Sam Kriss

War games do something seriously unpleasant to our brains

First-person shooters swallow up your entire consciousness – and real war is starting to take cues from them

Still from first-person shooter Six Days in Fallujah. Credit: © Victura. Featured in War Games at IWM London

Three years ago, I killed several thousand people over the course of a single weekend. Late into the night, I ran around butchering everyone I saw, until by the end I didn’t even feel anything any more. Just methodically powering through it all, through the wet sounds of splattering heads, bodies crumpling, shiny slicks of blood.

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