In 1992, Apogee Software released the archetypal first-person shooter, “Wolfenstein 3D”. in 2011, the FPS is the most popular video game genre, but the younger fans of “Call of Duty” and “Halo” might not appreciate the forefather’s rigid controls and fuzzy graphics. The player’s view cannot turn on the vertical-axis let alone look down a weapon’s iron sights and enemies are 2D pixel art, a far cry from the 3D models that respond to grenade’s blasts with human-like physics. So much has changed between 1992 and 2011. The genre has moved relentlessly forward, but today a new “Wolfenstein” dares to yank it backwards.
“Wolfenstein 1D” reduces its 3D inspiration to a single dimension – a line about 600 pixels long and 1 pixel high. Blocks that move or sit on this plane represent characters and objects. A white block (the hero) can move forward or back, open aqua blocks (doors), fire yellow dots (bullets) at orange and blue dots (enemies), and collect green and purple dots (health and ammo).
Is “Wolfenstein 1D” a subtle jab at the choking linearity of modern first-person shooters? Games like “Call of Duty” provide a controlled path, like an amusement park ride, that create the illusion of danger, when in reality every enemy is placed before your muzzle and every loss of life can be remedied by the nearest health pack.
Are 3D first-person shooters no different than 1D first-person shooters? Or is “Wolfenstein 1D” the latest goof from the geniuses behind “Who’s Pooping on Twitter?”