First Person Shooters (FPS) is a genre that ties parents in knots. Game review sites are filled with discussions, opinions and arguments about the value or danger of first person shooters.

All of this attention isn’t without reason. Outside of some action-adventure titles FPS are the most obviously violent. I say obviously because there are games such as Starcraft 2 or the yet-to-be-released Total War:Warhammer which have far more people dying but in a much less personal way. And the news we see and hear makes parents uneasy.

So what is an FPS? In short, it’s exactly what you’d expect.

In an FPS you:

  • see from the shooters point of view (1st person)
  • control character actions they find their way through some kind of a storyline
  • well, shoot stuff.

That stuff can range from aliens to robots to zombie Nazis, and everything in between. This genre includes some of the most-popular and longest-running modern game series.


FPS: Kill tastefully

For a long time the FPS genre has made a practice of having players only kill entities that are fashionable at the time. This is sort of like how American movies made during the Cold War seemed to predominately have bad guys who were Russian.

Some of the most popular categories to exterminate are:

  • Aliens: They’re from another planet, they had it coming for being here
  • Robots: They don’t have feelings
  • Nazis: Something in us has no sympathy for evil people even if that makes us evil in the process
  • Zombies: You kill people, but you don’t feel bad since they’re already dead

Games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein and the Modern Warfare series have made a mix of the last two for the

ultimate meat-slaying fest.

Nazis as an enemy of choice started in with Wolfenstein 3d. Source:: id Software
Nazis as an enemy of choice started in with Wolfenstein 3d. Credit: id Software

Nazi-zombies, such as those made famous by the Call of Duty series, are the wheel house attempt at a guilt-free first person shooter.

Nazi Zombies credit: Activision
Nazi Zombies from Call of Duty     credit: Activision


And of course, Halo is probably the best example of exterminating alien civilizations like termites.

Master Chief and an unfortunate alien. Source: Microsoft Studios
Master Chief and an unfortunate alien. Source: Microsoft Studios

A time to kill: Meaningful Conversations

There are times in history and our current world when we’re glad people with the means to stop evil have stepped up and done so. Sometimes that’s included violence. Yet there are important conversations that FPS games allow parents to have with their gamers.

Too many gamers, and parents of gamers, explain away the violence.

  • they’ve seen worse
  • it isn’t real
  • It isn’t sex or drugs

Life is precious to God. He created everything and called it good. He created people and called them VERY GOOD. In light of this we must talk to our kids about the realities of the games they play. Yes, they’re fun. You bet their intriguing. Yes, that explosion was epic.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

And then let’s talk about:

  • What part of this game is the most fun for you?
  • What makes the bad guys bad in this game?
  • How do you know what side is good?
  • In real life, what solutions would be available to the character outside of simply killing everyone?
  • At what point does protecting become antagonizing? When is killing no longer defense?

These aren’t little questions with simple answers. That’s part of what makes them so important. Take the time to talk through these big ideas with your gamer. The answers they develop will be an important part of their future growth and gaming.


Be Informed

It’s helpful to know something about the games your child is playing. I’ve listed some of the most popular FPS games below. I’ll continue to update the links as I finish more info.

  1. Halo 4 & the upcoming Halo 5
  2. Destiny
  3. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  4. BattleField
  5. Half-Life 2 (with Half Life 3 always a tease on the horizon)


FPS can be an art

An FPS done well is more than just run and shoot.

Remember, we’re not mindless robots simply killing everything in front of us…yet.

The epic heroes, powerful narrative and fancy graphics of a well-done FPS can still pack an incredible, and artistic, punch.

To help explain this in better detail I’m working on an “FPS for Noobs” series that will go into more detail on why people play FPS and what makes these gamers tick.