The first ever first person shooter game is called Maze War. Basically it consisted of a maze in which players moved around using the arrow keys on the keyboard, moving forward or backward, and turning ninety degrees around corners. Other players are seen as eyes, and the goal is to shoot them or causing damaged without being shot yourself. Though basic in its concept and design, Maze War paved the ground for one of the most successful game genres of all time: first person shooters.
Third person shooters on the other hand, originated from shoot ?em ups during the eighties, as players could follow their character through missions in so called rail shooters. These were naturally quite primitive but none the less very addictive. A real third person shooter though, does not lock the character into a predetermined path, but allows for agile and flexible movement across the whole arena.
Though never quite as popular as FPS, TPS does have its advantages. The different perspective allows you to see behind corners, over barrels and so on, enabling a more tactical approach to gameplay than the FPS. Stealth games such as Splinter Cell and Assasin’s Creed are based on TPS, though there might not be as much shooting going on as one would want. Max Payne is a brilliant example of a third person shooter where the whole range of abilities is utilized. In the FPS genre however, you get the benefit of easier and more intuitive aiming, and the perspective opens up for a more intense gaming experience. Imagine walking around on the abandoned space station in DooM 3 using a third person perspective? hardly any surprises or twitches there. In fact, the first person view is the very foundation of the game, making it an addictive, surprising and to be honest quite nasty gaming experience.
Which one do you prefer? First or third person shooters?