Life Lessons From Gaming; A Different Perspective

 Games as Psychology Lessons; A Different Perspective

Games of Life Episode 5

The game of life series uses videogames to inspire and empower personal development. In this episode we shall look at why different perspectives in games naturally produce different gameplay experiences, how those gameplay experiences relate to real life personality traits, and how you can easily change your personality at any moment by understanding and utilising the natural psychological laws of perspectives

Games As Psychology Lessons: The Perspectives


Without doubt, the choice of perspective is one of the most fundamentally important design decisions a video game developer can make. More than this, however, perspectives are also one of the most fundamental factors in determining an individual’s personality and one of the key means of  improving personality.   In order for us to make real-life use of the different perspectives in games, let us first discuss the application of perspectives in games themselves so as to come to a clear understanding and agreement of the natural properties and strengths and weaknesses of each perspective (First Person, Third Person, Top Down, Isometric and Side-On).

As soon as the choice of perspective is made, the designer forces upon a game a set of laws and strengths and weaknesses that will effect every single part of the game. These are…

 Isometric and Top-Down

(Starcraft / Civilization)

life lessons

Strengths: The player is more in control than in all other games. They can see huge maps, the precise locations of enemies and other objects, have more control over a group of resources and can more easily see how a situation will develop (in comparison to an FPS for instance, where often they can only see an enemy once being shot at).

Weaknesses: The player feels out of the action. They are viewing the environment from a long way away. There is little visceral thrill and players are generally slower to respond. life lessons

Overall: Player is completely in control but feels less involved in the action and environment. This is the most effective view for planning and strategising but the least effective for pure action.

Side-On Point of View(Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter 4)

Strengths: Players are closely involved with the character (similar to Third Person) and are involved with the environment /game world though a little removed compared to First Person. The side-on view allows for a clearer view of the character than all other perspectives.

Weaknesses: Limited view and slight dissociation (it is as though we are looking at the character rather than being them).

Overall: The side-on view is a view of mild separation between the gamer and their character. It provides a very clear view that allows for a fairly high degree of planning and strategising (though not as much as Top-Down and Isometric) and it does allow for a sense of action and involvement with the game world, though nowhere near as much as third person and first person games.

These two views are most commonly used for games that require planning and strategy, like puzzle games, fighting games and Real Time Strategy games. The remaining two views, third person and first person, are used to produce a much more immersive and  visceral sense of action. These two view shall be looked at when Game of Life Episode 5 continues.



Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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