virtual voyeurism

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“Bite the serpent’s head off!- so it cried out of me; my horror, my hatred, my loathing, my pity, all my good and bad with one voice out of me.” – Nietzsche, Zarathustra


Today’s video games are hyperrealist and meticulously designed cinematic experiences. The first-person shooter (FPS) is the second-most popular video game genre[1] among gamers, and FPS games possess some of the most profound examples of hyperrealism. The violence in these games is astounding. One of the gentlest people I know freely heaps bullets onto her virtual enemies as often as her personal schedule allows. A woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly in non-virtual reality eagerly awaits loading her latest game to dissolve her enemies with an impossible array of virtual gunfire. It’s fun, this recklessness. It’s also morbid. I eagerly seize the control, wondering why I enjoy playing these games or watching others play them. What instinctive horror does this virtual violence satisfy?


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