23 Feb 2022 16:00 - 17:30 Online event


Gaming at War: The Rise of the First-Person Military Shooter
About this event


Speaker: Dr Nathaniel Zetter (University of Cambridge)
The cultural form of the video game began life in Cold War experiments with military computers. The legacy of this curious birthplace persists in video game culture today, and it is particularly visible in ‘first-person shooter’ (FPS) war games, where players take on the role of an individual soldier. This talk traces the development of the military FPS and locates its complex place in digital culture today. Video games’ military origins have not prevented sport from coursing through their emerging culture: communal play and contest shaped early gaming, and today ‘esports’ – competitive, often professionalized video gaming – have converted war games into sports tournaments. Taken seriously, these competitions reveal the centrality of embodiment in video game culture, and its novel intersection of war culture with sport.
The talk starts by isolating the presence of military aesthetics in the FPS: the organization of vision and action the genre has inherited from weapons’ targeting interfaces and that it continues to share with military drones. The present culture of esports wargaming is then examined to theorize how the digital representation of war has been converted into a competitive sport.
The seminar Respondent and Chair will be Dr Siddharth Soni (University of Cambridge).
About the speaker
Dr Nathaniel Zetter is a College Teaching Associate at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His writing on literature, media theory, and digital culture has appeared in Textual Practice, Humanities, and Critical Quarterly, and in the collection Surveillance, Architecture and Control: Discourses on Spatial Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). Articulating Media: Genealogy, Interface, Situation, a collection of essays examining media and language co-edited with James Gabrillo, is due out this year with Open Humanities Press. He is currently at work on his first monograph, a cultural history of the modern intersections between war and sport.
This event will be held virtually. All ticket holders have an opportunity to participate via question submission during the Q&A portion of the seminar.
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Image credit: ESL

Cambridge Digital Humanities

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