Before we knew what to name them, we called them “Doom clones.” id Software’s seminal work sparked a phenomenon when it began to circulate as shareware 20 years ago, and since then shooters have propagated through mods, experimentation, LAN parties, co-op, eSports, and big-budget masterpieces. Guns and enemies are their bread and butter, but we don’t think of our favorite shooters as outlets for simulated violence. We celebrate the way they test our minds and mouse reflexes, the personal stories they generate, the captivating worlds they’ve founded, and the social spaces they provide for lighthearted bonding or hardcore competition.
Over the past month, the multiplayer matchmaking service GameSpy has been closing down servers across a selection of games. Slashdot user OldTimeRadio reports that games such as Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, SWAT 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War and Star Wars: Battlefront will no longer let players search for, and in some cases host, online matches.