The ‘First Person Shooter’ Perspective: A Different View on First Person Shooters, Gamification, and First Person Terrorist Propaganda

During the 2019 Christchurch attack, the perpetrator livestreamed footage from a helmet-mounted camera. The aesthetic similarity of the attack footage to first-person shooter (FPS) videogames has led to speculation that this might have somehow ‘gamified’ the attack. Generally, the argument for this is that the attack footage (1) imitates or resembles FPS games, gamifying attacks (2) increasing the affective appeal of propaganda by presenting it as play and thereby (3) increasing the salience of these attacks within gaming communities. This article challenges these notions. It argues that the FPS genre should not be associated with such footage due to visual similarity and is better considered in relation to film. The idea that such footage was purposefully shot to look like an FPS is unsupported, and more likely the result of practical considerations. While the framework of gamification might be useful, it should rest on interactivity, rather than aesthetic similarity.

Tags: Christchurch, First Person Shooter, Gamification, Propaganda