This post is an entry into Critical Distance's Blogs of the Round Table January 2012 on the theme of 'Being Other'; it follows up and expands on my original article in German.
The sound, the fury. A rapid succession of explosions, my only ally in this world shouting profanities while emptying a clip of his AK into the dark Chinese market ahead of us. The cover I hide behind suddenly splinters and breaks under the impact of bullets, fired by an unseen attacker, somewhere up ahead in the labyrinth of market stalls. A few direct hits send me sprawling. Frantically I crawl sideways, blood-splatters obscuring my vision. What the hell's going on?
The third-person camera lurches and shakes as I get up and make a dash for a nearby cart, lens-flare and video-compression artefacts obscuring the view. As I stop, the camera crawls back towards me, to stop unnaturally close behind my naked, razor-cut and bleeding body. I can't see who's shooting at me, my surroundings are bleak and ugly and for once in a game, the repeated firefights aren't fun, but chaotic, stressful affairs, with no sense of agency, satisfaction or heroism to them. Why am I voluntarily spending time with something that makes me confused, annoyed and angry?
Being a criminal psychopath sucks.