The Ethics of Computer Games (MIT Press)

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.

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Miguel Sicart's The Ethics of Computer Games is a thoughtful and nuanced investigation of a topic of great importance. Sicart weaves together insights and. Why computer games can be ethical, how players use their ethical values in gameplay, and the implications for game design. Despite the emergence of.

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. Sicart weaves together insights and influences from several fields, providing an erudite and also approachable introduction to the subject.

  1. Sicart, M. (2009). the Ethics of Computer Games, MIT Press:Cambridge, MA (Chapter 2)!
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This book will be valuable to educators who want to target ethics in their Game Studies curriculum, as well as to journalists, parents, and others who have ethical concerns about games. Miguel Sicart's The Ethics of Computer Games is a thoughtful and nuanced investigation of a topic of great importance.

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The Ethics of Computer Games (The MIT Press): Miguel Sicart: Books

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Miguel Sicart takes a comprehensive look at ethics and morality in computer games. Apart from its diverse and absorbing game play, this action role play game is commonly praised as a fascinating dystopia with an ethical game design. Unlike many other action-based computer games, Deus Ex succeeds in the feat of making gamers reflect on their own actions.

According to Sicart, this kind of ethical thinking, as well as the question of motives that comes with it, is just as significant in Deus Ex as its firearms. Viewed in this way, the game becomes an ideal example of how ethical awareness of responsibility plays a considerable role with respect to game-play strategies and the game design. To start with, Deus Ex presents itself as yet another average first-person shooter set in a bleak sci-fi world, yet even in the first few missions the player's alter ego is confronted with increasingly difficult decisions. Soon, hints and indications display the goals and motives of the player in a different light: The ethical game design of Deus Ex forces the player to become aware of his role as a moral decision-maker.

Starting from the moral challenge manifested in Deus Ex as a result of the game objectives, this analysis considers the design framework on the one hand and highlights the game experience on the other. Sicart takes on the challenge of a comprehensive academic study on ethical game play and game design - the book's theoretical foundation is laid by linking philosophical theories such as constructivism and information ethics, which are in places extremely demanding in terms of language and content.

In fact and as predicted by the author , the philosophical debate in Sicart's Game Ethics requires a high degree of concentration. However, these rather more difficult-to-digest theoretical chunks are simplified by concrete examples in clear case studies e. The socio-cultural significance of this philosophical analysis can primarily be seen in Sicart's conclusion, which states that video games should not just be reduced to their economic role they have recently become the biggest branch of the entertainment industry.

Rather, games should be viewed as an expressive mediator of communication and creativity in the 21st century. For Sicart, computer games are above all infospheres with set rules, in which interaction takes place. Players are thus in no way mindless zombies, but operate on a moral level and are responsible for the decisions they make in the game.

As per Sicart's definition, these "virtuous players" are not only responsible for their actions within the framework of the game design; they also have the capacity to decide which games are played at all. Players therefore by definition have moral positions of responsibility and thus also co-form societal values. Consequently, computer and video games also have the ethical power and responsibility to influence social debates. Nowhere else, according to Sicart, are there similarly unique and interactive contributions such as the ideas realised in the virtual worlds of digital games.

What do we think about when we think about play? The opposite of work? 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. Endorsements "Play Matters opens a door into our increasingly playful world. It frames the world of play and playfulness just enough to create a coherent image of these fundamental forces, without spoiling the fun. It opens a way into this world, inviting the reader to engage, creatively and intelligently, in the design of an even more playful future. Miguel Sicart shows time and time again why play is something that must be taken seriously, why it leads to better, more beautiful, more considered work, and ultimately why play does indeed matter.

The Ethics of Computer Games

In life, uncertainty surrounds us. Things that we thought were good for us turn out to be bad for us and vice versa ; people we thought we knew well behave in mysterious ways; the stock market takes a nosedive. Thanks to an inexplicable optimism, most of the time we are fairly cheerful about it all. But we do devote much effort to managing and ameliorating uncertainty. Is it any wonder, then, asks Greg Costikyan, that we have taken this aspect of our lives and transformed it culturally, making a series of elaborate constructs that subject us to uncertainty but in a fictive and nonthreatening way?

In this concise and entertaining book, Costikyan, an award-winning game designer, argues that games require uncertainty to hold our interest, and that the struggle to master uncertainty is central to their appeal.

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Game designers, he suggests, can harness the idea of uncertainty to guide their work. He describes types of uncertainty, including performative uncertainty, analytic complexity, and narrative anticipation. And he suggests ways that game designers who want to craft novel game experiences can use an understanding of game uncertainty in its many forms to improve their designs. About the Author Greg Costikyan, an award-winning designer of board, tabletop, roleplaying, computer, online, mobile, and social games, is Senior Designer at Disney Playdom's Dream Castle Studio.

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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. See and discover other items: But how do games create emotion? Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals. Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video.

We may think of video games as being "fun," but in The Art of Failure, Jesper Juul claims that this is almost entirely mistaken. When we play video games, our facial expressions are rarely those of happiness or bliss. Instead, we frown, grimace, and shout in frustration as we lose, or die, or fail to advance to the next level. Humans may have a fundamental desire to succeed and feel competent, but game players choose to engage in an activity in which they are nearly certain to fail and feel incompetent.

So why do we play video games even though they make us unhappy? Juul examines this paradox. In video games, as in tragic works of art, literature, theater, and cinema, it seems that we want to experience unpleasantness even if we also dislike it. Reader or audience reaction to tragedy is often explained as catharsis, as a purging of negative emotions. But, Juul points out, this doesn't seem to be the case for video game players. Games do not purge us of unpleasant emotions; they produce them in the first place.

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What, then, does failure in video game playing do? Juul argues that failure in a game is unique in that when you fail in a game, you not a character are in some way inadequate.

Games and Philosophy: Shadow of the Colossus and the Teleological Suspension of the Ethical

Yet games also motivate us to play more, in order to escape that inadequacy, and the feeling of escaping failure often by improving skills is a central enjoyment of games. Games, writes Juul, are the art of failure: The Art of Failure is essential reading for anyone interested in video games, whether as entertainment, art, or education. He is the author of Half-Real: The editors are currently accepting book proposals. The proposal submission process is as follows:. She is the co-author of Players and their Pets, co-editor of Sports Videogames and author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames.