2nd Person Shooter

Julian Oliver

Until 3 July 2007

Julian Oliver / 2006 – 2007 / Germany / New Zeland

Part of the pleasure of first person shooter games is their simplicity. Their controls and camera are usually intuitive and their goals are clear. Julian Oliver’s “2nd Person Shooter” upends these easy expectations. In “2nd Person Shooter” the player sees through the eyes of her opponent’s bot, while controlling the bot that she sees. A player must stalk her opponent’s bot despite depending on it to know where she is. This skewed perspective is profoundly disorienting; familiar spatial syntax is abandoned and one’s sense of embodiment is entirely compromised. The game forces players to address the unnatural dislocation of their senses occurring in the game space. By insisting on the primacy of the rules of the game over the rules of nature, the work forces players to override their senses to simply navigate the space. Oliver notes that, “in this little experiment … you are on the out- side looking in and, to my great amusement, it’s a complete pain in the arse.”