Slowly but surely I start to like Digg. It is Web 2.0 or better Web 1.0 on speed.

A Digg user sent me a link to a very interesting post on Angr Robot in which he states that the genre of first person shooter is bound to die because for some reasons. The two most important arguments of him are: you get motion sickness and it is too complicated for newbie gamers.

First, the newbie problem.

First person games and newbie gamers

Although I can relate to the problem of complex controlling situations I also know that this is a problem each and every interface has – not only game interfaces. And the success of Apple because of their well designed UI’s are a good example for the lack of good designs in general.

Now, I have to admit that I am no console gamer but a PC gamer. So I don’t know how the dual stick controlling in fact works. Nevertheless it doesn’t sound too intruiging to me. But after many years I still like the PC style of control. The mouse is for the viewpoint and firing, the keyboard is for the movement and the rest. Simple as that. And for me it works very well.

But this doesn’t release each and every designer from the task to create an interface or a control that is suitable and easy for everyone – at least on the console. But this is not a problem of the genre or games per se but the execution and programming. Because otherwise you could say that operating systems per se are or were bound to die because they were complex as hell (DOS anyone?)

Now to the motion sickness.

The motion sickness and movies

In its core the motion sickness problem is one I am only too aware of – since this also happens to me. And while I think this is a major problem I also think that Angry Robot misses the point somehow, although he mentions it.

I believe the main problem of motion sickness (ms) seems to be a wrong camera angle used in the game, as Angry Robot says but not develops. I am not quite sure if this is the sole problem but I experienced heavy ms with Half Life 2 while Bioshock for example was no problem for me. Since both games are first person games I can’t say, it is the genre itself or the view that causes it but more a minor difference between them – as the camera angle.

Nevertheless Angry Robot develops the motion sickeness argument with a different example of point of view shots in movies.

He continues that a movie, completely shot seen through the eyes of one character, is disturbing and doesn’t work at all. Moreover our mental image puts us closer when we see the character than we see through his eyes. In other words, the true first person view in movies is in fact the third person view.

I am on his side with movies in general. I also think and know it doesn’t work. But again in his argument he misses one important point or better difference: a game is not a movie.

While you can somehow use elements from movies you can’t compare them side to side because a movie will never be one thing: interactive.

When we see a movie through the eyes of a character it is disturbing, but when we see the action through the eyes of a game character it is – at least for me – not. Why? Because the character is in fact me. Of course, as in Halo or Half Life, the characters have sometimes voices, a look and a past (though you only know the looks of Freeman from the cover). But in the end I control what he/she or it does. The figure acts on my commands. This is the major difference between a game and a movie. Or: between a movie and a first person game.

On the other hand, I don’t know if the first person games are bound to die. At least I believe first person games will prevail because, if well executed as in Bioshock, they give you a feeling and an athmosphere no movie or third person game can simulate – a feeling of immediate experience.


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