer modes, but it was GoldenEye 007 that is widely regarded as being one of the most important early first-person shooter games. The game still has a cult following, more than two decades on from its original release, which just goes to show its importance. Half-Life, released by Valve in 1998, was another key milestone. The title showcased the importance of storytelling and narrative in shooter games, paving the way for the 21st-century classics.
Before we get into the evolution of sharpshooter games in the 21st century, it’s worth considering the stumbling blocks holding 20th-century FPS titles back. Check below for four main things that software developers had to negotiate in order to create the top-spec titles we all know and love today.
Graphics are the most visibly obvious things separating modern first-person shooters from their 20th-century counterparts. It’s difficult to get immersed in games that have pixelated graphics and odd player movements, so this is something that game developers really had to work hard on to fix.
As first-person shooters became more complex, game developers had to wrestle with the controls. While it was enough to just have a few simple buttons for the early titles, modern first-person shooters need buttons for everything, from throwing grenades to reloading your rifle.
As we’ll explore in the next section, the evolution of online multiplayer connectivity well and truly changed the game for 21st-century shooters. While you could play 20th-century options with friends in the same room, these modern games allowed players to sync their titles from anywhere in the world.
The complex campaigns and narratives seen in the newest shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III are incredibly immersive and complex, often playing out like genuine blockbuster movies. This takes an incredible amount of forward-planning and software design.
The first Call of Duty: Modern Warfare title is widely regarded as the most important game in the history of first-person shooters. And the main reason? Online multiplayer connectivity. This was the first game to offer players an easy way to play with friends via the internet, spawning a revolution in first-person shooters.
This can now be seen across all areas of the genre, not just the classic console games. Players can enjoy games like the Fire in the Hole slot, combining elements of first-person shooters with online multiplayer and casino games. It’s all part of the legacy created by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, arguably the most important first-person shooter in the genre’s history.
Which are the best modern shooting games?
So, which are some of the best modern shooting games currently available? Here are a couple of our favorite options:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: A 2022 reboot of the immensely popular follow-up to the original Modern Warfare II game.
- Battlefield 2042: A hyper-realistic imagining of what war will look like in the year 2042.