First Person Shooter

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What Does First Person Shooter Mean?

A first person shooter (FPS) is a genre of action video game that is played from the point of view of the protagonist. FPS games typically map the gamer’s movements and provide a view of what an actual person would see and do in the game.


A FPS usually shows the protagonist’s arms at the bottom of the screen, carrying whatever weapon is equipped. The gamer is expected to propel his avatar through the game by moving it forward, backward, sideways and so on using the game controller. Forward movements of the controller result in the avatar moving forward through the scenery, usually with a slight left-right rocking motion to properly simulate the human gait. In order to increase the level of realism, many games include the sounds of breathing and footsteps in addition to the regular sound effects.

FPS games can be played in two general modes, mission or quest mode and multiplayer mode. The mission mode is usually the default mode for a single player. It usually involves the player battling through progressively harder game levels towards some ultimate goal. The multiplayer mode involves multiple gamers participating via a network and playing in a shared game environment. The multiplayer mode can take many forms, including:

  • Deathmatches
  • Capture the flag
  • Team deathmatch
  • Search and destroy
  • Base (a.k.a assault or headquarters)
  • Last man standing

Techopedia Explains First Person Shooter

First person shooter primarily refers to the perspective of the game. There are other genres that also use the first person perspective occasionally, including racing games and boxing games. Shooters, that is games where various weapons (but mostly guns) are used to kill opponents, have been made using all the basic gaming perspectives: first person, third person, side scrolling, top-down and 3/4.

The first FPS was “Maze War”, developed in 1973. However, it was the 1992 “Wolfenstein 3D” game that really entrenched the concept. Some of the most influential FPS games include “Doom”, “Quake” and the “Half-Life: Counter Strike ” series. All gained dedicated followers.

There is a wide variety of FPS games on the market. Many can be played on different platforms, including PCs, gaming consoles and handheld devices.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.