Art is twice-over about perspective: people have different perspectives on art, and art offers different perspectives on the world. I posit that the objective viewpoint is only the amalgamation of a variety of subjective points cobbled together. Video games offer a unique manipulation of perspective inasmuch as a player is both a character and a player simultaneously. That is to say, when I play Splinter Cell, I “am” Sam Fischer: a highly trained, top secret clandestine operative on a mission of international import… but I am also a non-spy guy just sitting in his living room, eating pizza and drinking soda and playing a video game.
I first noticed the manipulation of perspective while playing (of all games) Duke Nukem 3D. I remember that game as one of the first I played with the ability to mouse-look up and down (in contrast to Doom and Wolfenstien3D). I noticed that when I fell from a very high height (after using the jetpack), my own legs would go icy and I would feel a little as though I were falling (not to mention a tremendous rush of adrenaline, a deep tension in the pit of my stomach, etc.). The surprise was this: playing a game in which I either died a lot or was invulnerable could make me suddenly and deeply aware of my fragile mortality. This opened worlds of new ideas, experiments, and possibilities; the vastness of the possible implications still excites me.