Third Person Point of View

Games as Psychology Lessons; A Different Perspective, 3  (Page 1)

Gear of War 3 (Third Person Point of View)


Not too much need be said about the third person point of view because for all intents and purposes it is very similar to the first person point of view. There are a few key differences, however. These being:

Semi-Associated: Because we are not the character ourselves (we are set slightly off from them) we are not so immediately involved with our surroundings and this means that we have room for more thought. We are more readily able to take the time to question our actions and to consider strategy as opposed to all-out action.

Better View: Because we are able to see the character in the environment with third person point of view games (as opposed to First Person point of view games, where all we really see is the environment itself) we are better able to analyse our position relative to various parts of the map / game world. This increases spatial orientation and makes it easier for us to move with more precision.

Semi-Impulsiveness: we still make impulse decisions but we have more information to make those decisions on because of the better view.

Semi-risk: same as above

Overall: Semi-Associated, Better View, Spatial orientation, semi-Impulsiveness, semi-risk hird Person Point of View

Starcraft 2 (The Top-Down . Isometric Perspective)


 Third Person Point of View

The king of strategy games could not work without an isometric or a top-down view. Why? Because the degree of control and strategy required to play the game is only possible from the completely dissociated viewpoint. Let’s take a look.

Big View: This view point allows us to see near enough everything. We are aware of a multitude of both allies and enemies, as well as buildings and resources. We can see very clearly the distance between objects and where different squads are heading.

Ability to perceive development: Because we can see the distance between objects and the direction of their travel, we are able to imagine how a situation will develop. This means we can plan aheadStrategising: Because we can plan ahead we are always doing so, thinking several steps down the line. We are future-proofing. Essentially, the decisions we make in the moment are to take effect later down the line. Consider how contrasting this is to the in-the-moment feel of a FPS game.

Complete Dissociation: Because we are viewing the game world from a long way back, we do not feel as involved as we do in other games. We see only the big picture, we do not have a close relationship to any one character or group.

Overall: Big View, Ability to perceive development, strategy, dissociation.

Street Fighter 4 (Side view)


The side view is related to both the top-down view and the third person view. It is related to the former because we are dissociated and get a clear view of everything that is happening in the game, and to the latter because we are closely related to a specific character and so are involved in the action to a fairly high degree. This perspective makes us think in the following ways.

Third Person Point of View

Spatial Orientation: Because we are looking at a 2D image, we essentially have less visual information to consider. This means that we can pay closer attention to the view we do have and so helps to produce a clarity of spatial orientation.

Possibilities: Again, because we are given a limited amount of information, we are able to consider every possibility that might occur from our point of view. This means that we can consider multiple possibilities at once (which is why Street Fighter is so heavily based around the ability to see and to limit your opponent’s options).

Semi-Dissociated: With most side-on games, we are at a point of semi-dissociation. For instance, when we play Street Fighter 4, we are very clearly in control of 1 character, but we do not feel things through them as we do in a FPS. So it is that we are involved in the action, but we are also permitted a degree of separation that helps us to think and strategise more clearly.

Overall: Spatial Orientation, clarity of thought / perception, ability to see possibilities, semi-dissociated

Third Person Point of View

So, once again, we have

First Person:  Quick decisions / impulsiveness / risks / choice of view / associated.

Third Person: Semi-Associated, Better View, Spatial orientation, semi-Impulsiveness, semi-risk

Top Down: View, Ability to perceive development, strategy, dissociation.

Side: Spatial Orientation, clarity of thought / perception, ability to see possibilities, semi-dissociated

Okay, so there we have the four main game perspectives and the way in which they effect how we think when we play a game.

Actually, we have a hell of a lot more than that. For these four perspectives are not just perspectives in gaming, they are key perspectives different types of personalities have on life, which is exactly what we shall look at next.

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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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