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We've been overcoming impossible odds in shooters ever since Wolfenstein 3D first popularized genre way back in 1992. Since then twitch-skill games like Serious Sam and Painkiller have helped us blow off steam, tactical shooters like Rainbow Six and Star Wars Republic Commando have worked our brains, and franchises like Halo and Call of Duty have helped shooters dominate the video game landscape. Shooters have continued to evolve and remain relevant longer than nearly any other video game genre. Naming just 100 greats is no easy task - how can Half-Life 2's pitch-perfect storytelling be compared to Doom's interplay of tension and player power? But through sheer determination and plenty of shouting, we've managed to narrow the nearly endless supply of shooters down to 100 must-play picks. Judging Criteria: All the shooters on this list must all obviously exhibit very high overall quality. Other considerations for inclusion include legacy and influence on the genre; popularity; historical quality (was it incredible at the time?); modern quality (does the experience hold up?); and lastly pure editorial preference.

How Video Games Change the Brain

I am in an overgrown lot leaning against an eight-foot-tall shipping container. I look both ways, weighing my options. A man with an assault rifle is looking for me, just as I am looking for him. Hoping for a better vantage point, I run toward the abandoned car to my right. A metallic bang rings out as my opponent's shot hits the wall I have just left. I dodge around the next container, then circle behind it. Raising my M16, I peer through the scope as I run. There he is! I hit the track pad of my laptop hard and fast, but my aim is wobbly. I miss. He spins, fires, and I'm dead. So ended my introduction to first-person-shooter video games. Clearly, I was not very good. With practice, I would probably get better. What is less obvious is that a decade of research has shown that if I spent a few more hours playing Call of Duty, I could improve more than my aim and the life expectancy of my avatar. Aspects of my vision, attention, spatial reasoning and decision making would all change for the better. If you are interested in hardline hacks and are eager to learn more then visit

Taking Beethoven on a Ride-Along in First-Person-Shooter Games

The tradition of Beethoven and Wagner is ignored by today’s academic composers, but over-the-top Romanticism thrives in first-person-shooter video games. When I was a youngster first learning about music, I was puzzled by the grand claims made for the genius of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner and the other towering figures of the Romanticist period. The facts just didn’t add up. I was told repeatedly how great these composers were—I even encountered this Beethoven-mania in the midst of pop culture, in places as unlikely as Peanuts cartoons and the movie A Clockwork Orange. Eventually, as I trained my ears, I could hear its magnificence for myself. Yet I also could tell that current-day composers showed no desire to write works in this same Romanticist style. In fact, they seemed embarrassed by the very emotional intensity that they admired in works of an earlier day. How could the same musical establishment set up Beethoven as the supreme composer, even as it fervently avoided the aesthetic vision at the heart of his achievement? Something had to give. Here was my hunch: I expected that the spirit of Beethoven would return some day. You can’t keep a good man down, as the proverb goes. And, believe it or not, the revival has finally happened. But I never, in a million years, would have guessed where musical Romanticism would experience this rebirth. The spirit of Beethoven has come back to life in first-person shooter games. Over-the-top Romanticism, in all its most extravagant manifestations, is now the preferred musical accompaniment to virtual killing.


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