First person shooters are the most popular, best selling, and most controversial games on the market. Take for instance Modern Warfare 2, The title by Activision and Infinity Ward that made over $300 million in its first 24 hours after release, but I digress. These games are the big earners of the industry and as such, draw the most controversy.
What makes games of this genre so popular is the perspective. From the first person perspective a person feels as if he or she is the character that they are playing as. This familiar view provides not only an enjoyable gaming experience, but also a shorter learning curve. Sure you may need to learn the specific controls i.e. which button crouches and which throws a grenade, but most of the successful FPS’s use the dual thumbstick control to move your character. Once you get the hang of one of them its pretty much smooth sailing from there. Let’s look at Modern Warfare 2 and Halo 3, both titles use the dual thumbstick control for motion, the left for body movement and the right for head movement, and the right trigger for shooting (in default mode), but the other buttons are drastically different. They range from left trigger to punching down on the left thumbstick to aim and from “X” to the right bumper for picking up weapons. Now I’m not saying that the control scheme makes the game, but I am saying that it plays a big part in making that game great.
On the other hand, this same perspective that makes the titles great also creates the most controversy. Those that oppose the first person shooter genre say that this in-game experience creates violent behaviors in those that play them and because of which should not be allowed. Now while I do not agree with this view, I do recognize the level of violence and other more mature material in these games. I know game developers also think of this when they are creating games, some veering towards young kids and others towards adults, a great example of this is the optional level in Modern Warfare 2. Developers will add or subtract game content to market their title to the intended audience.
The first person aspect of this genre is what makes it the leading seller in the industry, however is also what brings the heat from critics.