FPS (2006)

FPS is a first person shooter, but with a twist. The player uses the mouse (right-click to shoot) as a

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F.P.S. Is a 3d-Based Game created by Michael Salmond for the web. There exists a larger version of the game that is part of a gallery installation.

FPS is a first person shooter, but with a twist. The player uses the mouse (right-click to shoot) as a ‘gun’ to shoot targets that randomly appear in a simulation of a police-training mission. To all intents and purposes, FPS is what it seems to be, a game in which you shoot at targets to gain points and complete the ‘mission’. However, there is a conundrum contained in this work - an ethical conundrum.

A player has two forms of targets to shoot, the ‘hostage’ and the ‘criminal’. The difference between ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ is at times very slight and you have to make split second decisions. The player is offered positive and negative reinforcement based on their shooting ‘skill’ - however the point system is what offers the ethical dilemma. When a player shoots a target denoted as a ‘criminal’ positive reinforcement and an upping of your personal score occurs. When a player shoots (by accident or on purpose) a ‘hostage’ target, then the simulation offers them a negative reinforcement but the score increases by a much more significant amount. Herein lies the conundrum, does the player adhere to the spirit and rules of the gaming scenario or do they go for the visceral thrill of shooting everything and gaining a much higher score?

FPS works within these two facets of the video game genre, the concept of realistic simulation where rules must be adhered to or the gamer is ‘punished’ and other more visceral games where shooting pretty much anything that the player encounters is a measurement of survival and success. Within these disparate game environments ‘FPS’ offers one last element - that of asking the player “How Do You Feel” on completion of their task. Video games very rarely directly involve the player or ask them to think of their biological self within the game state or environment. The player enters the immersive environment and is then pulled out at the end and, effectively, returned to their reality and at this point the game assumes a passive role. FPS asks the player directly how they feel, what is their personal level of guilt, pleasure, anxiety and so on. By doing this game refuses to deliver the player back to their world completely without some form of continuation of the game-state.

Michael Salmond 2006

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