Okay, 'Boomer Shooter' is now an official genre on Steam

(Image credit: New Blood Interactive)

PC Gamer contributor Noah Smith declared near the end of 2023 that it was another great year for boomer shooters, but he had one request: Can we call them something else now? The answer appears to be a firm no, as "boomer shooter" has now officially taken its place as a tagged genre on Steam.

The arrival of the boomer shooter tag was noted by Andrew Hulshult, the composer of soundtracks for games including Dusk, Amid Evil, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, Prodeus, and Doom Eternal: Ancient Gods—a pretty well-known boomer shooter bro himself, in other words.

(Image credit: Andrew Hulshult (Twitter))

"The term 'boomer shooter' was a lovingly cheeky term we saw used once when developing Dusk as a description for Doom," Hulshult tweeted. "So we ran with it because it was funny. It would go on to be associated with a entire genre of shooters. Today it's a category on Steam. I love this reality."

Steam users can define and apply tags to games as they like—you can literally go to any game's tag page and mash in random letters as a tag. But popular tags eventually become "featured categories" on Steam's storefront, simplifying the process of scratching whatever particular gameplay itch has gripped you in the moment, and that seems to be what's happened here: There are currently 68 games in the Boomer Shooter category, which you can further divide into various genres, sub-genres, and more as you like. Want a "casual" boomer shooter? There are two, according to Steam: I haven't played Devilated but I have spent some time with Prodeus, and you know what? I'd say that tag actually fits.

(Image credit: Valve)

The big change appears to have happened literally overnight. The update history for all the games in SteamDB's boomer shooter list indicates that the "boomer shooter" tag was added across the board on January 4-5.

There are still a few missing pieces in the Steam category page. Serious Sam 3 VR and Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem are tagged as boomer shooters, for instance, but Serious Sam 3 and 4 are not. Why? I would guess that the algorithm is still, you know, algorithming

Or perhaps it's merely struggling to figure out what exactly a boomer shooter is: Why does High Hell appear on the category page, but Hrot—"our favorite gruesome Sovietcore boomer shooter—does not. (High Hell is great, for the record, but is it a boomer shooter? I would say no.) I imagine it will all be sorted in time and the category will continue to grow, especially as Steam users jump in to add the tag to their overlooked favorites.

So congratulations to all the great boomer shooters out there and all the people who love them, and condolences/tough noogies (depending on how you feel about the term) to Noah, who clearly is not going to have his 2024 wish granted. Sorry, bud—maybe 2025 will be your year.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.