Authored by: Gerald Voorhees

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510


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According to most accounts, Spacewar!, developed in 1961 by Steve Russell et al. for MIT’s PDP-1 minicomputer, was the first video game. It was also the first shooting game. One of the most notorious, and certainly the oldest, type of video games, shooting games are diverse, diffuse, and much discussed in both public and scholarly circles. After briefly outlining the various forms of shooting games and the many platforms on which they are played, this essay will examine the shooting game’s central place in public controversy linking video games to violent crime and its vital role in the growth of the commercial game industry, ultimately suggesting that these two phenomena cannot be disentangled.

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