Point of View & Video Games: Part 3

The time has finally come for the final segment of Point of View & Video Games. PoV in Video Games are really determined by how you see and interact with the environment around the character you’re playing as. If 1st person is looking direct through the character’s eyes and “feeling” what they feel, and 2nd person is you seeing that character and controlling all of their actions, then 3rd person is when you are seeing that character and controlling them (from an unreliable narrator perspective) but the “world” around you will keep going on if you’re there playing or not.

Essentially, 3rd person is just like 2nd person. You’re still able to develop your story and gather information that is relevant. The key difference between 2nd person and 3rd person is the game space you’re playing in. For example, in Assassin’s Creed 2 (which I talked about in Point of View & Video Games: Part 2) you are the sole player. When you decide to stop playing the game, the world that the game is taking place in stops. The game starts back up and stops when you want. With 3rd person, there is a world that continues and your character presence isn’t required for it to keep going. These 3rd person games are mainly online and multiplayer games. To relate this idea, think about a Tamagachi pet. Whether you were directly doing something with it or not, it was still aging, using the bathroom, getting hungry, and it’s emotions were changing with time. This same logic can be applied to 3rd person video games.

A great example of this type of game is World of Warcraft. This MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is a perfect embodiment of what a 3rd person game is like.

With this game, you modify your character as much as you want and choose what they focus on when it comes to a “story.” However, if you decide to log out of the game for the day, there are still other people playing so the game will not stop when you do. Even if by random chance there was no one on the game at all, of all the many players that their are on WoW, the game would still not stop. The world would still be functioning and continuing alone.

3rd person PoV for stories is when an author uses he, she, or it, when referring to a character, place/location, or other noun in a story. This can be seen through this video game by doing one simple thing: standing still. If your character is in the middle of a town, and you have them stand still, you can narrate the events that are happening with other people playing. “She walked across the dirt road into the tavern.” “He stands staring at a suspicious rock as the elf walks over to him.” This is a great way to determine the difference between 2nd and 3rd person.

3rd person PoV is the most famous PoV to write in by authors and writers. By writing in this perspective, a writer is able to give the reader a great amount of information without compromising what the characters know and don’t know. One way to think about this is an “aside” in a play, where a character reveals information to the audience that other characters don’t hear. Great books that have been written in 3rd person include, but are not limited to:

  • The Harry Potter Series
  • The Hobbit
  • The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Book Thief
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Carrie
  • Alice in Wonderland

The list goes on and on.

From a writing perspective, it’s a great PoV to use when you’re trying to give readers a circle of information and from multiple character perspectives. It’s often considered the “all knowing” narrative form for a good reason.

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