Different Perspectives Within Games

I have been focusing on the different perspectives that can be used in games. The way in which the player views the game is a very important factor that should be considered during the design process of a game. There is a collection of perspectives that can be used when designing your game.


Two Dimensional

In terms of gaming, two dimensional refers to a game world that appears flat to the viewers, with objects that can only move up and down. Classic examples of 2D games include Pong and Super Mario Bros on the NES. Fez broke these boundaries as it is a two-dimensional game that operates in a 3D world and was one of the first of it’s kind. Simple platform games make use of a side on view to show the character moving through the different levels, this is often known as a scrolling view.


A side-scrolling game is one where the player sees a cross-section of a 2D game world. The character sprite often starts on the side of the screen and moves to the right in order to progress through each level. This style was very popular among platformer games. On the other hand, a vertical scroller is displayed in a 2D fashion where the player starts at the top of the game world and works their way to the bottom or vice versa. In a scroller game, the screen often follows the character so that they remain in or near the center of the screen. However, there are some scrollers that position the camera on screen in correspondence to the character’s movement.



Three Dimensional

Whilst 2D games are still played worldwide, 3D games are becoming much more popular. Unlike 2D games, 3D allows game objects to move in three dimensions –  height, width, and depth, just as you would in real life. Sims is effective in being presented as a life simulator in that it uses 3D graphics. Three dimensional games sometimes allow the player to switch between two different views, first person and third person.



First-person refers to the game play perspective which is displayed from the viewpoint of the character. It works as if you were seeing the game from your own eyes and often gives the player an advantage in terms of first person shooters where the player requires a high level of accuracy when shooting an enemy.

first person


Third person perspective refers to that in which the camera is set outside of the characters body. It is different from first-person in that you do not see the game world from the characters point of view, but instead watch over their shoulder as you navigate through the game world. Third person perspective allows for better exploration of the game world as it provides a bigger picture of the characters surroundings.

third person



Aerial view refers to the game play perspective that displays the character and their surroundings from an overhead view. For this reason, it is also known as top-down perspective or bird’s eye view. The first GTA game displays a prime example of this use of perspective where it was used as the standard viewpoint instead of allowing the player to look in any direction.




A context-sensitive perspective is one where the camera angle changes depending on the game play and the sorts of actions that are taking place in the game world. The Batman: Arkham series make use of context-sensitive prompts in order to let the player know when they can perform certain actions such as a silent takedown, as a result of this, it is often said that the player feels more immersed in the game play and can connect more with the character.




Full Motion Video (FMV)

In older games, FMV allowed the player to make a decision based on video footage and then proceed to play another video, based on the decision which they had just made. Dragon’s Lair is one of the first games that used FMV in that the player had to click the correct button at the right time, in order to play the next part of the video and progress through the game.


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