The cover for Halo: Combat Evolved

In 1999, a video game company arrived for the keynote address of the convention, Macworld Conference & Expo, to publicly unveil a brand new project.  This project was a first-person shooter game that was expected to launch for the Macintosh and Microsoft Windows, but little did they know that two years later their new game would become one of the most innovative videogames in the history of its industry.    The game that I am talking about is the videogame, Halo: Combat Evolved, which was created by the now popular company Bungie. This videogame would not only change the course of the gaming industry, but it would set a new path for the entertainment and computer industry as well.

The first-person shooter, or commonly known as FPS; genre has dated back to as early as 1973 with the Xerox Star game Maze War.  But at this time, the videogame industry was in a fledgling stage and the FPS genre would not become popular until the release ofDoom in 1993.   Doom showed a new type of gameplay that utilized 3D technology that includes height differences, nonperpindicular walls, texture mapping, and varying lighting inside then levels, which made the game realistic for its time.  But even then, the FPS was more a cult following until the release of Rare’s Goldeneye 007.

The cover art for Goldeneye 007.


Goldeneye 007, a videogame adaptation for the movie, was the first FPS to become truly popular in popular culture.  The game’s success was caused mainly by its addicting multiplayer mode in which the players competed in a death match scenario.  This game successfully sold over eight million copies and is known as a prime example for first-person shooters to this day.  But the game’s success and gameplay would be eventually surmounted after the release of Microsoft’s gaming console, Xbox, and its launch gameHalo.

In 2001, Microsoft decided to expand its market into the growing videogame industry by releasing its new Xbox game console.  With its release, came the launch of the Xbox’s future flagship franchise Halo.  The game displayed the most realistic graphics of its time and it contained a campaign centered on a in-depth storyline (which was rare for its genre).  But the element that made the game so innovative and popular was its multiplayer mode that allowed 16 players to play against each other over a system link.

Capture the Flag mode in multiplayer for Halo: Combat Evolved.

Because of this game, the Xbox became the most popular console on the market and shifting the focus of the entertainment and computer industry towards gaming, especially first person shooters.  It has influenced popular culture so much, that there have been books and graphic novels written about it and even a movie adaptation in works.

Today, first-person shooters have become the most popular videogame genre in the market, mainly because of the rise in popularity of Xbox Live.  Xbox Live allows players from across the world to play against each other over the Internet.  An example of a popular Xbox Live enabled FPS is Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2.

Modern Warfare 2’s advertisement logo.

Modern Warfare 2 has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.  After these statistics, it is safe to say that first-person shooters have come a long way to become one of the most popular game genres in video game history.

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