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

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Abstract:

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

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/jgvw.4.3.215_1

Affiliations: University of M√ľnster

Publication date: 2012-11-06

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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