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johnboy3434

What, in you mind, is the definition of a "boomer shooter", both historically and among current releases?

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Posted (edited)

Mods: I wasn't sure if this belonged here or in Everything Else. It is "related to Doom" like the forum description says, but not exclusively.

 

Pedantic Bullshit; Skip This Paragraph: I mean, strictly speaking the term is nonsense. The absolute youngest baby boomers would have been 27 years old when Wolfenstein 3-D came out. Yeah, Wolf3D wasn't the first FPS, but it was the first one that really mattered, and the generation in question would have viewed such things as children's toys by that age. The people enjoying Wolf3D would have been Gen Xers and Millennial kids (the oldest at the time being 11) that managed to sneak it by inattentive parents. So "boomer" in this case simply means "too old to be a hep cat".

 

Me, personally? My rule of thumb is that if a game A.) is by any reasonable definition an FPS and B.) was built off of the Wolf3D, Raven, Doom, or Build engines (or any derived proxies thereof), then it is absolutely a boomer shooter. Also, if an FPS is built in clear imitation of the titles on the above engines, it's probably a boomer shooter. In other words, I define the term as "2.5D" shooters who share or would have you think they share a technical lineage with the 90s classics everyone knows about.

 

I may be wrong, but I think I differ from just about everyone here in considering the leap to fully-rendered-3D-everything as a cutoff point. I imagine anyone here would include Quake 1/2-derived FPSs under the "boomer shooter" banner as the last of the glory days. But to me, the visual leap is too much of a paradigm change.

Edited by johnboy3434

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn’t include old games as boomer shooters. They were modern games at one point so I think it’s kind of weird to consider them such. They’re just old games that were designed for the limitations of their time. The fact that they’re old and outdated is due to the passage of time and improvements in tech making the genre move beyond these games. 
 

What I define as boomer shooters are games that are designed specifically to play (and usually look) a certain way that banks off of nostalgia, like Ion Fury, Dusk, Doom Eternal, etc. These games were designed with this in mind, and even as modern games could feel dated compared to other shooters, but that is purposefully part of the design.

 

I don’t like the terminology at all though and find something like Classic, Retro, or Old School First Person Shooter to be far more representative of these games than referring to them as boomer shooters. There’s other retro style games that are side scrollers and many other genres, and we don’t call them boomer-this or that. 

Edited by FecalMystAche

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I see the term "boomer shooter" (or any similar phrases) as much more valuable when it's used to describe a way of doing things rather than merely copping an aesthetic. To me, boomer shooters put a lot more emphasis on enemy quantity and puzzle solving over storytelling and ambience. The pre-III Quake titles would be borderline under that definition, but I'd still probably count them. Basically, the two Half-Life games are the paradigm shift that roughly mark the transitional period where FPS games became a lot closer to what they are viewed as today - rather than what they once were.

 

It's all arbitrary, of course. I think a lot of people just seek games that remind them of Doom or Quake and go from there. But to me, that's precisely what "an emphasis on enemy quantity and puzzle solving" is, just worded more descriptively rather than relative. To us, it's easier to just say "it's a Doom-alike" or "it's aping idtech1", but to an outsider, it helps to give more concrete definitions.

 

I suppose it beats the term "Doom clone", but it's only a marginal step-up from the completely goofy "metroidvania" as far as genre labels go.

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Forget about graphics, engines and nostalgia. "Boomer shooter" (please let's call them retro shooter or retro fps) is about game design. Very little focus on story. Unrealistic and "gamey" presentation. You can carry lots of weapons, no 2-weapons-limit. Health and armor pickups instead of regenerating health. Lots of movement at high speed. No cover mechanics. Maps have secrets with goodies. There are probably key cards and locked doors, etc.

A game doesn't have to tick all of those boxes to be a retro fps.

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I put the Change over from Boomer Shooter right at FEAR 1 in about 2006. I consider FEAR 1 the last in the line of great Boomer Shooters, and also the birth of the modern shooter as well. Basically that specific game has ideas that are intact in modern shooters to this very day, and it also has lots of Boomer Shooter aspects as well.

