Week Ten

This weeks reading –

IGDA Ethical Code For Game Designers

Do game designers need an ethical code?

There most definitely is a need for game designers to have an ethical code. However, too strict ethical codes may lead to a stifling of creation and growth within the industry. In terms of how a games company treats its staff, there is definitely a need for a code of ethics so that fairness and professionalism strive.

Is the IGDA Code a solid ethical code for game designers?

I feel like the IGDA code is fairly solid when it comes to managing different disciplinary relationships within a games studio or presenting content as an individual. The code outlines, that as individual developers they will “Continually strive to increase the recognition and respect of the profession; uphold the integrity of our work and credit contributions where they are due, never representing another’s work as our own, or vice versa”. This is great, and it’s a principle that most aspiring game developers would respect. Perhaps the addition of “increase the recognition and respect of the profession” may not full into the realm of ethics, but other than that this outlines one of the main ethical concerns within the industry – plagiarism.

The code still needs to provide more information in regards to the actually video game design process, instead of focusing on the relationship between employees relationships and copywriter issues.

“Code Of Ethics – International Game Developers Association (IGDA)”. Igda.org. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.


Week Nine

This Weeks Reading –

Ethics in the Virtual World:
Chapter 7: There Are Wrongs and Then There Are Wrongs.

If you accept that it is OK to kill random people in a video game (if you do not think it is OK feel free to argue this point), would it be OK to seek out to intentionally kill only individuals identified as homosexual in the game? Why? Please site the reading to support your response.

I would say that it would firstly depend upon the thoughts of the developers before any such idea was placed within a game, but if a player was presented with a game that allowed them to intentionally kill only individuals identified as homosexual in the game then I would see it as perfectly OK to do so. My decision is based upon one of Gary Young’s thoughts on Stephanie Patridge words. Partridges states: “Consider, for example, the game Mafia Wars. The fact that we enjoy playing this game seems to say nothing at all by itself about our attitude towards organised crime”. Young comments what he things Patridge is saying here – “Therefore, what I take Patridge to be saying here is that if we enjoy playing a game that features organized crime, our enjoyment is not necessarily a sign of our approval of organized crime.” [page 78]

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.



Week Eight

This weeks reading –

Ethics in the Virtual World:
Chapter 6: Are Meanings Virtually the Same?

What is Power’s argument for moral policing in computer games?

Power’s argument is that engaging in the symbolic taboo activities in games is morally wrong even though they may not actually physically be committing the act in the real world. The mere fact that these actions are being depicting a prohibited offline taboo activity is enough to make them morally wrong.

What is meant by the term ‘morally corrupt’?

Those who are morally corrupt do not adhere to the same set of morals to which most of us identify with. They may engage in unethical behaviour such as being dishonest or obscene. In Ethics in the Virtual World, Gary Young uses the term morally corrupt to describe something that “not only commends its audience to delight in the morally prohibited but also, and important, causes them to do so.”

Is it fun to ‘break taboos’?

Of course. It allows us to performs actions, that one would not normally be permitted to perform in the real world, in a virtual world. After all “Knowing that it is wrong is part of the fun and games” Thomas Nys [page 71].  Many authors agree that breaking taboos is most certainly fun. Ludologist Jesper Jule states that video games “are playgrounds where players can experiment with doing things that they would not normally do”. By merly implying that they are playgrounds Jule is acknowledging the fun that comes along with breaking taboos.

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.


Week Six

This weeks reading –

Ethics in the Virtual World:
Chapter 5; The Cost and Benefit of Virtual Violence

What is Utilitarianism?

Utilitarianism is an ethical philosophy which states that a moral action is one that increases the total utility and happiness in the world. A moral action is something that will increase the amount of happiness in the world and an immoral action is something that will bring more pain that happiness. In Ethics In The Virtual World, Garry Young uses Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill’s example of Classical Utilitarianism. [page 51]

How does one decide which pleasure is preferred?

According to Mill, the pleasure that the majority of the people prefer, who are experienced in both pleasures (i.e. People who both drive cars and motorcycles). To me this is a difficult question to answer. If I personally was asked which pleasure was more desirable, I would think back through previous experiences and make a decision based upon the amount of happiness brought up by each experience. There is not much else that can help decide apart from the feelings and judgement of those who are experienced.

