We explore controversial ethical issues about video games (e.g. what should be censored), in video games (e.g. what counts as cheating), and in video game design (e.g. what works to make a game morally interesting). Your hosts are Shlomo Sher, Ph.D. (Philosophy Professor and Video Game Ethicist) and Andy Ashcraft (Veteran Video Game Designer and Professor).
How Games Make Us Better People with Karen Schrier
When people talk about games and ethics, it’s almost always about potential moral problems with gaming – things like violence, sexism, and addiction. It’s almost as if games couldn’t do anything good for the world other than just be fun. But video games can also provide us with great opportunities for becoming better people! As our guest, game scholar and author, Karen Schrier, argues in her new book, games are already teaching us ethics and civics.
Video Games and Our Real Bodies with Rob Cover
We’re used to thinking about games as fantasy worlds we escape to, while leaving our bodies behind. In this traditional perspective of gaming, video games liberate us from our bodies and free us to be anyone and anything. But, is that really the case?
In this episode we speak with Dr. Rob Cover, who rejects this view and argues that it’s morally important to remember that we never leave our real bodies behind when playing video games
We Design a Game About Criminal Justice
This is the second episode in our "Andy and Shlomo design a game" series. In this game, we want to tackle the issue of crime and punishment. That’s right, we want to make a game dealing with the complex ethical questions around how we treat criminals.
Dragon City – An Ethics-Oriented Game Review
This episode is the first of a type we hope to repeat; we’ll be walking through a game, in this case ‘Dragon City’ a free-to-play game by Socialpoint games through an ETHICAL lens. It’s a game review, but instead of talking about fun or value or quality, we’ll just be talking about certain game features that might be morally problematic. These game features are not uncommon. But "everyone does it" has never been a good excuse!
The Psychology of Moral Encounters in Video Games
It seems obvious that we would respond differently to the moral dimension of a game that we’re playing, as opposed to the moral dimension of a movie we’re watching or a book that we’re reading. But what are these differences? And are there ways that we psychologically engage with morality that are unique to video games?
We’ve invited Dr. Jamie Madigan, psychologist, author, researcher, life-long gamer, and host of the psychology and video games podcast to help us explore these questions.
Teaching Ethics and Video Games
How can ethics play a role in game design? What’s the point of teaching of ethics to game design students?
Our guest, game scholar Jose Zagal (@JoseZagal) is not just a pioneer on this subject, but also teaches one of only two classes in the world for game design students on the subject of Ethics and Video Games.
Great deep dive into a very rich and relevant topic!
As someone who only mildly connects to the gaming world (a few casual games here and there), I’m finding this podcast to be a refreshing examination of the complex moral terrain around a complex industry. With struggling indie developers on one hand and vast money-making exploitative corporations on the other, the show has so far been a thoughtful examination of all sides of the ethical aspects of gameplay, design, monetization… all things worth considering if you are at all interested in the gaming ecosystem. It’s on my weekly listen list now!