The main aspect it birthed for Modern Shooters was actual Enemy AI Teamwork, or at least a dang good illusion of it that relied nothing on monster placement specfically to achieve. The AI could read the map environment and pick advantageous tactical positions on its own.

 One Boomer SHooter hold over I can name offhand? Instant reload of the shotgun. ;D

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Posted (edited)

In my mind, a "Boomer Shooter" - or as I'd prefer to call it, a "Throwback Shooter" - does away with things like regenerating health and weapon limits. Instead, you rely on health and/or armor pickups and are able to carry a large number of weapons at a time.

There's also a focus on speed and agility, with the story taking a backseat to let the gameplay shine.

I'd say that the turning point was games like the original Half-Life for PC and GoldenEye 007 on the N64. These two may have retained the large number of weapons being able to be carried at one time, but both were much more narrative driven, with a focus on actual objectives beyond simply "shoot everything that moves" and "navigate to the end of this area".

 

However, I would say that the earlier Quake games and the Serious Sam series should generally count as Throwback Shooters, or at least games that influenced the modern retro FPS trend.

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Posted (edited)

The term "boomer shooter" is a loose label people slap onto games that exist with extremely dated looking graphics. Theres nothing actually holding anything in the new genre they created because brand new games exist there alongside. It isnt clearly enough defined and no one here has the ability to be definitive on the topic unless you ask Romero for the official cutoff himself. Besides that, its not something that came along before newer games were made in the style of to recapture hemorrhaged markets elsewhere. You wanna get real for a second? Its always been Doom vs Halo. Thats the real crux.

 

Everything after 2001 is suspect. By 2004, it was too late to prevent the shooter genre dark age. Im sure there might be a few games afterward that stand out, but things got sucked in to a newer design and there were long bouts of extreme disappointment pretty much all across the board.

 

The question remains, when did we make resurgence or are we still stuck there? At bare minimum, it was 10 years of dogwater. Im unsure if its actually recovered. Probably not, but this sort is an extremely bleak subject to talk about because we had to dive deep back into classics and theyre trying to set hooks in us to drag us out of that deeper water. For many of you, you probably havent got the slightest clue what Im talking about, but thats fine.

 

Just be careful not to fall into the hands of a bad company that slowly rots out the games you love.

Edited by Dreamskull

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Dreamskull said:

snip

 

Uhh... you okay, buddy? That post took a turn towards "the Illuminati want to put estrogen in your drinking water"  at the end.

Edited by johnboy3434

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1 hour ago, Dreamskull said:

The term "boomer shooter" is a loose label people slap onto games that exist with extremely dated looking graphics. Theres nothing actually holding anything in the new genre they created because brand new games exist there alongside. It isnt clearly enough defined and no one here has the ability to be definitive on the topic unless you ask Romero for the official cutoff himself. Besides that, its not something that came along before newer games were made in the style of to recapture hemorrhaged markets elsewhere. You wanna get real for a second? Its always been Doom vs Halo. Thats the real crux.

 

Everything after 2001 is suspect. By 2004, it was too late to prevent the shooter genre dark age. Im sure there might be a few games afterward that stand out, but things got sucked in to a newer design and there were long bouts of extreme disappointment pretty much all across the board.

 

The question remains, when did we make resurgence or are we still stuck there? At bare minimum, it was 10 years of dogwater. Im unsure if its actually recovered. Probably not, but this sort is an extremely bleak subject to talk about because we had to dive deep back into classics and theyre trying to set hooks in us to drag us out of that deeper water. For many of you, you probably havent got the slightest clue what Im talking about, but thats fine.

 

Just be careful not to fall into the hands of a bad company that slowly rots out the games you love.

Anyway as someone who both markets boomer shooters and writes about them, they include most or all of the following aspects:

 

1. can be retro-styled graphics but may include more modern-styled graphics, so long as they include

2. uh, shooting. often they're games that include the carry-a-lot-of-weapons-at-once system like all our favorite 90s iD classics.

3. they can be more than first person shooters - there's lots of platform shooters, puzzle shooters, etc.

 

I'm going to ignore all the doomsday shit because frankly, that's subjective opinionation that is not shared by everyone in the industry. iD themselves continuously bridge the gap between the classics and nuDoom, nuWolf etc. despite the founders no longer being in the picture. and many boomer shooters are made by indie companies, literally 2-5 person teams. it's a fairly safe genre to support, and I don't just say that because I'm involved in it.

