Game Lab: First-person Shooters and Violence

21Apr2017 14:00 - 17:00


Our Game Lab meets next on Friday, April 21, from 2-5pm. (Room is open from 1-6pm for extended play sessions.) Our topic will be First-person Shooters and Violence to see what the current status of that discussion is.

Games that will be studied during the lab are Battlefield 1 and Doom.

For a lively and broad discussion, we suggest that you select your own reading from a pool of relevant texts. Just follow your interest and instinct. That way we can point each other to interesting passages in the various readings that we've done.

Here are the texts I propose, all of which you can access through this dropbox folder:

  • Alexander Galloway's chapter "Origins of the First-Person Shooter" in the book Gaming: Essays on Algrithmic Culture. This chapter focuses on the aesthetic lineage of first-person images. So that would be an interesting read for those who are interested in first-person shooters as an art form.
  • Dan Pinchbeck's 2013 book on Doom, the game that more or less defined the FPS genre. The book addresses genre conventions but also questions of violence.
  • Christopher John Ferguson. "The Good, The Bad and the ugly: A Meta-analysis Review of Positive and Negative Effects of Violent Video Games." Psychatr Q (2007): 309-316. - This is social science research that rejects the claim that video games cause aggressive behaviour. Good for those of you who'd like to have better arguments against the video game violence hypothesis.
  • the book Video Games edited by Roman Espejo. The first two chapters show the two sides of the debate pretty well. Chapter 2 refutes the certain arguments on video game violence. Interesting read.
  • Katherine Isbister's book How Games Move Us. This is just one book in a wider trend of publications that try to explore different emotional reactions to games (besides fear and aggression) such as empathy. The book has some very interesting passages on the indie game Journey.

We are looking forward to playfully thinking with you.

Toni Pape (

Published by  ASCA