In shooter games (or simply shooters), players use ranged weapons to participate in the action, which takes place at a distance. Most shooters involve violent gameplay; lethal weaponry is used to damage opponents. However, some shooters, such as Splatoon, have non-violent objectives.
Shooters, aside from subgenre classifications, can be further classified by their perspective of play. First-person shooters are played within the protagonist’s perspective; they often include a heads-up display displaying key information such as the current health of the protagonist. In third-person shooters, the protagonist’s body can be seen fully; the environment is rendered from a distance. Some shooters incorporate both perspectives.
Hero shooters are either first- or third-person multiplayer shooters that strongly encourage cooperative play between players on a single team through the use of pre-designed hero characters that each possess unique attributes, skills, weapons, and other activated abilities. While setting up a match, players on a team typically must each select a hero who is different from those selected by teammates and, as the match progresses, the players gain experience to unlock more powerful abilities for their hero. Outside of a match, players have the ability to customize the appearance of the heroes but with no other in-game effects. Such games are inspired by multiplayer online battle arena games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, and popular team-based shooters like Team Fortress 2. Examples of hero shooters include Gigantic, Overwatch, and Paladins: Champions of the Realm.
Light gun shooters are controlled with a gun-shaped controller; light guns function via a light sensor, hence the name “light gun”. The technology has been used as early as the 1920s for shooter games, although electronic video gaming did not exist at that time.
Shoot 'em ups pit players, who are usually piloting some form of a flying vehicle, or flying by some other means, against large waves of opponents; the player is continuously moving and must attack and avoid opponent’s attacks as well as obstacles.
Since the 1990s, shooters, most notably first-person shooters, have become widely successful in video gaming, accounting for a large percentage of video game sales. Wolfenstein 3D, created by Id Software and released in 1992, was credited for pioneering gameplay and graphics elements incorporated by many other shooters. Also developed by Id and published one year after Wolfenstein 3D’s release, Doom is broadly considered to be one of the most influential games in video gaming history. Other successful shooter series include Half-Life, a widely acclaimed and commercially successful series noted for its influence on contemporary shooters; and the Call of Duty franchise, with more than 175 million sales across all its titles.