The Ethics Of Computer Games

Author: Miguel Sicart
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262261537
Size: 35.92 MB
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Despite the emergence of computer games as a dominant cultural industry (and the accompanying emergence of computer games as the subject of scholarly research), we know little or nothing about the ethics of computer games. Considerations of the morality of computer games seldom go beyond intermittent portrayals of them in the mass media as training devices for teenage serial killers. In this first scholarly exploration of the subject, Miguel Sicart addresses broader issues about the ethics of games, the ethics of playing the games, and the ethical responsibilities of game designers. He argues that computer games are ethical objects, that computer game players are ethical agents, and that the ethics of computer games should be seen as a complex network of responsibilities and moral duties. Players should not be considered passive amoral creatures; they reflect, relate, and create with ethical minds. The games they play are ethical systems, with rules that create gameworlds with values at play. Drawing on concepts from philosophy and game studies, Sicart proposes a framework for analyzing the ethics of computer games as both designed objects and player experiences. After presenting his core theoretical arguments and offering a general theory for understanding computer game ethics, Sicart offers case studies examining single-player games (using Bioshock as an example), multiplayer games (illustrated by Defcon), and online gameworlds (illustrated by World of Warcraft) from an ethical perspective. He explores issues raised by unethical content in computer games and its possible effect on players and offers a synthesis of design theory and ethics that could be used as both analytical tool and inspiration in the creation of ethical gameplay.

Beyond Choices

Author: Miguel Sicart
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262317133
Size: 17.98 MB
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Today's blockbuster video games -- and their never-ending sequels, sagas, and reboots -- provide plenty of excitement in high-resolution but for the most part fail to engage a player's moral imagination. In Beyond Choices, Miguel Sicart calls for a new generation of video and computer games that are ethically relevant by design. In the 1970s, mainstream films -- including The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, and Taxi Driver -- filled theaters but also treated their audiences as thinking beings. Why can't mainstream video games have the same moral and aesthetic impact? Sicart argues that it is time for games to claim their place in the cultural landscape as vehicles for ethical reflection. Sicart looks at games in many manifestations: toys, analog games, computer and video games, interactive fictions, commercial entertainments, and independent releases. Drawing on philosophy, design theory, literary studies, aesthetics, and interviews with game developers, Sicart provides a systematic account of how games can be designed to challenge and enrich our moral lives. After discussing such topics as definition of ethical gameplay and the structure of the game as a designed object, Sicart offers a theory of the design of ethical game play. He also analyzes the ethical aspects of game play in a number of current games, including Spec Ops: The Line, Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, Fallout New Vegas, and Anna Anthropy's Dys4Ia. Games are designed to evoke specific emotions; games that engage players ethically, Sicart argues, enable us to explore and express our values through play.

Play Between Worlds

Author: T. L. Taylor
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262250543
Size: 22.68 MB
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In Play Between Worlds, T. L. Taylor examines multiplayer gaming life as it is lived on the borders, in the gaps -- as players slip in and out of complex social networks that cross online and offline space. Taylor questions the common assumption that playing computer games is an isolating and alienating activity indulged in by solitary teenage boys. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), in which thousands of players participate in a virtual game world in real time, are in fact actively designed for sociability. Games like the popular Everquest, she argues, are fundamentally social spaces.Taylor's detailed look at Everquest offers a snapshot of multiplayer culture. Drawing on her own experience as an Everquest player (as a female Gnome Necromancer) -- including her attendance at an Everquest Fan Faire, with its blurring of online -- and offline life -- and extensive research, Taylor not only shows us something about games but raises broader cultural issues. She considers "power gamers," who play in ways that seem closer to work, and examines our underlying notions of what constitutes play -- and why play sometimes feels like work and may even be painful, repetitive, and boring. She looks at the women who play Everquest and finds they don't fit the narrow stereotype of women gamers, which may cast into doubt our standardized and preconceived ideas of femininity. And she explores the questions of who owns game space -- what happens when emergent player culture confronts the major corporation behind the game.

Play Matters

Author: Miguel Sicart
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262325969
Size: 60.81 MB
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What do we think about when we think about play? A pastime? Games? Childish activities? The opposite of work? Think again: If we are happy and well rested, we may approach even our daily tasks in a playful way, taking the attitude of play without the activity of play. So what, then, is play? In Play Matters, Miguel Sicart argues that to play is to be in the world; playing is a form of understanding what surrounds us and a way of engaging with others. Play goes beyond games; it is a mode of being human. We play games, but we also play with toys, on playgrounds, with technologies and design. Sicart proposes a theory of play that doesn't derive from a particular object or activity but is a portable tool for being--not tied to objects but brought by people to the complex interactions that form their daily lives. It is not separated from reality; it is part of it. It is pleasurable, but not necessarily fun. Play can be dangerous, addictive, and destructive. Along the way, Sicart considers playfulness, the capacity to use play outside the context of play; toys, the materialization of play -- instruments but also play pals; playgrounds, play spaces that enable all kinds of play; beauty, the aesthetics of play through action; political play -- from Maradona's goal against England in the 1986 World Cup to the hactivist activities of Anonymous; the political, aesthetic, and moral activity of game design; and why play and computers get along so well.

