The first-person shooter (FPS), with its subjective view point and relentless action, gives its players an intense, often violent, virtual experience. There has been considerable debate about the effects of this mediated experience. Of particular concern is whether these games stage a propaganda campaign for the interests of governments and the military–industrial complex. Some fear that these games are leading us toward a perpetual state of war. However, such discussions have usually focussed on a very narrow selection from the FPS genre. This article examines a large sample, over 160 individual titles, of FPSs with a contemporary setting. The enemies presented by these games are analyzed and found to be far wider than a narrow examination of games based on topical conflicts would suggest, being instead inspired by a range of political, cultural, and literary sources. Any analysis of FPS games needs to take this diversity into account.
- first-person shooter