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Beyond Choices:The Design of Ethical Gameplay

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2013
Author(s): Miguel Sicart
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Computing & Processing ;  General Topics for Engineers
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Abstract

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.

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      Frontmatter

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half title, Title, Copyright, Contents, Acknowledgments View full abstract»

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      Introduction

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: What This Book Is, The Structure of the Book View full abstract»

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      Defining Ethical Gameplay

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: What I Talk about When I Talk about Ethics, The Ethics of Fiction, Aesthetics and Ethics, Player Complicity, Defining Ethical Gameplay View full abstract»

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      Being a Game

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Processes, Metaphors We Play By, The Elusiveness of Games, A Game of Many Players, Conclusion View full abstract»

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      The Player, the Player

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Who Do We Think Is Playing?, On Instrumental Play, Designing against Design, Another Player, Ethics Is People's Play View full abstract»

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      The Design of Ethical Gameplay

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Anatomy of Toys, A Shocking Toy, Play, Design, and Experiences, On Methods and Friction, Back to the Wasteland: An Example, Playing with Wicked Problems, No More Safety, Wicked Problems for Game Design, Beyond Choices, Asking the Right Questions View full abstract»

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      Into Play

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Narrative and Characters, Gameworlds, Rules, Context, Failing View full abstract»

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      This Is the End

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      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. View full abstract»

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      Notes

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6 View full abstract»

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      References

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      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. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Index

      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      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. View full abstract»