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Digital war: An empirical analysis of narrative elements in military first-person shooters

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Computer and video games have always been, and remain, substantial parts of the so-called military-entertainment complex. The genre of first-person shooters (FPS) has been closely associated with the military due to its content and gameplay mechanisms. This article presents a content analysis of narrative elements in military-themed FPS games from 1992 to 2010 (N=189). The results show that some conflicts, locations and factions appear more frequently than others. The games portray wars and conflicts from an almost exclusively US-American or western perspective, with the degree of realism differing based on the respective topic and setting. The findings are discussed with regard to the potential effects of military-themed FPS on their players as suggested by the concept of narrative persuasion.

Keywords: content analysis; first-person shooter; military; narrative; realism; war

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of M√ľnster

Publication date: 2012-11-06

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