This month I am going to venture out of my comfort zone and so we will be talking about shooters. The reason this is outside my comfort zone is because while shooters take up a considerable part of today’s industry, I am not very good at them. I don’t want to say I am awful, because I am very stubborn and in denial, but it is not my usual genre to wind down and relax with after a long day of work. In fact, I don’t know if I even wind down at all nowadays. Usually I am just trying to finish at least one of the current hundreds of games I have on backlog. Yes, there are certain shooters included in this category. So, that I smoothly and expertly got things back on topic, I want to talk a little about shooters mean to me and what I think of their progression throughout the years. To be fair, I haven’t really played videogames for long enough to encompass everything that I am about to cover, but let me just talk for a bit and see where this goes.
So shooters have gone through a lot of changes since they were first introduced. At first you were in an arcade shooting alien lifeforms in Space Invaders and then forty years go by and you are playing the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise. Things have gone a long way since the concept of a shooter was first introduced. I would say that there were two major changes to the genre as the years went on. And no, I am not talking about graphics because that should be a given here. The first big change is that there seemed to be a shift in the target audience of the shooter genre. What I mean is that there was a shift where shooters decided to focus more on the multiplayer experience than on the single-player experience. That’s not to say we don’t have shooters that have a focus on single-player campaigns, but that is no longer the industry standard you see today. Games like Doom and Serious Sam are not nearly as prevalent as games in series such as Call of Duty or Battlefield. I am not saying that there is a problem with the focus on multiplayer shooters. As someone who spend most of his life playing single-player games, usually this kind of genre didn’t appeal to me, but that isn’t to say that it isn’t fun. If it wasn’t they wouldn’t be able to keep making the same kind of game each time and still make a profit. If it still works then why change it? I’m pretty sure that has been Nintendo’s business policy for a while now. So, sometimes it is just easier to turn your brain off and start blasting. This leads me to the second big change that shooters have gone through over the years.
Now it could just be me, but I feel like a lot of early shooters involve shooting monsters and aliens. Especially aliens. We really seemed to be afraid of them back then. Nowadays I feel as though most shooters involve you shooting other people or at least other avatars. This makes more sense from the whole multiplayer shift thing that I was talking about earlier. If you somehow missed that, then you may want to get some new reading glasses. That is provided you have reading glasses of course, I wouldn’t want to assume. If I am being honest, I am not entirely sure of the reason for this change other than trying to make games feel more realistic. Maybe that’s the reason people see videogames as more violent than before when we were just trying to take out aliens. However, it shouldn’t matter what the target is as long as we are having fun. So I do want to say one thing for all those people out there who get all riled up about this sort of thing. It’s just a videogame. The only harm that might come of it is a kid breaking his hand by punching through his monitor. There is no reason to get that heated in the first place. Sorry to say kid, but breaking your hand won’t help you not be trash. Videogames should be a way to have fun and unwind, so if blasting a person in the face is more your style then it’s up to you. I personally don’t care as long as there are certain boundaries that we all agree to respect while we are having fun. I may be terrible at shooters, yes I am freely admitting it now, but at least I am honest about it and can find my own ways to have fun. Usually, it’s to go to the single player campaign, but in fairness I didn’t do any better there either. So to sum all this up, shooters have become increasing more competitive and realistic, but try your best to unwind and not take things to heart. After all, paying for a new monitor and medical bills is probably not the best outcome to losing in a firefight. If it’s Mario Party though, totally understandable.