Values At Play In Digital Games

Author: Mary Flanagan
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262324458
Size: 25.60 MB
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All games express and embody human values, providing a compelling arena in which we play out beliefs and ideas. "Big ideas" such as justice, equity, honesty, and cooperation -- as well as other kinds of ideas, including violence, exploitation, and greed -- may emerge in games whether designers intend them or not. In this book, Mary Flanagan and Helen Nissenbaum present Values at Play, a theoretical and practical framework for identifying socially recognized moral and political values in digital games. Values at Play can also serve as a guide to designers who seek to implement values in the conception and design of their games. After developing a theoretical foundation for their proposal, Flanagan and Nissenbaum provide detailed examinations of selected games, demonstrating the many ways in which values are embedded in them. They introduce the Values at Play heuristic, a systematic approach for incorporating values into the game design process. Interspersed among the book's chapters are texts by designers who have put Values at Play into practice by accepting values as a design constraint like any other, offering a real-world perspective on the design challenges involved.

Future Gaming

Author: Paolo Ruffino
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 1906897700
Size: 26.85 MB
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A sophisticated critical take on contemporary game culture that reconsiders the boundaries between gamers and games. This book is not about the future of video games. It is not an attempt to predict the moods of the market, the changing profile of gamers, the benevolence or malevolence of the medium. This book is about those predictions. It is about the ways in which the past, present, and future notions of games are narrated and negotiated by a small group of producers, journalists, and gamers, and about how invested these narrators are in telling the story of tomorrow. This new title from Goldsmiths Press by Paolo Ruffino suggests the story could be told another way. Considering game culture, from the gamification of self-improvement to GamerGate's sexism and violence, Ruffino lays out an alternative, creative mode of thinking about the medium: a sophisticated critical take that blurs the distinctions among studying, playing, making, and living with video games. Offering a series of stories that provide alternative narratives of digital gaming, Ruffino aims to encourage all of us who study and play (with) games to raise ethical questions, both about our own role in shaping the objects of research, and about our involvement in the discourses we produce as gamers and scholars. For researchers and students seeking a fresh approach to game studies, and for anyone with an interest in breaking open the current locked-box discourse, Future Gaming offers a radical lens with which to view the future.

Communicating Moral Concern

Author: Elise Springer
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262314045
Size: 11.33 MB
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Modern moral theories have crystallized around the logic of individual choices, abstracted from social and historical context. Yet most action, including moral theorizing, can equally be understood as a response, conscious or otherwise, to the social world out of which it emerges. In this novel account of moral agency, Elise Springer accords central importance to how we intervene in activity around us. To notice and address what others are doing with their moral agency is to exercise what Springer calls critical responsiveness. Her account of this responsiveness steers critics away from both of the conventionally familiar ideals -- justifying and expressing reactive attitudes on one hand, and prescribing and manipulating behavioral outcomes on the other. Good critical practice functions instead as a dynamic gestural engagement of attention, reaching further than expressive representation but not as far as causal control. To make sense of such engagement, Springer unravels the influence of several entrenched philosophical dichotomies (active vs. passive, representation vs. object, illocution vs. perlocution). Where previous accounts have been preoccupied with justified claims or with end results, Springer urges the cultivation of situated critical engagement -- an unorthodox virtue. Moral agency can thereby claim a creative and embodied aspect, transforming the world of action through a socially extended process of communicating concern.

Video Games Around The World

Author: Mark J. P. Wolf
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262527162
Size: 66.15 MB
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Thirty-nine essays explore the vast diversity of video game history and culture across all the world's continents.

Philosophy Through Video Games

Author: Jon Cogburn
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113585968X
Size: 53.87 MB
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How can Wii Sports teach us about metaphysics? Can playing World of Warcraft lead to greater self-consciousness? How can we learn about aesthetics, ethics and divine attributes from Zork, Grand Theft Auto, and Civilization? A variety of increasingly sophisticated video games are rapidly overtaking books, films, and television as America's most popular form of media entertainment. It is estimated that by 2011 over 30 percent of US households will own a Wii console - about the same percentage that owned a television in 1953. In Philosophy Through Video Games, Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox - philosophers with game industry experience - investigate the aesthetic appeal of video games, their effect on our morals, the insights they give us into our understanding of perceptual knowledge, personal identity, artificial intelligence, and the very meaning of life itself, arguing that video games are popular precisely because they engage with longstanding philosophical problems. Topics covered include: * The Problem of the External World * Dualism and Personal Identity * Artificial and Human Intelligence in the Philosophy of Mind * The Idea of Interactive Art * The Moral Effects of Video Games * Games and God's Goodness Games discussed include: Madden Football, Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, Sims Online, Second Life, Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Elder Scrolls, Zork, EverQuest Doom, Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto, Civilization, Mortal Kombat, Rome: Total War, Black and White, Aidyn Chronicles