Twenty years ago today, on Cinco de Mayo 1992, Id Software released its first first-person shooter and the game that would cement them as an industry leader: Wolfenstein 3D. The game not only raised the bar for computer graphics at the time, but it popularized the first-person shooter genre for all PC gamers. Many think of id’s OTHER shooter Doom as the foundation for FPS games, and while Doom is easily more popular, without Wolfenstein 3D Doom made not even have existed.
Plus, how many games do you know that allow you to take on Adolf Hitler himself?! (A few, actually. Operation Darkness, Sniper Elite V2, among others.)
For those that many not know (all three of you), Wolfenstein 3D follows the adventure of Polish-America soldier William “B.J.” Blazkowicz (one of the best names in video games, for sure) as he plows through the Nazi regime and tries to escape the Nazi stronghold known as…wait for it…Castle Wolfenstein. B.J. gets two weapons to start, a knife and a pistol, and he will pick up a rifle and chaingun along the way.
The game has six total episodes, each with nine missions and a secret tenth mission. Enemies varied from general foot soldiers and attack dogs to Nazi officers, giant chaingun-wielding brutes, and a final boss as the end of each episode. As the game grew in popularity it was ported to home consoles like the Super NES, but with many censors and tweaks that took away from the overall package. The Xbox Live and PSN versions are not censored, however, allowing current players to get the full experience.
While it may not have the clout of Doom or even Quake, one can’t deny that without Wolfenstein 3D, the other two probably wouldn’t exist. This game can currently be played anywhere, from PC to Xbox Live to PSN and more. With all of the ways to play, Wolfenstein 3D is basically required playing at this point. There’s no excuse not to experience this piece of gaming history.
Here’s to twenty more years of longevity for one of the pioneers of first-person shooters. Well, longevity or a new Wolfenstein game that doesn’t disappoint like the last one did. The series deserves it.