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The first person in video games is not just for shooting

The first-person shot is often used in videogames. In several cases the idea is to amplify the feeling of immersion in the game world, to favor the identification process for which the user enters the protagonist's shoes, or at most in those of an avatar stripped of every personality, ready to be "filled" by that of the player. If I stop and think about the first person, about the gaming experiences that have used it to increase transport and the emotions felt by those who hold the pad, I almost never think about shooters.

From the origins of this genre the choice of this perspective was mainly technical in nature, designed to test the skills of the player. In First Person Shooter, generally linked to a progression from intense and tight rhythms, the goal is to aim and fire quickly and accurately, demonstrating quick reflexes, spatial management, speed of execution. The first person shot, in the FPS, is almost never a "sharing" tool (therefore chosen to bring together character and player), but a sort of mechanical infrastructure around which to build the sense of challenge.

A more immersive point of view

There are, of course, exceptions: games in which the subjective shot stimulates a deeper relationship and participates in the game world and in which, in parallel, it "shoots". On two feet I can think of the three Bioshock, but also the more recent Prey. In those cases the first person is fundamental for the player to focus on the objects of the game world explore it with curious voracity almost as if it were "under his eyes".

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I don't think so it is a coincidence that the titles in question are not, however, defined as "shooters", but – in jargon – " immersive sim ": a categorization that demonstrates how the fundamental value is immersion, and not the act to fire with a rifle. The shooting component, in almost all cases, is secondary, marginal, and almost always "fatigued" in terms of feedback and response of the weapons. These are titles that in no way want to embrace the hyperkinetic rhythms of the best FPS, but rather convey a sort of warlike heaviness, suggesting in the meantime that there may be other ways, in addition to the use of weapons, to overcome obstacles.

The art of involvement

Even with regards to shooters (or, as they have recently been renamed, " sparaspara "), this dichotomy between technicalism and immersion seems obvious to me. Immersive are those shooters who don't just let us shoot them (like the recent Metro Exodus), but who use that kind of shot to enhance the atmosphere, the construction of the context, the beauty of the game world.

adjectives used for "classic" shooters, those that represent a direct evolution of the philosophy of DOOM and members, are very different: frantic, furious, technical. In short, it does not seem to me that there is any correlation between the first-person view and the "taking on" the act of shooting.
It is ironic that the cases in which the subjective shot makes a "more tangible" virtual action are often linked to an exquisitely athletic or sporting act. In racing games the first person amplifies the feeling of presence in sportsmen like Steep he has the same function, even in games where there is an element of Parkour (and I think of Mirror's Edge or Dying Light) that type of camera works to maximize the credibility and perception of the gesture.

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To think that this type of amplification is operated in favor of the shootings is a misleading idea and not very relevant to the reality of things. In the pure FPS I repeat it before moving on to another, the movement is unreal, very fluid, light and mobile as it never will be in reality, not even in that framed by a GoPro .
Bisogna also stop thinking that the process of sensory exaltation of the first person goes in some way in favor of violence.

The most violent titles that come to mind do not have a subjective view. Since Manhunt's time it has been clear that violence, horror, blood are often more effective when viewed in their entirety, from a distance that allows them to grasp the most macabre nuances. It is no coincidence that when writing on a search engine " most violent videogames " most of the results do not include games in first person, and that one of the most cited titles is the wonderful Hotline Miami, advocate of a exaggerated violence, at times almost tarantiniana, but completely stylized.

The great games in first person

Before closing, it will be worthwhile to briefly review some of the first-person experiences that have been most imprinted in the imagination collective of the players. When I think of the first-person masterpieces that made the story of our medium I think of Skyrim and the series The Elder Scrolls I think of Portal and its sequel.

I think of The Witness, I think of Metroid Prime and waiting for its fourth chapter I think of Thief, the aforementioned Mirror's Edge, I think of Gone Home and the so-called " Walking Simulator "(from Ethan Carter to Edith Finch, passing through Virginia, Firewatch, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture), I think of Myst and Riven, I think about the space adventures at No Man's Sky.
And I think, at the end of accounts, which associate the subjective view only and only to products in which you shoot is the symptom of a very limited vision of the video game. Who still does it in 2019, ironically, should try to broaden their views.

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