First-person shooter games have proven themselves to be one of the most popular genres in video game history. Not only is the gaming community’s appetite for unfettered mayhem never-ending, but this type of melee has penetrated the consciousness of casual gamers and resulted in titles that could be sold to all instead of just the hardcore devotees. Though the FPS genre is not without its myriad controversies—accusations of brain-deadening violence and insensitivity abound—their mass appeal makes it unlikely that we can ever expect the form to wither beneath these critiques.
Indeed, as a result, first-person shooters have persisted as some of the top-selling titles in the gaming, year after year. Though not every first-person shooter is a guaranteed cash cow, there have been a number of notable instances where the genre has struck gold. The commercially-successful franchises that have sprung up in this fashion are now household names: Call of Duty, Doom, and Halo, to name just a few.
A good FPS doesn’t just have solid sales figures to boast about, either. What often makes these games so enjoyable is their strong multiplayer components, allowing you and your friends to virtually destroy one another for hours on end. Whether it’s GoldenEye 007, Overwatch, or what have you, the best of the best first-person shooter games are often defined by their ability to bring people together.
To that end, it’s no surprise that first-person shooters have become a choice genre for eSports competitors around the world. These titles have enough entertainment value to be watched and followed with the same intensity as Monday Night Football. In 30 years, who’s to say we won’t see gaming replace our favorite sporting pastimes in prime time?
So, given their rabid followings, cultural impact, and plain playability, it only seems to right to rank the best games that this genre has to offer. Here are the 10 best first-person shooters that you should start playing today.