Today, Wolfenstein 3D
has become something of a footnote, and perhaps for good reason. Although it may seem harsh, the game could be called something of a dry run for DOOM
, but for those of us who were able to play Wolf 3D
in its day, it was jaw-dropping. I won't pretend that I was a PC gaming enthusiast when it came out, because I was but a child, but it was one of the first PC games that I remember playing and thinking that it had something over the consoles to which I was so accustomed. My uncle owned a copy of this game, and during a family reunion in the early 90s, on his IBM-compatible laptop, he showed it to myself, my siblings, and my cousins, perhaps against some protestations by our parents, and it floored me. I was used to playing the 2D games on the Nintendo (or the NES as it is usually called now), and here was this realistic, three-dimensional (or so we thought) world. Nowadays, it isn't that impressive, and I would much rather play DOOM
, but this was tapping into something that I did not think possible, and even now it has its charm. The visuals are simple but somehow still artful. I think id knew how to work within the confines of the systems of the day that many developers did not, and they avoid looking dated as a result. The gameplay is likewise simple, consisting of just running, shooting, and opening doors, but who could blame them in those days for sticking to the fundamentals. The controls feel a bit awkward, but I have to cut some slack as there just wasn't much of a framework or blueprint to go off. I now understand that the world was 2D with a 3D presentation, achieved through clever programming and manipulation of the first person perspective, but it looked convincing at the time, and it was a feat that my child brain thought impossible. Wolf 3D
was not the first FPS, let alone the earliest game with a first-person perspective, but it was the first one that seemed to know what it was doing and certainly the first one to break through to a mainstream audience. Coming at it completely fresh today, it likely won't be too appealing, and I cannot help but say go for DOOM
and other later id titles, instead, hence my more middling score, but it just cannot be overstated how much of an impression it left on me at the time. I begged my parents to buy a PC for several years just to play this title, and it was worth the wait, and even today, Wolfenstein 3D
is worth booting up now and then just for old times' sake. This was a revolution at the time and has immense historical and (for myself) personal significance that I cannot overlook.