GDRC 2010, Volda, Norway


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The Power Point presentation for my talk: "The Ethics of Computer Games", at Games: Design & Research Conference, Volda University College, Norway 3-4 June 2010.

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GDRC 2010, Volda, Norway

  1. 1. The Ethics of Game Design<br />Patrick J. Coppock<br />Department of Communication and Economy, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia<br /><br /><br /><br />
  2. 2. Norbert Wiener: “The Human Use of Human Beings” (1950)<br />The founder of cybernetics, a field that formalizes the notion of feedback, with implications for engineering, systems control, computer science, biology, philosophy, and the organization of society.<br />Machines must be “used for the benefit of man, for increasing his leisure and enriching his spiritual life, rather than merely for profits and the worship of the machine as a new brazen calf”<br /> (Wikipedia)<br />Ethics of Computing<br />
  3. 3. Computers and Games<br />OXO (1952)<br />Tennis for Two (1958)<br />Spacewar! (1962)<br />
  4. 4. Playing a Good Game<br />Three ethical positions/paradigms:<br />Virtue ethics: in a balanced view of things, would action/choice X be moral or immoral?<br />Consequentionalist ethics: might X have positive or negative effects on individuals or society?<br />Deontological ethics: might X contravene basic human rights or responsibilities?<br /> (Ren Reynolds, 2002)<br />
  5. 5. Game Rating<br />ESRB : Entertainment Software Ratings Board<br />Aims to “empower consumers, especially parents, with the ability to make informed decisions about the computer and video games they choose for their families through the assignment of age and content ratings, and to hold the computer and video game industry accountable for responsible marketing practices” <br />PEGI : Pan European Game Information Online Safety Code<br />Aims to “give young people in Europe improved protection against unsuitable online gaming content and to educate parents on how to ensure safe online play”<br />
  6. 6. Game Designers and Ethics<br />Richard Bartle (MUD/MOO), Sid Meier (Civilization), Chris Crawford (Balance of Power), Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman (Rules of Play)<br /><br />
  7. 7. Miguel Sicart<br />
  8. 8. Miguel Sicart<br />“Game design is a moral activity, since the object created is ethically relevant”<br />“How can we create ethically compelling gameplay?”<br />We need “descriptive procedures that can contribute to identifying the moral stakeholders in a game experience and their degree of moral responsibility”<br /><br />
  9. 9. Mia Consalvo<br />
  10. 10. Mia Consalvo<br />Game designers must “take popular culture seriously as a mode of moral imagination”<br />“Paratextual industries associated with games […] have helped define how players should play games in addition to how they might evaluate and think of them”<br />“Neither side (the player or the industries) has total control, but power differentials do exist”<br /><br />
  11. 11. Mary Flanagan<br />
  12. 12. Mary Flanagan<br />“Critical play is characterised by critical examination of social, cultural, political or even personal themes that function as alternatives to popular play spaces”<br />“Criticality in play can be fostered in order to question an aspect of a game’s content, or an aspect of a play scenario’s function that otherwise may be considered a given or necessary”<br /><br />
  13. 13. Mary Flanagan<br />
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