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Why I hate first person shooters and from the looks of things you do too


This article was a longtime in the making, people used to ask me all the time to “jump on” Call of Duty or Killzone or Battlefield or any other popular FPS but my response was always the same “I don’t do First Person Shooters”, “Get at me when you’re ready to play Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption or Resident Evil” .

Now I will finally articulate why I hate First Person Shooters; from the looks of things you do too” .

Why I hate First Person Shooters

I, for the most part have never embraced First person shooters and not just shooters, the first person perspective for a basis of a game. Funny enough, I at one time loved the concept of First Person Shooters before there was ever a first person shooter, or at least before I was ever introduced to it.

I remember being younger playing all those side scrolling 2D platformers that were starting to be replaced with what would soon become full-on interactive 3D worlds. Saying to myself it would be phenomenal if a concept like ‘First Person’ could be implemented by developers…lmboo I don’t think I was using words like ‘developers’ back then but in any case I saw an opportunity for a world to be created around a concept that would bring  a more realistic approach to gaming. Actually, is the most realistic, after all if that was you on the Battlefield (no pun) or mission you would not be able to see your whole body, our whole view in life as it stands is in First Person. Racing games for this reason apply this concept as well but guess what I do? Switch to 3rd person view.

But If you know me I’m all about realism so I should have fully embraced this concept right? Wrong! I figured out the problem.

Here’s where developers messed up. Why I liked the whole concept of FPS in the first place was because in my head it was  supposed to sell the illusion of that being me — that I’m controlling myself but that’s not what I get playing these games.  Most of the time it’s not you, you’re playing as someone else while at the same time  trying to imagine it is you, see the conflict? At it’s core what I would have liked for it to do it doesn’t do so I get none of the perks of 3rd person all the while being stifled in first person! Therein lies the problem. In fact to truly pull off this vision all FPS’ would also have to be RPG’s, so that I could really create “me”.

Aside from all that, the truth is I  really just prefer the third person perspective. I appreciate the animations when you’re jumping, running, climbing, or swimming. I  think more memorable stories are told in 3rd person, facial expressions are utilized. Ultimately it’s selling you on what it is, you’re learning about and following a character on his journey that a developer created  from his imagination — there’s no trickery about it, it is what it is. Also in third person I believe you can appreciate the graphics more.

When you’re in first person, since you never see your character I feel there is a disconnect there.  Even controlling your character nothing feels like it’s suppose to feel; a jump does not feel like a real jump, a climb does not feel like a real climb, a run does not feel like a real run.

You remember way more characters and stories in 3rd person than in first. I’m crazy right?  Name one first person shooter that has a memorable likable character with an outstanding story to boot. Go ahead take your time I’ll wait…tick, tick, tick, shoot! I’ll even help you ‘Halo’ with ‘Master Chief’  right? Good one, but  correct me if I’m wrong (and I want you to think about this) wasn’t the adoration for the ‘Chief’ more to  do with his incredible abilities (gameplay) than about him as a character with a legendary story?

Master Chief (Halo Series)

Here’s another game that may come up, ‘Bioshock’  (the first one) but I think it may be the exact opposite of Halo, outstanding story (according to gamers) no legendary main characters. I actually hear more about the “Big Daddies” (antagonists) than the main character. Which reminds me of ‘Killzone’ in that regard where the ‘Helghast’ are more popular than the protagonists.

Developers must see these issues too because they’re seemingly more content to work on the Multiplayer aspects of a game than the Single Player aka the story. The more popular FPS games definitely focus on this and for years have gotten slack for poor story telling. Even if you find a “gem” or two it doesn’t hold up to the memorable, countless characters and stories told in 3rd person; God of War, Uncharted, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, The Last of Us I could go on and on.

One  FPS I did embrace was ‘Perfect Dark’ for the Nintendo 64 (multiplayer not single player), my boy brought it over one day — system and all which ultimately became tradition. I like Perfect Dark, the things you could do strategy wise and the weapons allowed me to ignore the fact I was playing in a first person view. I haven’t come across another game —  first, or 3rd for that matter, that allows for such creativity, diversity and fun. Heat seeking missiles; chasing opponents while you try to steer and navigate through narrow corridors while at the same time they’re running for their life trying to dodge the explosion makes for some hilarious moments. Sticky bombs that you could throw on the wall or on a person, the satisfaction of a screen going black every time someone dies, MAN!  Four player split-screen modes where you could play as teams (2 vs 2) or every man for himself I have to say was pretty impressive.

I even remember you being able to name yourself after each round so friends I played with would come up with the most funny and ridiculous names round after round. One name I recall was “butt on plate” (don’t ask) so whenever he died all you saw on screen was “such and such  killed butt on plate” — hilarious!

