The earliest examples of first-person gaming go back to the beginnings of video games themselves. Around 1974, two early developers--Steve Colley and Jim Bowery--worked on separate titles that were undeniably influential to the future of gaming. First, there was Colley’s Maze War, a simple black-and-white puzzle game where players would wander through a maze looking for other avatars, represented by floating eyeballs. When you saw another eyeball, you could shoot it to gain points.
This may sound like brain-dead-level simplicity, but for the early ‘70s, just about all of these things--the first-person view, the avatars, its in-game level map--were firsts. Around the same time, Bowery debuted Spasim, a space flight simulator also set in a first-person view. Like Maze War, movements were slow and simple, and turns could only be done in 90-degree angles. Also like Maze War, it’s significant for being one of the first 3D first-person games ever created. Unfortunately, neither game was released commercially; instead, they were more like radical projects shown off to select university students.