A Different Perspective

Different perspectives are often analyzed in literature, but are a neglected topic in terms of videogames.  Although both genres depict the same types of perspectives, ranging from first person to third person, the effect they have in the different outlets is shocking.

First person perspective refers to a narrative mode where the character speaks of and about himself. In literature, this perspective is seen as the ideal. It allows readers to fully connect with speaker, who is narrating the plot, telling the reader what is going on: “I went to the mall and now I am having dinner.” However, in videogames this perspective takes on an entirely different role. First person perspective videogames allow the player to take on a more active position: “Should I take this elevator? No I don’t think so. Should I shoot that zombie? I think I’m going to.” Rather than in literature where this perspective tells the reader about the plot, as a gamer you get to create that plot. Although both these viewpoints are classified as first person, one can see the variations between the two.

However, third person perspective does little to differentiate itself between the two genres. Third person perspective allows gamers to control a character outside of themselves. Oftentimes, you are positioned behind your character on the screen, and you are looking at your character’s back for most the game. This allows players to see a broader range of surroundings and in a sense is more informative. Similarly in literature, third person narrative speaks upon different people and events, often times from an unnamed and all-knowing narrator. Both these outlets convey a surplus of information to the reader or gamer, because more is able to be seen and known.

It came as a wakeup call to see the stark differences the exact same type of perspective can convey, simply depending upon if it is featured in a videogame or literature. Its role in a game or book can be completely different, as well as the advantages and disadvantages it possesses. What do you think if the most effective type of perspective in terms of a videogame and why? How does that opinion differ from your opinion of the same perspective utilized in literature?

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