Hot Air: Shooted

Why are shooters still popular after so long?

By Aaron Roberts. Posted 11/11/2010 15:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

Hot Air Masthead

Here’s what I’ve been wondering:  Why haven’t first-person shooters gone out of style yet?

“What does he mean?!” you may be asking.

Well, it really isn’t that hard of a question.  Game genres go out of style all the time.  Mascot platformers were all the rage in the early ’90s, and now no one but Mario, Sonic, and a few other select heroes get to make platformers anymore.

Likewise, Japanese RPGs in the vein of Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy also are going by the wayside.  They really reached their peak with Super NES and the original PlayStation.  Yet in the past few years, the mainstream media establishment is all down on them, ragging on them left and right unless they adopt “Western” sensibilities.

But shooters hang around.  It’s not like they’re the next big thing.  Wolfenstein 3D came out back in 1992.  You know what else came out in 1992?  Super Mario World.  That’s how old the modern concept of shooters is.  There have been tweaks and improvements, just like any other kind of game, but the way things are going, every genre is cleaving to the mold, with dual-analog setups and moving cameras and such.

You could argue that Ocarina of Time inspired this setup, too, as did Mario 64, but when they’re making Metal Gear play more like a shooter, and Resident Evil, well, it’s not Mario or Link inspiring that.

The only thing I can come up with is that shooters have the multiplayer aspect going for them.  This gives you a lot of replayability, and it can be a hook for shooters; it’s why Goldeneye was so big back in the day.  This is unlike platformers or RPGs, where the game is limited to the single player scenario much more often.

They’re also more visceral and real, which may be why more people play shooters online than, say, Tetris or Mario Kart.  Maybe the first-person immersion is a factor?  I mean, it doesn’t make anyone except Nester64x sick, right?  And he doesn’t count.  It’s more like you are actually running through the halls and arenas and whatnot.

Anyway, I don’t hate shooters, but I’m ready to be out of this phase of huge FPS popularity.  Since I dig playing forgotten or abandoned genres, that means I’d probably like them more.  And then I could feel all superior about how I play them and no one else does.

Man, I can’t WAIT.

One Response to “Hot Air: Shooted”

  • 1 points
    Kevin Knezevic says...

    I was actually talking about this very topic with my friends the other day. I’m kind of surprised shooters are still the dominant genre–I figured people would’ve gotten burnt out on them a long time ago, but they still seem to be selling really well, and at my college they’re all I ever overhear guys talking about when video games are brought up.

    I personally don’t really play them, so I can’t say I see where their lasting appeal comes from, but like you said in the article, genre dominance never lasts this long. I fondly remember when whimsical 3D platformers were all the rage, especially on N64, but their time at the top was really brief compared to first-person shooters. I can’t say I see them dropping any time soon, either, especially since Microsoft in particular seems to bank on them a lot to appeal to gamers.

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