Mark this day in history my friends, May 20th, 2007 – the day I gave up on the First Person Shooter. Take another historic day, April 8th, 1994. I sat alone in the spare bedroom of my house – at my first computer – playing a new game. Doom.
I popped my new copy of Soundgarden’s Superunknown into the Toshiba auto-reversing tape deck and tore through several episodes of what was to become a classic. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent that night playing, or how many times the cassette flipped…
Today, driving home from the mall after picking up a new outfit at JC Penny, I changed stations on my Sirius head unit to Lithium 24 and the next song that played was Soundgarden’s Let Me Drown off the Superunknown album.
I wasn’t driving my Volkswagen anymore, I wasn’t in New Jersey – my mind was on Mars, tearing my way through an overrun base full of demons, imps, and other-worldly creatures from Hell.
I’ve easily played 2 dozen first person shooters since Doom. While I have a few favorites like Rise of The Triad, Red Faction, or Unreal Tournament – all they’ve been is an improvement on an improvement of an idea. 13 years later companies are still firing off rounds like a 13 year old knee-deep in the dead.
What’s new? Nothing is. Every idea is recycled, improved, and regurgitated upon a generation that is not getting any younger. For every single idea 12 variations show up all hoping to distract the player from the fact they just spent another $60 on a 13 year old idea.
After spending the past 5 months trying to find a new first person shooter which is worth my time, my money, and my effort – I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t exist. My Gamefly queue is clear of FPS’s, and I’m slowly coming to the same conclusion about sandbox type games like Grand Theft Auto.
While I’ve seen a few really good improvements ie Crackdown and Saints Row – I have to ask – how far can we go before the games become so realistic that Life becomes the escape from virtual reality?
In the end I suppose it is all personal preference. I just played Doom on my Xbox 360, within minutes there was something I hadn’t seen from a First Person Shooter in the past 5 years… the reflection of a smile on my face in the television screen before me.