Just as there's been evolution in species, there's also been evolution in just about every little thing we, as humans, can produce. In my generation movies started with Star Wars, and now we get the pleasure to experience the exhilaration of the many Marvel hero movies. With food our french fries were innovated into chili cheese fries then to carne asada fries. I'm so, so grateful for those carne asada fries. With first person shooters? I mean, it's kind of funny seeing everything start with Halo for a lot of kids. For those in my generation though, it began with Doom or Duke Nukem. That wasn't the start of the social aspect of FPS. The time in FPS gaming where you could first simulate shooting your own friend in the head may be the most innovative time in the multiplayer timeline. So when did it all really start? Where did the innovative ways to kill each other begin? Well let's start from the top.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2007)
Call of Duty is very streamlined. Aside from its very controversial campaigns, Call of Duty isn't meant to amaze and intrigue gamers. It's meant to keep us playing, and wow, it does a great job. Call of Duty took power ups and turned them into extraordinary, game changing kill-streaks. It created a leveling system that kept you craving more, not just for aesthetic purposes but just to have an AK in your hands or just to be able to run quietly, or whatever it may be. This game is addicting. That may not mean a lot, but it sure does if you consider that it eventually took the crown from one of the longest ruling reigning monarchs in multiplayer FPS.
Now don't get mad. I get Halo is still great. I don't want to get into all of that. I want to get into what it's done to revolutionize the online gaming community. Simply put, it made online console gaming cool. Then there's people who'll get mad that I said that. Geez, can't make everyone happy I guess. But it is what it is. Halo gathered a huge following and basically carried the XBox to success. It created books, youtube channels and web series, and it almost inspired a movie. It was fun to a lot of people to just roam around in a Banshee or Warhog. Now, I'm actually a Playstation guy so I didn't get the FULL experience that the whole Halo series had to offer, but I do remember playing a lot in the dorms and I do remember it being a huge part of the FPS genre. I remember the supposed "Halo-killers" that would never have lived up to the Halo success, but you couldn't expect otherwise. Halo had such a huge explosion of triumph. It was the King of online FPS for a while. So much that it kind of made people forget about its predecessors.
Now we're getting to why I started this article. Valve developed and sprung this offspring after creating the ever popular, Half-life. The forgotten Counter-strike phase is a cherished memory to me. This was when the phrase "LAN Party" was introduced. This was when you'd hear about the stabbings at your local PC Cafe. This was what inspired PC Cafes. I remember walking into a PC Cafe and knowing everyone there, and they knew me. They knew me because I walked with a crew (we weren't as cool as the word "crew" suggests). As funny as it sounds, this was my personal bad boy phase. I went rampant, running the streets at night..... to play counter strike. It really was dangerous however. People carried knives for protection. People got into pretty big trouble because unlike the online phase we're in now, people actually knew who each other were. Imagine a world where trolls experienced consequences.
Now, Counter-strike wasn't alone in revolutionizing online gaming. Together with Unreal tournament, the two games provided an online experience that was global. It started on the PC, and it started with those two.That's why it kind of ticks me off that people forget to mention these games. I'm kind of spinning into a rant, but even though Halo had a long reign, I would say Counter-Strike was more revolutionary and influential. This was when kids started to know the difference between an AK and an M4. AKs are stronger, less accurate, and they're for terrorists. This was also when "knifing" became humiliating because you basically dishonored your family name by being killed by the knife. It may not have even been that, either. If it was only 2 people left on the map, you may remember hearing the knife scraping against the wall to suggest a challenge to a knife fight. Now that was exciting. The game now isn't what it used to be, but it the original was big in starting up online gaming in the FPS genre.
Golden Eye (1997)
Duh. This was back in the day when movie based video games were actually pretty fun. Its campaign was phenomenal, but the multiplayer was just an unexpected surprise. The weapons were fun, stages were diverse, and character sprites were various. Except it was cheating to choose Oddjob. Don't choose Oddjob. It had RPGs, Sniper rifles, throwing knives, mines, oh don't get me started on the mines. I was the unfortunate one walking into a trap of remote mines. My brother could have just bombed me with proximity mines, but no, he chose to let me recognize that I was in that trap until he blew me up. Screen looker. It was a great multiplayer feature that proved that multiplayer was worth spending time on even if it was just split screen. It wasn't online, but back then was that online was that annoying dial up AOL that no kid wanted to deal with.
I kept the list short, and there are obviously things that I failed to mention or even failed to experience. Battlefield, Arma, Quake etc. But this is my subjective list of games that revolutionized multiplayer FPS.