10 Most Iconic 1st Person Shooter Games

Photo: cop.stalker-game.com

They’ve been around since the mouse was invented, and at its core, not a lot has been changed for the 1st person shooter games, but hey, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. There has been a ton of first person shooter games, and quite a few of memorable titles, but these 10 influenced the genre and the generations of gamers playing it the most. These pivotal titles all paved the way for their successors and enhanced the gaming world in whole while providing millions hours upon hours of entertainment. And index finger cramps.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (2002)

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter

Photo: Croteam.com

People play games to have fun, and not to include one game from the Serious Sam series would be a slap across fun’s face. The pretty straightforward game follows Sam “Serious” Stone in his fight against the ridiculous looking and numerous armies of the extraterrestrial overlord Mental, who, of course, wants to destroy humanity. The fun aspect is not the only reason why Serious Sam is iconic, the series is created by a small independent team in Croatia, giving hope and motivation to many video game enthusiasts outside the major developer hubs, mostly in USA and Japan, that they too can make it.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001)

A remake reboot of the 1992 game Wolfenstein 3D is still haunting the players with its difficulty and heavy, smart, and alluring alternate-history plot, which is why it’s still mentioned and memed. Also a fast paced game with a guns-out approach in which you hunt extremely cool-looking Nazis and give them the end they deserve. The interesting lore captivated the single-player fans, while the multiplayer actually became the most popular aspect of the game, both combined made for a pretty influential, timeless title.

Duke Nukem 3D (1996)

Duke Nukem 3D

Photo: 3drealms.com

You can’t have a list of iconic 1st person shooter games without one of the most iconic characters in the gaming world altogether. While some games are regarded iconic mostly due to their technological advances, Duke Nukem 3D gets the accolade because one line delivered by that raspy-voiced badass will make you nostalgic as looking at old Christmas photos in your jammies. While it is a sequel to Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II, and one title in a streak of Nukem games, the world the macho-man is trying to save feels deeply authentic, making the game that much memorable.

Counter-Strike (2000)

Chances are that if you ever sat in front of a computer, you’ve also memorized the shortcut B-5-1 which helped you relief a lot of stress while playing Counter-Strike. Rags to riches story of the gaming world as CS started off simply as a mod of Half-Life which led to the makers getting hired by Valve and in the end, becoming the most important FPS game in the e-sports world. A modern combat situation in which teams of terrorists and special forces are pitted against each other across a wide variety of maps has been around forever, but the multiplayer aspect, competitiveness, and newer iterations in the series made the game constantly fresh.    

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (2002)

No sub-genre rules the FPS kingdom as much as World War II shooters, and this is the spark that made it all possible. Although the third title in the MoH series, the setting of the western Europe front with some most recognizable battles included made the game incredibly popular and groundbreaking due to its massiveness. It’s regarded as the Saving Private Ryan of video games, and this is the title that made all the Battlefields and Call of Dutys possible, even though the franchise didn’t manage to cope with them.

F.E.A.R. (2005)

While creepy monsters are a part of the first person shooter genre since its start, it wasn’t until 2005 that FPS genre got its first truly scary title in F.E.A.R. – First Encounter Assault Recon. The addition of a Japanese horror myth to a SWAT-style video game wasn’t the only innovation seen in the game, as it gave out homework to all the other game developers when it comes to graphics and in-game physics. The game spawned two expansions, two sequels, and definitely shifted the industry’s focus towards the horror genre.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)

Photo: cop.stalker-game.com

The game that made the first person shooter genre unsettlingly realistic truly set the bar high when it comes to game mechanics, graphics, and cinematography of a game. It was released in 2007, but it still holds up compared to modern shooters, despite being 10 years old! The tone and the mechanics of the game are blended in a superior way, making the game crawl into your bones with an ominous feeling that is difficult to shake off. This survival horror video game did more than justice to its source material, the audience recognized that which resulted in two expansions and a place in video game history.

Quake III Arena (1999)

It doesn’t get more iconic than this, and if you’re too young to have heard the epochal “M-M-M-Monster kill” in the heat of battles that were raging towards the end of the last century, just ask your older relative about Quake, even if he isn’t a gamer in your eyes. Almost everyone with a computer knew about the fast-paced, futuristic arena-based war and this was one of the first games that acquired a massive, passionate cult following. Quake III Arena should be praised as the originating seed of online multiplayer and esports. 

DOOM (1993)

You don’t get to spawn eight sequels, six novels, a comic book, a board game, and a (bad) movie without being legendary. The first game puts you in a position of an unnamed space marine that battles through waves and waves of alien monster creatures. DOOM is widely regarded as one of the most pioneering video games in general, not just in the 1st person shooter genre. It introduced 3D graphics, third-dimension spatiality, networked multiplayer gameplay, and even support for player-created modifications. So basically, all the things without which modern games would be unimaginable.

Half-Life 2 (2004)

The mother of all shooters. The alpha and the omega. The game that made gamers all around the world practically beg for a sequel, unsuccessfully, though, but the cries are far from silenced and finished. After a five-year development period costing $40 million, the game was praised for an all around greatness, not just in some departments. The sequel to the 1998 game was ground-breaking in almost every field, from storytelling to physics and graphics, it won 39 Game of the Year awards, and also some Game of the Decade awards. It’s one of the most influential games ever, not just in the FPS genre.

Do you think that some other 1st person shooter games should’ve been on the list? Relieve your anger in the comments section like a true modern gentleman.