Of the entries on this list, Wolfenstein 3D is the grandaddy of them all. Released in 1992, it effectively paved the way for every other intense, fast-paced action title included in this top 10 and created a template for what a violent, visceral video game should look like.
In a review for Computer Gaming World, writer Chris Lombardi presciently described the game’s pivotal impact: “Wolfenstein 3D is, with Ultima Underworld, the first game technologically
capable of creating a sufficient element of disbelief-suspension to emotionally immerse the player in a threatening environment, even when viewing it on a flat screen,” he wrote. “I recommend gamers take a look at this one, if only for a cheap peek at part of interactive entertainment's potential for a sensory immersed virtual future.”
This wasn’t the only time the game’s developers at id Software would strike gold in the first-person shooter genre, either, as they were subsequently responsible for creating Doom, and the aforementioned Quake. But it all started with this World War II shooter. What would gaming look like without Wolfenstein? Thankfully, we never had to find out.