There are a lot of interesting things you can do when you take the 'S' out of 'FPS'.
By Toby McCasker on July 18, 2013 at 11:12 am
Apart from rolling hard with Doom (oh Doom) on a 486 (oh 486 computers), one of my most formative first-person moments was not a shooter but an adventure game called Normality. Remember Gremlin? Those guys were the titties, man, they made such good stuff.
So there I am locked up in my apartment for whistling a happy tune, and you’re supposed to get out of the apartment. That’s your quest. The first, second, and third time I loaded this baby up, I just hung out in that apartment turning the TV on and off. It was just so cool to be able to effectively “live” in a world like that. One of the best things in an FPS (for me) is the “FP” and I don’t really care if there’s a helluva lot of “S” or not. I just want a cheap holiday.
So when I got reading about Viscera Cleanup, I rejoiced: FPS games where you do not actually shoot anything are so interesting. They have to be, because in the absence of a firearms a game’s designers have to really work the angles. The very act of going “All your guns belong to us” means all that remains is the first-person framework, and an entirely new concept has to be introduced.
It’s a real challenge and I can see why devvy people like doing it. They must get bored with all the guns. But you can’t just go, “Right. This here is now an FPS about whisking eggs.” Because eggs, while awesome, are not fun to whisk. OK they kind of are. This is a terrible example. But still: Hardcore egg whisking is not the cheap holiday I had in mind.
…god damn eggs really do have a million fun uses, I cannot believe I tried to get away with that. Anyway, it’s a pity there’s not much else out there in the emergent sub-genre of FPS (First Person Something). There is of course Warco, an Australian-made indie thingy where you are not the soldier but the guy hefting the camera that documents the soldier(s). It’s kind of like a third-person first-person shooter in a wa- headsplosion.
If you dig deeper into the awful annals of PS2 history, there’s also this one creature they called Michigan: Report From Hell. It’s billed as a survival horror, but Grasshopper made it so it is of course not something you simply explain with two mere words. Words must be invented. It’s a shamboggle of a game, a total randangipang. You are again a cameraman of sorts, but unlike Warco your mission is not one of meta-awareness, but of Japanese-brand pervosity.
You and this loud-ass sound guy basically have to go and follow a reporter around, investigating a severe case of the Stephen King mists. It turns people into hideous leech creatures. Of course that doesn’t matter as much as getting footage of women’s underpants, for which you are awarded more points than you would be if you did your actual job. So you see, why people don’t make more games like this I don’t know. There is always Surgeon Simulator 2013. But does it even count? Your feet are tied to the floor. Something to ponder as winter continues to descend.