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Week Five

This weeks reading –

For Week 5 listen: The Economics of Good and Evil: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06ybnh1#play
For Week 5 read:
Ethics in the Virtual World:
Chapter 4; Kant’s Call of Duty

What is the ‘categorical imperative’?

My understanding of the categorical imperative is basically an unconditional moral law, absolute for all, regardless of the situations. In Kant’s eyes people should act onto others as they themselves wish to be treated. To break this law is to act not only immorally but irrationally. In his works, Kant presented four formulations of the categorical imperative but only ever held that there was one categorical imperative. It is traditionally referred to as the first formulation: “Act only according to the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become universal law”

In a way, categorical imperative makes humans less selfish, commanding us to respect universal law instead of acting upon ones own thoughts and desires. This is outlined in another ones of Kant’s statements – “So act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in another, always as an end, and never as only a means.”

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

BBC Radio 4,. “Jump Media Playermedia Player Helpout Of Media Player. Press Enter To Return Or Tab To Continue. Tomas Sedlacek: The Economics Of Good And Evil”. Analysis. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.



Week Four

This weeks reading –
Ethics in the Virtual World:
Chapter 3; Hume’s Strength of Feeling

What is ‘sentimentalism’?

Sentimentalism is all about our feelings. Instead of making their actions based on reason, someone who is a sentimentalist will have the tenancy to base their actions and reactions from emotions. In philosophy,  Sentimentalism is usually contrasted with “rationalism”. One of the main characteristics of sentimentalism is that emphatically showing ones feelings did not imply weakness but rather displayed one to be a moral person.

If we find something disgusting is that thing morally wrong? 

Hume referred to the link between disgust and how it might be used to inform moral judgement as a form of what he referred to as disapprobation. Garry Young suggests that what we judge to be morally disgusting may be largely down to social conditioning. Children have grown up finding things like vomit and faeces disgusting because “adults direct the language of disgust to what they see as moral violation” [page 28]. It would seem that the use of the word disgusting is most usually implying negative moral attitude. This is different within a gamespace however and may not be as one sided. “Because of the altered contingencies of gamespace, this would make the reaction (of disgust) unwarranted. [page 35]

Does engaging in ultra-violent video games degrade one’s ability to show empathy?

There is not enough research to show whether this is true or not however I would have to say that it does no degrade ones ability to show empathy. A study performed in 2002 noted that “children also reported later copying of characters’ actions in fantasy play, for example saying: ‘They try to act like them, like wrestling’. One child qualified his endorsement: ‘But not all killing. Like if the game has you killing something or whatever” It is clear by reading the child’s statement that they can still differentiate between fantasy violence which they are okay with copying and the real world violence which they refrain from emulating . [page 33]

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Week Three

This weeks reading –

Ethics in the Virtual World: Chapter 1; Introduction and Chapter 2; To Prohibit or Not Prohibit, That is the Question

Are some forms of fiction (games) unimaginable for some individuals to engage with? 

Yes, I believe so. There are different limits to which people create their make-believe or are reluctant to go along with such make believe. The term “imaginative resistance” is used by Tamar Szabó Gendler to describe ones unwillingness to imagine certain fictitious content. There are many games out there which often require people to assume roles of different characters/jobs or

Is it right to prohibit certain acts in the virtual space? What might those acts be and under what circumstances?

It is the developers (humans) who give meaning and substance to video games. They decide the rules and can create and imagine anything they like. This makes prohibiting things in games far different that prohibiting things in real life

I believe that is is right to prohibit certain acts within a virtual space, especially when it may impact the moral values of the player. Things such as rape and child abuse should be prohibited within video games no matter what the age restriction. In chapter 7 Garry Young imagines a world in which gender-oppression does not exist, stating that according to Dr. Stephanie Partridge, gender-oppressive images would “likely lose their incorrigible meaning”. In this world a game such a RapeLay may not have been subject to as much moral scrutiny. This world does not exist however and so games like this a widely considered morally wrong to most of society.

Other violent acts such as murder and battery however should be allowed. This may seem a tad hypocritical, but personally I believe that child abuse or rape is on another level than murder or battery. There is also evidence that playing violent video games reduces the amount of real world crime. A study by psychologist Christopher Ferguson concluded that playing violent video games coincided with a fall in violent crime perpetrated by those in the 12-17 age group. [guardian]

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Stuart, Keith. “Video Games Are Not Making Us More Violent, Study Shows”. the Guardian. N.p., 2014. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.