 

And if you're looking for good ones I'm going to shamelessly plug Reload Magazine because you can read the digital versions for free now and they come with excellent boomer shooter recommendations so you can get the feel for what they are yourself. enjoy!

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// BoomerShooter == limited use of Z-Axis, discrete life/health system, very low latency, chonky pixels, shoot first questions later; power fantasy, something you can watch for 3 min, pick up the controls, and start having 30-seconds of fun over and again within the first min of play...

 

 

Sehnsucht... 

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I don't really like the term either, for basically the same reason as Fecal, but that's not really hard. Any particular FPS of a particular style that emphasizes fast-paced action over the more tactical stuff that became prevalent later, contains a certain arcade-y sense of fun not seen in mainstream shooters, and/or has certain characteristics like secrets and powerups that help encourage replay value.

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i dont rlly like the term boomer shooter i prefer the term retro shooter or classic fps anyways my definition is a game not that focused on story.
you can "count the pixels" idk what to call that just pixelated game has a pretty limited color palette.
y shearing,also just epic metal music

not required but, came out before like late 2000s

idk about serious sam or quake tho im kinda eiffy on those mfs.maybe its just the vibe i get from playing them i just dont get that same vibe i get from games such as doom,duke3d wolf3d 

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To quote former Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart:

Quote

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.

 

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Personally I like to use the term "retro shooters/fps" instead of Boomer shooters. And to differentiate between 90's fpses like Doom/Quake/ Duke etc. with newer ones like Ion Fury/Dusk/Amid Evil etc. I use the term "new retro shooters" for the latter.

 

In terms of what makes them different from modern shooters, they generally have these traits:

  1. Emphasis on straight to the point gameplay with little world building and little-to-no cinematics/cutscenes. If they exist, they are mainly a backdrop to act as a cherry on top for the level design.
  2. Fast pace action. May or may not be very arcadey in style.
  3. Generally a good variety of weapons and enemies. Emphasis on target prioritization and learning what weapon works best against which enemy.
  4. Generally a lack of regenerating health and lack of infinitely ammo refilling crates. Emphasis on managing health/ammo resources present on the map.
  5. Maps may have branching paths and have other puzzle elements.

 

When it comes to putting a line for what is or isn't a retro fps, it is not as straightforward. Because some games may have some of the above mentioned traits but not others. Back in the 90s, there was no such distinction because most of the notable shooters were very similar to the shooter style set id software and 3D Realms.

 

With that said, I do think that many of us can agree that Half Life was the game that changed the entire landscape. Half Life, despite have some of the above mentioned triats, is notably different in style from games like Wolf3D, Doom, Quake 1/2, Duke3D etc. As such, in my mind, Half Life is the first game that I don't refer as a "retro shooter". It set the precedent for games from late 90s to 00s. Most games that came after HL started focusing more on being cinematic and less on being arcadey.

 

The 1998 to around 2005 is what I personally refer to as the "Half Life era". The games of this era didn't go full military shooter yet (that stated happening from Call of Duty 2 and onwards), and yet are very very different from the pre-HL era of shooters.

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Posted (edited)

I find it to be an asinine term because it implies that using it precludes any sort of basic knowledge of how culture defines different generations. If they wanted to call them gen-x shooters, I'd be more than happy to comment further. But to purposely conflate two entirely different generations because it sounds cute when combined with the word "shooter" doesn't really demand any real investigation, as the term doesn't seem to want to take itself seriously. 

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3 hours ago, Koko Ricky said:

 But to purposely conflate two entirely different generations because it sounds cute when combined with the word "shooter" doesn't really demand any real investigation, as the term doesn't seem to want to take itself seriously. 

 

It's more called boomer shooter cuz guns go boom. It's really not that deep.

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11 minutes ago, Major Arlene said:

 

It's more called boomer shooter cuz guns go boom. It's really not that deep.


I'm on the same boat, i don't trink boomer shooter really need to refer to boomers, zoomers or whatever they want to express the years they were born/created. But just slaps because.

