Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morally Unambiguous



A new research paper titled “Mirrored Morality: An Exploration of Moral Choice in Video Games” by Dr. Weaver and Nicky Lewis, attempts to confront the idea that what you do in a video game does reflect onyour real life morals and values.
 

Nice tie-in to an old Forbes article about if real world morals can, or should, be supplemented in video games. 

They took 75 gamers, 40 men and 35 women, and observed them as they played Fallout 3, a game chock-full of moral choices. As they observed the gaming sessions, they found that people typically made choices that best mirrored their real-world selves. It could best be connected with “identification” a mode of media that connects the user to the character. But as people chose actions that were against their typical moral code they felt distraught, anxious, and unsettled throughout the game.

To take it a step further, the people that were intentionally bad to be bad did so not because of moral choices but because they were curious in what the game had to offer.

“It’s not about morality. It’s about, ‘What kinds of weapons can I get,’ or, ‘What kinds of worlds can I visit if I do this?’ It’s not that these people are being bad. It’s just they’re driven by curiosity and game strategy.”

A quick, but interesting read. Morality in video games is going to be a topic that will be discussed extensively for decades to come. When I think about my own playing habits, I can see the correlation. Yes I enjoy being the asshole that shoots the bunny, but I feel bad about it. Most of the time. Typically I play through a game the first time making choices that best reflect my values. The second time is when I’m a total dick. Die bunny! *pew pew pew*

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