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Game Past/Future: Narrative and Phenomenological Time in First-Person-Shooters

Abstract

In this paper, I propose a synthesis of Merleau-Ponty’s and Ricoeur’s temporal models to describe how first-person-shooters suggest human time. Merleau-Ponty’s model of phenomenological time identifies the movement generated by perception itself. Ricour’s model of narrative time seeks to bridge individual and cosmological time. Their synthesis suggests how human time is experienced in some video games as the progressive narrowing down of the possibilities embodied in a new game space, or the movement of what Merleau-Ponty calls the pre-reflective to the reflective, and Ricour calls mimemis1 to mimesis3. It further accounts for how perceptions of time experienced in games extend beyond game play itself.

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