May 9, 2012 at 2:31 PM ET
Wednesday is the 20th anniversary of "Wolfenstein 3D," which essentially laid the groundwork for the first-person shooter genre that is alive and well today. To celebrate, game maker Bethesda says the game is available for free to play via your Web browser or iOS device.
The original "Wolfenstein 3D" was developer id Software's first breakout hit. It pioneered smooth, first-person 3-D graphics, and was distributed via the shareware model that was popular in the early 1990s, in which the first chunk of the game was freely spread around, but the later portion required a purchase.
The very first version was created for the PC, and the game has since been ported to a variety of platforms. While id's follow-up, "Doom," would put id and FPSs on the map officially, there's no question about the legacy of "Wolfenstein 3D":
To ensure everyone gets a taste of the action, if they haven't already done so already, the game has been ported for the Web, and is also a free download via Apple's App Store, but for Wednesday only. Starting Thursday, it goes back to its regular price of $1.99.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.