As video games and the genre of the first-person shooter have become increasingly detailed and immersive, manufacturers, gamers and critics have often remarked on the realistic experience these games afford players. In November 2002, editors of the satirical publication The Onion mined the phenomenon in their typical nothing-is-sacred manner, conjuring an article about the delayed release of an ultra-realistic first-person shooter called Beltway Sniper: Silent Strike. Such an emphasis on realism and gamer subjectivity coming from so many sources calls for an exploration of how realism is created and understood in these games. As this paper will argue, the impression of realism and interactivity in such first-person shooter (FPS) as id Software’s DOOM and Quake II is not due to the advancement of technologies towards a paragon of interactive reality but from the technological differentiation of games in production, a differentiation that is naturalized as realistic and interactive.
Full Article (PDF):Peter-Bell-Realism-and-Subjectivity.pdf