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From the looks of things you do too

Now to all you so called FPS “lovers” you hate it too (You ain’t even know it). Well…at least for the same reason I do because history shows you guys don’t even play single player, your butts jumped right into multiplayer almost immediately after opening the package as if SP doesn’t exist lmboo. I wouldn’t be surprised that if you ask the average  gamer who’s “into” first person shooters how was the single player they wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Which begs the question why? Why do you jump straight to MP? Why do you ignore SP? I believe, it’s because we’re not that much different after all and you probably want the same experiences when it comes to story and immersion — which  FPS’  typically don’t deliver.

In a general (gaming) world where single player rules and multiplayer is the add-on,  you —  the FPS gamer have effectively flipped it, in your world SP is the add-on and MP rules. Which tells me great stories and great characters are not why you primarily pick up games in that genre.

I think the only difference between us is you think MP alone is enough, viewing FPS’ as a mindless fun, pick-up-and-play, stress relieving experience. While that may be true I personally don’t think MP alone is worth 60 bucks especially when you have to rely heavily on unpredictable sources — the  internet and the gaming community.

CCU wants to hear from you.

 

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3 Comments

  1. It sounds like the issue being discussed in this article is the matter of videogame immersion, which is being confused with the FPS genre and more generally the first-person camera viewpoint.

    Whilst the first-person viewpoint does lend itself to immersion-creation, it’s not necessarily the only use. Duke Nukem 3D is a good example of an entire first-person game in which the player is explicitly NOT positioned as the protagonist character. God Of War III is another interesting example in that the first-person viewpoint is used for cinematic purposes in one particular scene rather than immersion-creation.

    It’s also worth noting that the first-person viewpoint is not the only effective technique in the immersion-creation toolbox. Even without developer effort, the medium naturally lends itself to immersion. Consider how often you’ve heard someone refer to videogame characters in the first-person, e.g. “I fell down the hole”, “I killed a bunch of zombies”, etc.

    Developers have been utilising a range of techniques for years with the objective of capitalising on this phenomenon, to aid in positioning the player as the protagonist. Some of the more obvious examples are the so-called “silent protagonist” and player-named characters, but even something as simple as the use of player-created Mii’s in Wii Sports and other Wii games can also qualify.

    Personally, I can appreciate both ends of the immersion scale. Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead are two of my favourite games of this generation, and yet neither attempt to put the player under any illusion of living in their depicted worlds. On the other hand, I also have the ability and willingness to embrace whatever immersion-creation tools are offered by a game – however small – as I feel this helps me to connect more deeply with the game.

    For example, in the Zelda franchise, I highly appreciate being given the ability to use my own name for the protagonist. It’s a huge deal to me when characters address me by my own name instead of an arbitrary one chosen by the developers. The silent nature of Zelda’s protagonist also gives me room in which to insert my own personality and imagine my own side of the dialogue. This allows me to experience a lot of immersion in the Zelda franchise despite the lack of first-person perspective. It’s very clear to me that these aspects of the Zelda franchise are deliberate design decisions specifically intended for this purpose. Anyone who complains that “Link doesn’t have enough character development” is missing the point of the Zelda franchise IHMO.

    In the end, the subject of immersion comes down to personal taste. The Occulus Rift is an ideal manifestation of the immersive end of the scale. On the opposite end, we have games like Heavy Rain that tell exciting stories about characters who are very clearly not us. Could a game like Heavy Rain work well using the Occulus Rift? Probably not, since the conflict in ideologies between the hardware and the game are huge, necessitating massive compromises and changes to tie the two extremes end together. In this hypothetical situation, the player would probably inhabit the game world as an unseen ghost who witnesses the events of the characters but has no personal interaction with them beyond the input through the controller.

    As for the author of this article, it sounds like (s)he has a low tolerance towards games that mix immersion-creation techniques and immersion-conflicting elements. I can understand how that would be a problem for some people, but I don’t feel that it can be blamed on the games any more than my own personal inability to be scared by horror games can be blamed on horror games. People just respond differently to different things.

    Sorry for the long post; I’m actually quite passionate about this subject and I wanted to write a lot more, but I must stop before I end up writing a book. :)

  2. 3rd person multiplayer gaming……………ugh. GOW is crap compared to COD.

  3. The floating camera and hovering gun view is currently the least realistic way to play a game. Look down, do you see your feet/body? Thankfully this fake first-person view will be nonexistent in a few years, replaced by virtual reality (real first person view). The Oculus Rift already has a beta version available for purchase, with a complete version coming out in about a year (the castAR glasses are coming out soon also). It will take the consoles a few years to become fully compatible with virtual reality, but they are probably already working on it.

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