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Predatory Vision

Galloway makes an interesting distinction between the subjective shot in video games and the subjective shot in film writing that “What was predatory vision in the cinema is now simply ‘active’ vision […] Where film uses the subjective shot to represent a problem with identification, games use the subjective shot to create identification.  While film has thus far used the subjective shot as a corrective break through and destroy certain stabilizing elements in the film apparatus, games use the subjective shot to facilitate an active subject position that enables and facilitates the gamic apparatus” (Galloway 69).  Interestingly, that which was marginalized in film is made natural in first-person shooter games: the predatory vision.  Simply from the name of the genre, first-person shooter games make explicit the predator gaze as the player engages in hunting, shooting, and killing which then creates joy for the player as they earn more points, health, etc.  The predator of films is unacceptable and distinct from the logic of film.  The audience does not want to and is unable to assimilate the predator, however the use of the subjective shot forces the audience into identification with the predator.  It is simply because violence and predation is unwelcome and outside of the logic and normalcy of film that the subjective shot is uncomfortable – it makes the audience take almost direct action in the predation; they feel as though they are the predator but unwillingly.  In FPS games however, there is no audience but a voluntary individual, or a group of individuals, engaging in the predation.  They accept the logic of the game’s violence so the subjective shot is not only natural, but seen as the best and easiest mode of view.  



4 thoughts on “Predatory Vision

  1. It seems as though you brought up a very important point when discussing the difference between first person view in movies and in video games. While being able to see the exact view of the protagonist definitely connects you to the character, this is still limited in films. This is because we are simply viewers and may or may not feel attached to the actions that the character makes. Using Galloway’s example, maybe we do not necessarily agree with the gun being pointed at Constance in Hitchcock’s Spellbound, but that does not matter because the gun will be pointed at her either way and we will see this in first person. Since we have little personal connection with the villain in that film, we may feel disconnected from the action, even though it is shot in first person point of view. The same type of scene in a video game would be completely different. This is because it would be up to the individual to choose to point the gun and then choose to point the trigger. This gives a much closer attachment to the storyline and its characters. If we feel as though we can change this, we can choose to be the predator or not,

    Posted by jamesste | June 11, 2013, 3:33 pm
  2. When I think about the difference of the first person point of view in movies as opposed to video games, I think of it as a ride. A movie is like strapping yourself into the seat of a roller coaster and letting go. The track is already laid out before you and whether you like it or not, you’re going to follow it. A video game, on the other hand, is like buckling into the seat of a car. Start it up and the possibilities are endless, you can go anywhere. The decision of how fast and where you go is completely up to you. Since you are interacting with the car, a larger connection is made than the roller coaster. Perhaps it is for this reason that first person video games are among the most popular games ever made.

    Posted by sccrdude540 | June 13, 2013, 6:17 pm
  3. I really enjoyed the fact that Galloway shows the differences between using the subjective shot in video games and using it in movies. I like that you talk about the reasons that this point of view works in video games but not as often in movies. I definitely agree that the audience having a subjective view of the predator can be uncomfortable because they are not voluntarily in that position. While I never really feel this way when I am experiencing this point of view in a movie, I can see how someone else would. I would also add that in FPS games not only is the person voluntarily in this position, but it also improves the experience of the game for them–making it feel more real.

    Posted by sierrasu | June 15, 2013, 12:10 am
  4. I think all of you’re points on this are really interesting, and it makes me wonder why is there such a large difference in voluntarily being in first POV and being forced into it through film? Obviously in the game we take charge directly over the actions taken, i.e. who to shoot, when to shoot, when to run. In film however, we are still volunteers. We choose to watch the film but do not have control over it. So is it only when we completely volunteer to be violent (albeit virtually) that it is acceptable? Film and video games depict often (but certainly not always) totally fictional violence but one is seen as more disturbing than the other. What does this voluntary participation say about society?

    Posted by emmajani | June 17, 2013, 12:16 pm

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