FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin.

After initial successes, the FPS genre is advancing unbroken, but the road to the top is still fraught with difficulties.

Previous parts of the series:

FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin

Part one – now who fired for the first time?

Part Two – At the Gates of Doom

FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin

Many people believe that man cannot have truly original thoughts, since all that comes to our mind is a reinterpretation of things we have known before. Whatever idea we come across, it’s probably shaped by past life experiences, and when we create creative creations, we rely on our sources of inspiration. Not surprisingly, a similar process took place in the case of Doom, because while id Software’s legendary game laid a solid foundation, the “rupture” of FPS games began at the very moment of its release.

In our historical journey, we are currently there that FPS is defined by unbridled spin and knee-length blood beyond the obvious mechanisms (such as inside-view camera positioning and shooting). With this, id Software found the recipe and successfully applied it to Doom II in 1994, with quite a few changes, in fact: the sequel knew pretty much the same thing as its predecessor, only with even more demons and even more weapons. The schema created by the developers is simple and straightforward, but it will soon be clear that these tools can be used to create something that has little to do with Doom.

FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin

In the depths of darkness

Like so many people at the time, Jason Jones was impressed by Wolfenstein’s stunning 3D graphics technology and began writing his own similar engine for the Macintosh, but when they embarked on their first joint project with Alex Seropian, a completely different idea began to emerge in them. about them. Already their first joint game, Pathways to Darkness, put more emphasis on the story, but their ideas really came to fruition in the ’94 Marathon.

The game was practically the exact opposite of everything Doom represented: instead of the arcade-paced pace, the slightly slower, horror-like gameplay dominated, and the paper-thin story was replaced by a complex sci-fi epic. The protagonist mainly communicated with the artificial intelligences of the title character spaceship through text terminals, and we were also able to discover the story through these messages. The escape of the main evil, Durandal, from human bondage was full of philosophical depths, and artificial reason became an important motif in Bungie’s later games as well.

FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin

Long live the King

It’s not just a chunky story that can divert the genre from the usual path. Originally intended as a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, Rise of the Triad also leaned in the direction of the action, but we had a choice of several characters who were all good at something else, so it was worth running into it several times. 3D Realms has taken a much more extreme path than this with Duke Nukem 3D, after pouring the 90s into a blender to create an Alpine game at a level that would have earned its legendary status only with its bourgeois style. The game figured everything from Alien movies to Army of Darkness, but luckily it evolved so that not only was it made famous by its style, but its outstanding gameplay made it stand out from the crowd.

Anyway, the undeservedly forgotten “relative” of Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, was released soon after, and the two games aren’t the only thing the graphics engine has in common, as Monolith’s work can also owe a lot to the films of the era. Like Duke, Blood’s protagonist, Caleb, masters sarcasm and black humor, though because of the dark, satanic symbols and bloody gameplay, many might look more like Doom.

The anonymous city

Doom II was a great success, but id Software could also feel like they couldn’t shoot the same joke for the third time, so John Carmack also stood for the next generation of his graphics engine. Quake was a technically huge advancement: it used 3D models built from polygons instead of 2D sprites, and Carmack also created his own (severely limited) programming language to influence the game logic, giving a huge boost to the fan-created amendments such as a Team Fortress.

FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin

If that weren’t enough, the game itself was surrounded by very serious names: the up-and-coming American McGee also worked on the tracks, and the music was written by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who had already made a serious fame at the time of The Downward Spiral. with the plate. Although the elements of horror came through here as well, instead of sc-fi, HP Lovecraft inspired the game world. Quake has, of course, been a great success, id Software has raised the bar again and launched a revolution in online gaming thanks to its deathmatch mode.

Alarm clock, Mr. Freeman

It is already noticeable that two major currents have begun in the FPS genre, culminating in two iconic games by the end of the decade. In 1996, two Microsoft employees felt that the roots of Doom horror had far more potential than boring imitators could bring out of it. This is how the 1998 Half-Life was born, revolutionizing storytelling with its cinematic scenes and flawless atmosphere. We guided the quiet Gordon all the way through, so we could fully immerse ourselves in the role, and the story could be told by our actions.

Epic Games, on the other hand, went in the exact opposite direction, as the Unreal Tournament did not have a single-player component, but was fully sharpened in a multiplayer mode, and was often featured in tournaments due to its fast reflexive gameplay. Whichever way we go, games have gotten better, both technically and in terms of content, but at the end of the decade, we had to realize that nothing good could last forever.

FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin

If I got rid of my demons

Earlier, I came to the conclusion that Doom and Wolfenstein 3D touched on the point by choosing opponents that no one will miss. But does that also mean that the killing will have no consequences at all? Could the power of the game dull someone’s sense of reality? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold planned in 1999 to do something no one had done before. The plan was to blow up Columbine High School in Colorado and end up with the survivors themselves. It was thought that “it would be like Duke Nukem or Doom.” The bombs did not explode, but many still lost their lives, and the media immediately began to speculate as to why they did so, triggering the distinction between video games (especially Doom) to this day.

However, the truth is that the incident survived precisely because it apparently shouldn’t have happened: Eric was well educated, not really harassed by his peers, there was no one to take revenge on. His behavior, on the other hand, had been suspicious before, but no one was paying attention to it because it was easier to wave. Unfortunately, one of the most unfortunate human traits is that we only become aware of troubles when it’s too late. We can shoot the in-game demons or, better yet, turn our backs on them. But the real demons, as the Shadow has said, reside in us, and if we are unaware of them, it can have tragic consequences.

To be continued…

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FPS History Part 3 – Symbol of Sin