“desperate to escape the unrelenting nature of a corporeal exisence”
December 30, 2019 12:17 PM Subscribe
In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, author Jamil Jan Kochai shares his short story, 'Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain'.
“In the process of reading, “I,” the reader, becomes “you,” the addressee. I’ve always had a similar feeling of intimate alienation while playing video games, especially first-person shooters, where, in certain moments of intense gameplay, like a fire fight or a raid, you become totally immersed and feel as if it were “you” in the game, shooting and running and being shot. For me this sense of becoming the shooter in first-person gameplay was often disrupted by the depiction of the enemies in video games like Call of Duty. There I am in the game, playing as a white soldier, and all of a sudden I’m murdering an Afghan man who looks just like my father. Or even like me. My status as the hero facing the enemy, as the subject facing the object, falls apart. “I shoot you” becomes “I shoot me.” I wanted to capture that sort of alienating intimacy in my story.”In a follow up interview, Jamil expands on his thoughts on the intimate alienation of video games.
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