Essential First-Person Shooters, 2 | Games, Gamers & Gaming

Modern Warfare, In the first part of this column (Essential First Person Shooters, LJ 2/15/12, p. 75), I provided the basics of the first-person shooter (FPS) games and named some of the best that should be in your collections, including Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Goldeneye 007, and Half-Life. Here are some top military-based FPS games worth consideration.

The military shooter has become the standard for the first-person shooter genre, and thanks to online multiplayer networks, the console has become the playground for the FPS, so that makes it easier for collection development.

Lock and load!

Call of Duty is a series published by Activision that sees an annual release. It’s evolved into more of a brand encompassing several titles, with the most popular being the Modern Warfare series, developed by Infinity Ward.

Some critics feel that the single- player portion of the game is a bit too much on-rails, not allowing for enough player freedom and reducing the core game to little more than an interactive movie. Still, the intense and competitive Half-Life that rewards players for excellent performance with game-play advantages gets an unheard of amount of attention from gamers.

Fine zombie killing

The Halo series has continued to blossom and has a strong following despite the Modern Warfare juggernaut. In 2010, Halo: Reach served as the swan song for Bungie and had some of the most fun multiplayer to be had, with some truly unique game modes. This makes for as much in-
house fun as it does for circulating games.

There have even been a few online- only FPS games meant solely for competitive play. Both of the best ones are developed by Valve and available on the PC. Counter-Strike is a true hard-core gamer’s game, to the point that many new gamers are advised against starting with it.

Its dedicated followers are highly skilled‚ the game doesn’t forgive many mistakes. Team Fortress 2, on the other hand, is more lighthearted fun, with crazy characters and games that can be as deep as you want them to be. What’s more, it’s free, so it’s simple to add this to your in-house computers.

Valve also developed one of the few cooperative-centered FPS series, Left 4 Dead, which provides some of the finest zombie-killing to be found in a crowded genre.


The Battlefield: Bad Company series, developed by DICE and published by EA, is the underdog to Modern Warfare. It doesn’t sell as well as the mainstream title, but it still enjoys a large online presence. Its game play encourages teamwork, which is a welcome change from the grandstanding that is present in far too many FPS games.

It truly allows gamers to shine on their own and use their own skill sets and preferred play style, something that only Team Fortress 2 can also claim.

Rated M

Unfortunately, nearly every FPS of note carries an M rating from the Electronic Software Ratings Board. This could be an issue, especially when loading games onto public access machines.

There are also numerous FPS titles that have little to offer and seem intended only to shock gamers with their controversial content. The Duke Nukem series, once thought of as a standout classic, has quickly become nothing more than an exercise in misogyny and rehashed pop culture references; even the seminal Duke Nukem 3D hasn’t aged well.

Modern military-themed shooters have been criticized for being insensitive to the real-life experience of war by ignoring the complexities‚ and glorifying the horrifying realities‚ of armed conflict. Many people are bothered by the first-person view in these games; because gamers encounter violence up close, there’s the fear of desensitization to acts of real-life horror.

It’s important to offer at least a few FPS games to your patrons. It’s a popular genre with a huge following and will serve as an instant hook to those wanting to explore your game offerings.

Until next month, keep telling yourself‚ just one more level!

M. Brandon Robbins About M. Brandon Robbins

M. Brandon Robbins ( is the Media Coordinator at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, NC. He's a member of the 2011 class of ALA Emerging Leaders.


  1. FPSWin says:

    Zombie killing rocks .. Now that we know that Black Ops zombie thingy, its gonna be even more fun ..