Situating gaming as a sonic experience: The acoustic ecology of first person shooters

Mark Nicholas Grimshaw, Gareth Schott

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


To date, little has been written on digital game sound as Games Studies has almost exclusively treated and discussed digital games as a visual medium. This paper explores how sound possesses the ability to create perceptions of a variety of spaces within the game world, thus constituting a significant contributing factor to player immersion. Focusing on First-Person Shooters (FPS), we argue that player(s) and soundscape(s), and the relationships between them, may be usefully construed and conceptualized as an acoustic ecology. An argument is presented that, even though its sonic palette may be smaller, the FPS acoustic ecology emulates real world ecologies as players form a vital component in its construction and maintenance. The process of building a conceptual framework for understanding and testing the function of game sound as an acoustic ecology is broadly outlined, involving the application and extension of a disparate range of media sound theories in addition to the construction of new concepts to account for the unique features of the interactive medium of FPS games.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSituated Play
PublisherDigital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
Publication date1 Sep 2007
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007

Bibliographical note

This paper was presented at the Digital Games Research Association Conference, September 24-28, 2007, Tokyo, Japan. The Digital Games Research Association is available at


  • First-person shooter,sound,acoustic ecology,Conceptual language,Computer games


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