Shooter games have been a popular form of entertainment for decades, captivating gamers across the globe with their intense action and immersive gameplay. In these games, sometimes called "shoot 'em up" games, the player shoots bullets or other projectiles at the enemies.
One of the first, and probably the most famous, arcade games, Space Invaders, was a shooter in which you have to destroy hordes of aliens. Shooter games are addictive because they tap into our innate desire for competition and accomplishment. They give players a sense of control and power that is difficult to find in real life. In shooter games, players are given a clear objective, and their success is determined by their ability to complete it. Speed and adrenaline are part of the deal: if games are not fast, they are not shooters. Robotron: 2084, released in 1984, is a perfect example.
In the early days of gaming, we had primarily 2D games, like Uridium for the Commodore 64 or the arcades Gradius and Xevious. There was a specific trend for space shooters with vertical or horizontal scrolling. Vertical scrolling shoot 'em up include Xenon, Hybris, and the legendary Xenon 2: Megablast for the Amiga, released in 1989. Horizontal scrolling shooters include R-Type, Factor 5's Katakis, or Armalyte for the Commodore 64. The arcade Star Wars is an excellent example of a space shooter with a first-person point of view.
But it's not just about space shooters. There is a particular sub-genre of run and gun games, or platform-shooters, like Konami's Contra or the famous Turrican developed for C64 and Amiga, or Gunstar Heroes for the Mega Drive/Genesis. Anyway, not all platform shooters can be considered shoot 'em ups. It depends if shooting is part of the core mechanics or not.
To mention top-down view shooters, we should remember the Alien Breed series by Team17.
Finally, we must close this overview by mentioning the genre that revolutionized PC gaming and made PC games a multi-million business: 3D first-person shooters. Everything changed when id Software launched Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, and one year later, Doom. After that, every studio tried to launch a 3D FPS. Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and of course, Quake are just a few examples.
Shooters is a very generic group that includes a lot of games. You can find a lot of titles here. You can browse and see what you like most.