Ever Heard Of A 2nd Person Shooter?

Ever Heard Of A 2nd Person Shooter?

Neither have we. But at this week’s Byteside the panel spent a little time wondering what a 2nd-person shooter might look like. Would it be a literary experience where you simply observe the action performed by someone else? Or could it be an art experiment where you see the game through the eyes of your opponent?

After that, a plan was made to get a team together for the next Game Jam and try to pitch a 2nd person shooter into the mix. Likelihood that’ll happen? Not much.

The show was all about the FPS this week, so this was just one of a few weird interludes while exploring what makes a first-person shooter tick. David Hollingworth from Atomic, Richie Young from GameArena.com.au, and Jeremy ‘Junglist’ Ray were on the panel. Consoles vs PCs, the milestone evolutions of FPS, and the pros and cons of multiplayer were all on the agenda.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.


  • How about a second-person 2-player co-op shooter. The game is played looking through the eyes of the other player. I think this would be hilariously difficult.

    Need to be on separate screens though (that you can’t see the other persons), would be kinda pointless as a split screen game.

    • All right here’s the quiz which of these sounds most like the text or voice over you encounter in a so-called “First person shooter?”

      a) “Red Warrior shot the potion.”
      b) “I have selected Expert Difficulty”
      c) “You have selected Expert Difficulty”

      Clearly B sounds awkward for in game text. This is because “Person” refers to the narrator of the story, not the player character.

      a) is written in 3rd Person
      – A story is told about a character by someone who is not that character (a third party to the action).
      Ex. “Link picked up the Ocarina of time…”

      b) is written in 1st Person
      – Someone tells their personal story.
      Ex. “I sunk your battleship.”

      c) Written in 2nd Person
      -The story is told as if the events are happening to YOU.
      Ex. “You have defeated the vile Red Falcon and saved the universe. Consider yourself a hero.”

      You are the player, sometimes you play under your own handle like in so-called “first person shooters,” sometimes you control a character like Mario, Link or Sonic. The game is the “narrator.”

      It never tells you about it’s progress or state. Could you imagine if your Xbox told you something in the first person like “I just whooped your ass biatch?”

      First person shooters actually ARE 2nd person shooters.

      “You picked up 20 shotgun shells.”
      “You died.”
      “Your kill ratio is 10/1.”

      Someone in the terminology department confused the player character with the narrator along the way.

      • Aaaand, fail.

        “First person” doesn’t refer to the narrative perspective of the story, but rather the gameplay perspective (which is of immediate and mechanical concern to the player). Without the character that shoots the enemy and picks up the items and progresses through the level, there isn’t much narrative to be had.

        The narrator is in second person, because it’s someone narrating to “you” the player as well as “you” the character… but we don’t classify games based on their narrative standpoint.

  • There used to be an old arcade game called “Dragon’s Lair” that was played second person, back in the 80’s.

    Essentially, you played the game as if watching from a fixed camera. You would walk in from one side and make your way through that section of the level, until you moved onto the next camera set a little further ahead.

  • Can’t see the vid at work, but I will throw in my two-cents nonetheless.

    If the term “3rd-person shooter” comes from the term “third-person narrative”, then wouldn’t “second-person narrative” be the obvious foundation to the idea of a “2nd-person shooter”?

    Second-person narrative tends to read like a voice inside your head. Sort of stuff you’d read in interactive fiction. Here’s an example from the relating wikipedia page:

    You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. —Opening lines of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City (1984)

    With that said, I don’t think you can really build a “2nd-person shooter” in the same way as we understand an FPS or 3rd-person shooter to be.

    I think most games already utilise a 2nd-person narrative story already, where the voice in our head is the game itself and it is presenting us with the story. We the player, are just perpetually advancing through it.

    In all honesty, the whole idea is just cheap wordplay nonsense.

  • It would be done with comic-book esque panels. Each one a different level with only one viewpoint and 30 seconds of gameplay to each one

  • While still in an FPS skin, Perfect Dark (N64) had a ‘Counter-Op’ mode which pitted you as a generic enemy guard against the other player who was attempting to complete the mission. It was essentially deathmatch, but with the interesting twist of being given the attributes of typical AI battle fodder – very little health, infinite ammo, and the ability to spawn around corners from the protagonist.

    The other concept that springs to mind is cinematic camera mode in the GTA games, usually a fixed pane or rotation point attached to a wall or vehicle.

    I guess in a game design sense 2PS is a difficult area since if you’re put in the shoes of another character it’s simpler to just make it FPS, and similarly with a disembodied camera becoming 3PS.

  • That was good, I watched the whole 64 minutes of it :0 We need more panel shows where the hosts drink…

    Anywho, I think if you were to pull it off, the idea of a second person shooter could be a good laff, like maybe a bumper car type game where you have to knock the opponent off the edge, but you can only see what they’re seeing…

  • What about a game where you look intothe face of your character, able to see only enemies behind him through the camera. You could move and shoot 360 degrees, but not up or down, and the characters face could change with losing health (I.e blood, cuts, wounds).

    In fact, I would love to make that game, but I am not good at making games with flash. It could also make a good iPhone game, but not a full console game.

  • Anyone played The Devil Inside?

    The premise was something like a reality TV show following the exploits of a male detective who could transform into a female demon hunter who went around blasting zombies (I think one of the original Alone in the Dark guys was behind the concept).

    It had the interesting idea of the cameraman following you around so you could either play standard third person from a flying camera or view yourself through the camera (in which case hitting the cameraman would cause bursts of static on the screen and backing into him could cause some awkward closeups)

    A nifty game despite some glitches, but sadly not one that plays nice with post-Win98 systems that I’ve found (especially since the patch to fix the major crash bugs refuses to run under newer OS environments)

    Actually it would be interesting to adapt something like that to a co-op Stuntman type game where one player is the actor/stuntman/etc. and the other has to keep the camera pointing the right way – like how some of the FPS machinima are done (Red Vs Blue etc.)

  • Know how you’ve got snipers and their spotters? Well you’re a spotter. There you go, 2nd Person Shooter. (Might actually be fun )

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