Moral Complexity in Gaming

April 14, 2010/1/0
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Zack Rovinsky touches upon an issue that we’ve previously written about, and uses current events to frame some of his points. An altogether fascinating read as it doesn’t merely tread down the now well-worn ‘video games are violent’ road, but instead opts to examine the dilemma of moral choices in the gameplay environment.

Still games tend to struggle with pathos. The programming that goes into a game is so coldly logical that it’s little surprise that that is what the player experiences most of the time. Games are inherently based around input and output. and that leads to the morality systems they try to implement being mostly the same.

I think this is fast becoming a unique and powerful gameplay mechanic, but shudder to call it just that. As chair of our hospital’s ethic’s committee, I come across decisions where there are no clear answers, and only through discussion, engagement, mediation and can all parties come to a decision. I believe games such as Dragon Age and, perhaps most impressively of late, Heavy Rain, dare to explore this unique and emotionally captivating area of decision-making within the gameplay experience.