To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first first-person shooter, id Software and its parent company Bethesda Softworks have released a free-to-play web version of the game that runs right out of your web browser. For folks who prefer their gaming on the go, the developer will also offer Wolfenstein 3D Classic Platinum free to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners for a limited time.
Developed by design legends John Carmack, John Romero and Tom Hall back in 1992, Wolfenstein 3D was originally released as a free shareware game. The game told the harrowing, over-the-top tale of American soldier "B.J." Blazkowicz, who was trapped in a Nazi castle and forced to fight his way out. Along the way, he had to overpower SS guards, Doberman Pincers and, ultimately, Adolf Hitler packing a robotic suit and four chainguns. Yeah, it's pretty awesome.
It's also immensely important. With it's run-and-gun, first-person gameplay, the game laid the groundwork for all shooters that followed it, from id's own followups Doom and Quake to today's blockbusters like Halo and Call of Duty.
Wolfenstein isn't the first id classic to go browser-based. Five years ago, id announced plans for Quake Live, a free version of Quake III Arena. It spent two years in private beta, but opened to the world at large in February 2009. Over 113,000 user accounts were created within the first six hours, showing there was still a loyal market (and fan base) for the game.
Though Quake Live is also free to play, it offers a subscription option with more arenas, game types and server options. And while it's hardly an official version, a group of coders have taken the now open source Quake II code and made a playable version of the game using HTML 5.
Bethesda's also released a video of John Carmack sharing some insights about the game's development. Old-school gold, people.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Wolfenstein 3D
- Bethesda Softworks
- John Carmack