 

  • Have a really good tongue in cheek pronuntiation.
  • It's more easy to understand and don't go to allll the retro FPS, like for example, Medal of Honor it's old and retro but not have the feeling of a boomer shooter.
  • Boom.

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Pre-HalfLife inspired FPS. I could talk a lot about the design elements that characterize this style, but the important thing is that Half Life broke the mold and FPSs were never the same again, with a few exceptions like Serious Sam.

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21 hours ago, johnboy3434 said:

 

Uhh... you okay, buddy? That post took a turn towards "the Illuminati want to put estrogen in your drinking water"  at the end.

i don't know why but this snide remark really gets the goat yknow

its probably the fact that Dream is genuinely passionate about art and good media, and hates how things can degrade if not cherished, and how some people have an unrealistic optimism towards the status quo - one that leads to pretty much every ailment in history, because of how hilariously bad of a worldview it is to have. "Why don't we just sit and relax for the rest of our lives? The harvest has come, we have enough food to last until forever!" type of thinking.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, act said:

i don't know why but this snide remark really gets the goat yknow

its probably the fact that Dream is genuinely passionate about art and good media, and hates how things can degrade if not cherished, and how some people have an unrealistic optimism towards the status quo - one that leads to pretty much every ailment in history, because of how hilariously bad of a worldview it is to have. "Why don't we just sit and relax for the rest of our lives? The harvest has come, we have enough food to last until forever!" type of thinking.

 

Saying/predicting that the state of [insert video game genre here] is going to begin/continue to degrade into tripe is not a conversation worth starting. First off, and the most obvious point: What is good to one person is not good to another, and vice-versa, so the narrative of a slide in quality is already dependent upon the worldview of the person making the remark, which means the entire conversation is framed on that person's turf.

 

Second point: Let's pretend that everyone has the exact same opinion on what constitutes good and bad. Saying that things are going to get worse is still a meaningless statement, because it's eventually going to be correct simply by law of large numbers. Eventually, every industry has a series of notable missteps, and for a time things aren't as good as they used to be.

 

Third point: Let's also pretend, in addition to no variation in opinions, that things are noticeably getting worse right this very moment and everyone can see it. At that point we need the core of the thesis statement: "So what?" The consequence is... that FPS games won't be as good as they've been being. Shock. Horror. Woe upon all our houses. Wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

So, this entire argument that (as you put it) some people feel so strongly about is 1.) myopic, 2.) unfalsifiable, and 3.) trivial. It's not that we have unrealistic optimism, it's that we don't really care if the outcome is optimistic or not. You can't eat Doom, so don't treat the lack of Doom like a lack of food.

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Whatever the hell Dream said is also wildly off topic so there's that. The question was what is a boomer shooter, not unsolicited opinions on how gaming is going to die in the next 5 years or whatever. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Major Arlene said:

 

It's more called boomer shooter cuz guns go boom. It's really not that deep.

I've heard this claim so many times before and I have no idea why people keep repeating it because it doesn't stand up to scrutiny at all. There are a ton of modern games with explosions in them and none of them are called Boomer shooters. "Boomer" is an obvious reference to it being old, that's why it's being applied exclusively to oldschool-style games. The term "Boomer Shooter" started showing up around the same time that "OK, Boomer" started being a thing. It stems from Zoomers calling anybody or anything that is older than they are "Boomer".

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I class "boomer shooter" as any game whose design is deliberately reminscent of Doom or Quake in mechanics and/or aesthetics, in the same way that I class an "immersive sim" as any game that just feels like the original Deus Ex. Much like music subgenres, you can disappear down a rabbit hole of arguing semantics and exact definitions, but it's kinda worthless to do so. If it feels like a mid-90s FPS then it's a boomer shooter, simple as.

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1 hour ago, johnboy3434 said:

Eventually, every industry has a series of notable missteps, and for a time things aren't as good as they used to be.

This literally is just confirming Dream's point, but having slight optimism towards it. Everyone here can rag on me for saying that, heavens knows you all will, and I don't blame you because pessimism is scary. But Dream is saying the gaming industry is having a series of notable missteps and aren't correcting them. Things need to be encouraged to get better, and the first step is understanding what is good about these games in the first place.

