873: FPS Mod
Title text: Wait, that second one is a woman? ...wait, if that bothers me, then why doesn't... man, this game is no fun anymore.
FPS stands for First Person Shooter, which is a type of video game (like Halo or Duke Nukem) in which you are looking at the world from the first person perspective of the character you are controlling. Cueball mods the game which is short for "modify".
FPS games are controversial for their encouraging killing (especially of human beings). One point of the controversy is that, while virtual enemies are just pixels on a screen, real enemies have actual lives, emotions, and the like. In the games, there is a disconnect between the act and its emotional cost, thus leading to the controversy that FPS encourage wanton killing (or violence in general) to solve problems instead of considering the other party. Cueball makes reference to this by adding a mod that gives biographical snippets of the enemy you shoot in the game, thus giving him the perspective of the enemy he just shot. However, the disconnect between the act and the emotional cost fades away, causing Cueball to feel for the enemies he has shot, thus removing any enjoyment he gets from the game.
The above can also be a reference towards making games more realistic. Giving the enemies a life above being mere targets definitely makes the game more realistic, but such a game would not be that enjoyable. This has been explored previously in 772: Frogger.
The title text talks about how gender is portrayed in games. For some people it is more emotionally affecting to kill a woman, as women are considered biologically "weaker" than men by many societies, and societal norms state that men must protect them. Gender equality is a highly debated topic with many different viewpoints, where one's conscious reasoned views may sometimes stand at odds to subconscious feelings. When a player becomes aware that killing women bothers one more than killing men, it exposes an inconsistency in the player's own logic, one that's very uncomfortable to confront.
In the 1993 post-apocalyptic novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, the eco-pacifist residents of San Francisco defeat an invading army using a similar tactic. Rather than engage in armed defense, the family and friends of each dead San Franciscan speak directly to the soldiers who killed them, saying, "My wife was the mother of five children, and I loved her dearly," or "My cousin liked baseball." Eventually the soldiers suffer psychological breakdowns and defect en masse, rather as Cueball starts to do here.
- [Cueball is playing a video game.]
- Game: He once built a treehouse.
- Game: She has 110 unread emails that she was hoping to get to tonight.
- BLAM BLAM
- Game: He was the only one who took care of the plants back at base.
- No one liked my FPS mod that gives you three-second snippets from the bios of people you shoot.
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