By MuttersomeTaxicab 12 Comments
That's right. Dan Pinchbeck, the creative director for Dear Esther (and I imagine Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs) wrote a book-length analysis of Doom as the prototypical first person shooter. Hard copies haven't actually come out yet, but you can read it for free online.
It starts off kind of rote, cribbing some stuff from Masters of Doom and retreading the boring old "yo, id kinda made that whole FPS thing happen" argument. Once he gets to the shot-by-shot walkthrough of Knee Deep in the Dead, though, it really picks up. Chapter 15 in particular really has some interesting stuff to say about video games and affordances (the things you can do in a game.) One of the more interesting points he makes is that the paper-thin backstory in Doom is exactly the amount of story that game needed, because it got the fuck out of the way of the player and let them get right down to shooting monsters and revelling in the pitch-perfect controls.
I don't really know how many video game studies folk actually hang out on Giant Bomb, but it's absolutely worth a read if you're into stuff like diegesis in video games. I think he has a lot of really cool stuff to say. Again, it's so weird to see Pinchbeck have so much praise for Doom when thechineseroom is clearly about experimenting with the first-person perspective.