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I think the problems Dream is alluding to exist mainly in the mainstream gaming industry. Boomer shooters (the fact that things go 'boom' is just a coincidence that happened to line up with the term being coined :P), whereas most boomer shooters are either indie or relatively so (barring some troubling moves like the Nightdive acquisition or Embracer Group proving itself quite eager to lap up some of the boomer shooter developers). I don't have tons of hope but I'm also not that connected to developers so it's hard to say how thing'll unfold.

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1 hour ago, Wagi said:

I've heard this claim so many times before and I have no idea why people keep repeating it because it doesn't stand up to scrutiny at all. There are a ton of modern games with explosions in them and none of them are called Boomer shooters. "Boomer" is an obvious reference to it being old, that's why it's being applied exclusively to oldschool-style games. The term "Boomer Shooter" started showing up around the same time that "OK, Boomer" started being a thing. It stems from Zoomers calling anybody or anything that is older than they are "Boomer".

Meh. I'm generally being facetious here when I say "gun go boom", I get it, this conversation gets exhausting so this is what often gets thrown out to end the convo cuz people read way too much into it. Like I said before, I cover this stuff as a side gig, even we don't have a super hard-and-fast qualification for it. It's not connected to the term "Ok Boomer" as far as I'm aware from my conversations with many of the devs who make these kinds of games. I'm not inclined to continue the trend of blaming younger generations for stuff that's actually been defined by older generations (in this case, millennials are the ones who coined the term "boomer shooter", not zoomers).

37 minutes ago, act said:

Things need to be encouraged to get better, and the first step is understanding what is good about these games in the first place.

People know what makes good games (which, by the way, there is no objectively "good" or "bad" games and I wish people would stop pretending they know what they are - there are games that either are for you or aren't for you). People just don't know how to 1. treat creative works 2. pay people who make games for their works and 3. stop enabling shitty companies from treating their devs and fans like shit.

 

But I digress.

 

30 minutes ago, LadyMistDragon said:

whereas most boomer shooters are either indie or relatively so (barring some troubling moves like the Nightdive acquisition or Embracer Group proving itself quite eager to lap up some of the boomer shooter developers). I don't have tons of hope but I'm also not that connected to developers so it's hard to say how thing'll unfold.

 

luckily there's shitloads of indie devs who are happy to make affordable games that appeal to a wide range of tastes. just go support them! Steam's Next Fest is coming up this weekend I think so definitely check them out. unfortunately acquisitions will happen at one point or another but there's no shortage of creative people making cool stuff outside of those spheres of influence.

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A Boomer Shooter is a fast , no bullshit straight to the point gunfest. 

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I swear to god, if i have to hear or read or see the word "Boomer Shooter" again. I will Arch-Vile myself into a pit of pinkie's while D_RUNNIN is playing in reverse....

 

*clears throats* anyways i hate the term boomer shooters. It feels so wrong calling retro FPS games that now. To me the term boomer is someone that was born after WW2 and such blah blah blah generation gap trash no one cares about. For me Retro FPS games like Dusk, Ion Fury (Ion Maiden fuck you Iron Maiden the metal band), Wrath, and all others that have came out is basically taking the old formula and making it something different.

 

Like HROT for example: HROT (i still need to play it) takes old Quake 1 style of crunchy pixels and game play into something different like instead of doing Lovecraftian horror of Quake, they took a cold war era of a country from 1980's and made that there foundation to work upon.

 

Another one would be Dusk: Dusk is basically to me: "what if i took the style of Quake 1 and throw it in the unity engine and made badass music to it", I still have yet to play it myself but i've seen Civvie 11 play it.

 

Another one is Cultic: Cultic if i remember right is made in a highly advance build engine (please don't at me and be like "well actually" i'm just going off from what i've read about it) and it looks great.

 

Overall to me Retro FPS games are basically Doom but for a more newer generation of gamers.

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Posted (edited)

a boomer shooter is a shooter from when boomers were young, coincides with the first 3 home console generations,

ie: space invaders, xevious, galaga, river raid, centipede, asteroids, spacewar, gradius, zanac, bosconian, gaplus and their ilk

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