A Study in 90s FPS Plots
By Graham L. Wilson
First person shooters often cause competition among fans over which had more storyline. This is a study of first person shooter storylines from the 1990s (1900-1999) based on the collective conciseness of gamers. Which games (A) have enough storyline to make a large Wikipedia plot section and (B) provoked gamers to write them up on Wikipedia in the first place and in detail. This only contains plot sections not articles like "List of [insert game] creatures" and so forth, which contain enemy, object and character back stories. This is also not counting expansion packs or any other additions not in the main game. The entries for the Blood series and Shogo are from the Blood Wiki, but they are comparable to the Wikipedia plot entries (the Blood II one has been shortened as some Wikipedia admins thought it was too long, however, I managed to write a summery that did the plot decent justice, and followed the 700 word rule. It is now a little smaller than Half-Life but that is because Half-Life was not as faithful to the 700 word rule). These are marked by, if long enough, how many pages they fit in a word processor document (specifically OpenOffice.org Writer). If they are not long enough they are ranked by the number of and size of the paragraphs in the plot sections. I searched through the Wikipedia articles on various game developers to find all the various first person shooters they made in the 1990s. As this is looking back on the 1990s it is organized in reverse order, first the more recent "true" 3D games and then their "2.5D" ancestors. This article contains games by id Software, 3D Realms (aka Apogee), Epic "Mega" Games, Valve Software, LucasArts, Ritual Entertainment, Monolith Productions, Raven Software and others. Oh, as a Wikipedia contributor who is personally interested in writing up video game plots I should mention what contains my own work: Blood II, Duke Nukem Forever, Shadow Warrior, Pie in the Sky, and Hovertank 3D.
- 1. Blood II: The Chosen (without opening dialog) - two pages and a bit.
- 1. Shogo: Mobile Armour Division - two pages and a bit.
- 2. Half-Life - one page and a half.
- 3. Unreal - four paragraphs.
- 4. SiN - four small to medium sized paragraph.
- 4. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II - two medium sized paragraphs.
- 5. Quake II - a single paragraph.
- 5. Hexen II - one medium sized paragraph.
- 7. Quake III Arena - a single small paragraph in the single player section.
- 7. Chasm: The Rift - two small paragraphs (technically 2.5D but close enough given the feel and release date).
- 8. Unreal Tournament - no plot is in the article.
- Additional: Duke Nukem Forever (in development 1997-2011) - was three small to medium sized paragraphs and two sentences.
- 1. Blood (without first cut scene transcript) - two pages.
- 1. Outlaws - four paragraphs.
- 2. Star Wars: Dark Forces - four medium sized paragraphs (very close to Doom II).
- 2. Doom II: Hell on Earth - four paragraphs (a bit smaller than Unreal).
- 3. Doom - two large paragraphs and two small ones (comparable to Unreal).
- 4. Wolfenstein 3D - seven small paragraphs (comparable to Doom II but a bit smaller).
- 5. Heretic - three medium sized paragraphs, one large.
- 5. Shadowcaster - one really large paragraph.
- 5. Strife - plot notes interlaced throughout the article.
- 6. Blake Stone: two small paragraphs (Aliens of Gold) and three small paragraphs (Planet Strike).
- 6. Duke Nukem 3D - two small to medium sized paragraphs.
- 7. Shadow Warrior - two paragraphs (smaller than Duke Nukem 3D).
- 8. Rise of the Triad - two paragraphs.
- 9. Hexen - one really small paragraph.
- 9. Hovertank 3D - one small paragraph.
- 10. Catacomb series - a few notes on setting and concepts.
- 10. Pie in the Sky engine games - a few notes on the various plots of these games.
- 11. Ken's Labyrinth - no plot listed (although I know it has a small one).
Am I missing a notable game? Got any comments? Post them on this article's talk page!
January 13, 2009