After Hours

Dinosaur sightings: Wolfenstein 3D changes everything

Every once in awhile a PC or video game comes along that changes everything. Wolfenstein 3D from id Software and Apogee certainly qualifies as one of those games. This is the game that established the first person shooter (FPS) as a major game genre. The visceral feel of fighting your way through a maze of hallways filled with enemies trying to stop you was such a new experience in 1992 that many gamers found new reason to love their past time.

Wolfenstein 3D was also marketed using the shareware model. I distinctly remember that I stopped playing after the first level, so I could order the entire game. My thinking was it would arrive about the same time as I completed the first set of scenarios. Only one other shareware game has captured my imagination like that since --- Doom, which would come along a little over a year later.

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Mark W. Kaelin

By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.