Watch the evolution of the FPS

2 min read


First Person Shooters have a come a long way since they first gained prominence with earlier examples in the genre, such as Wolfenstein 3D and Quake. Now arguably the single genre that defines video gaming (within the mainstream at least), they’re not going away any time soon. It’s a good thing then that they’ve evolved the way they have, a shown by this video from French site NoFrag that details the graphical evolution of the FPS.

From Wolfenstein to Battlefield 3, this video shows just how much they’ve changed – and just how much they’ve largely remained the same. There are about a dozen or so shooters shown here – though, because they’ve used just one FPS per year there are obviously a number of different games using different engines that, for some or other reason, just haven’t made the cut; most notably Duke Nukem 3D, Hexen/Heretic, Halo and Unreal Tournament anything.

Which FPS’ are conspicuous by their absence?

Last Updated: February 28, 2013

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Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • AndriyP

    Quake i miss thee
    Used to play with mates first to 100 kills

    • Deon Steyn

      Rail arena FTW. I miss it so much 🙁

    • i think i am going to install arena again, that looked exciting

  • Banana Jim

    And as the details improved, the corridors narrowed…. :/

    • AndriyP

      “corridors narrowed”

      I heard a little echo in my head

      Dragon Age..Dragon Age……………Dragon Age……………Dragon Age……..Dragon Age..

      • Banana Jim

        And the Cave remained the same.

        • Darth_Clericus_The_Ultimate

          HAHA! Was going to say the same thing….

      • Banana Jim

        Yeah, but it’s actually amazing how the game world shrunk as the graphics improved. The older FPS games were huge, the current ones… meh!

  • Uberutang

    I can identify my ‘console’ years by the games I do not recognize.

  • Banana Jim

    Where’s Marathon? Why isn’t Marathon there… dammit . it’s THE FPS. Always preferred it to Doom.

    • Red Worked

      Wasn’t it also made by Bungie?

      • Banana Jim

        Yep! 😀

        • Red Worked

          Man… played the crap out of that game in the early 90’s when the only PC at home was my dad’s mac power PC he used for freelance work… Game had quite a deep dead space style story IIRC. Something about being on an alien-overrun Starship Marathon and being manipulated by a ghost-in-the-machine type dude called Durandal. So long ago… hard to remember.

          • Red Worked

            Of course… it being a mac-native game from the 90’s is probably why it’s not in the list…

  • Banana Jim

    The Battlefield games are over-represented in the video…. :/ I mean, hate COD but the earlier games changed the genre and even the current ones have been influential. Speaking of which, where the heck is Medal of Honor?

    • Tarisma

      I was wondering the same. Allied Assault FTW

      • Banana Jim

        And also no mention of Metroid for GCN, or GoldenEye 64 (Nintendo 6) man those were cool FPS games.

    • MOH underground was the first shooter i owned, i was sad i didnt see it :<

  • CypherGate

    I always found the hand/arm animations in FPS’s weird. The improvement in them hasnt been a real big difference. The first few FPS’s has the gun and hands moving back and forth when walking or running. Then more advanced FPS’s has them moving side to side. Then Battlefield 3 popped up (Im sure there a few others that does this as well) Where the gun is tilted so you see more of the gun and movement is left to right. Its a bit more of a natural look. Apart from that minor improvement in form and animation in FPS’s, doesnt anyone feel that it should have been much more improved than it actually is?

  • Deon Steyn

    LOL no Cod? I miss playing Quake Deathmatches. Good old free far all rocket jumping rail gunning bfg goodness. Gameplay was a lot faster back then.

  • GooseZA

    Where is Bioshock?

  • Gavman

    Unreal Tournament, Modern Warfare

    • medal of honor, farcry 1, fallout and fear 1

      especially in the graphics timeline, they were all pretty distinctive

  • Driagnor

    I’d forgotten how epic that Quake NIN soundtrack was.

  • Eric Viljoen

    As the video went on the shooting became less and less. The Quake 3 bit looked tense.

  • i agree with banana jim. battlefield who? and farcry where that? fear as well. pffft.

  • Tbone187

    No COD…Survival mode on MW3 is the ultimate FPS experience imo…No mention of Medal of Honour as well… My evolution order would be Doom – Half Life – Modern Warfare…

  • HvR

    Duke Nukem 3D ?????? WTF???
    Time to kick and chew bubblegum and I’m all out out of gum.
    Pixelated titties!!!

    Such a shame they never made a sequel.

  • Red Worked

    “…since they first gamed prominence.” Nice typo there 😛

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