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AltarofScience

Member Since 15 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Feb 07 2015 11:03 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Game ethics

07 February 2015 - 11:07 AM

 



 



For clarification, are we talking about the ethics presented by the content or by the form? If we're just talking about content, then I'd like to point out that violent video games exist because violence exists in real life. Part of the value of art is that it reflects the world in some way. Games are an artistic and imaginative medium - to constrain them to only depicting ethical behaviour would be like constraining novels or paintings or films to only depicting ethical behaviour.  If we're talking about form and presentation, I refer you to Ravyne's post above.

You're post makes no sense. The problem with games like GTA isn't that they display and simulate negative behavior to and for the player, its WHY they do this. For instance Hodgman's defense that GTA is super clever satire. That's a ridiculously indefensible decision for anyone not invested in believing that so that they can play it without feeling bad about themselves, better to just admit they like GTA for what it really is, but at least it is made with an understanding of the topic. 

 

 

Okay, which part makes no sense? I thought it made perfect sense when I wrote it in that it is clear English, asks a concise question, and attempts to concisely present a coherent and consistent point. So which of those things does it fail at? Are you saying it's off-topic? smile.png

 

Furthemore, why, in your own words, does GTA simulate negative behaviour? It seems clear to me that you think you know what the (one and only) meaning of GTA is. What do you think the purpose of GTA is and with what authority do you claim to limit GTA's meaning in that way?

 

COD serves no artistic purpose. Games can be art, as movies can be art, but not all movies and games or drawings are art in the sense that they convey a deeper meaning. Bodice-rippers are an old and popular genre of book but they aren't art just because someone also wrote an erotic novel that was art. Gone Home is art, though whether its good or bad art is up for debate. But GTA is not art.

 

I take it you're not up on your Roland Barthes. Otherwise you would surely understand that the meaning of a work to individuals in the world at large is independent of its creator's intent. COD may serve no "artistic purpose" (if that is a meaningful term) to you - it doesn't to me, either, and perhaps not to its creators - but that's irrelevant. If COD means something to someone, somewhere, then it has acted as art. The same is true of GTA - its status is art is based on perception, and some perceive it as satire, so for them that is what it is, and their experience is just as valid as your own not-experience. Furthermore, I'd argue that the very fact that we can argue about what the "meaning of GTA" is, and have that actually be a meaningful argument in and of itself, makes it art.

 

We can have a meaningful argument about whether the browning on a piece of toast is in fact an image of the virgin marry. I guess toast is art now, too. I guess we are just going to define art in the broadest possible sense, which makes the term pointless but w/e. As far as know THE only meaning of GTA, I'm talking about the intended and the majority opinion. Which may or may not be the same. I'm not going to accept the fucking stupid idea that anything anyone thinks about anything is equally valid with everything anyone else thinks about anything. Why the fuck would you ever talk about anything at all given that that was the case. I can think up a zillion ways to interpret anything all on my own, what do I need you for then? The same with Hodgman's stupid shit about anything a grown adult consents to being okay. Are they legally allowed to do it? Yes. Do we follow this principle because otherwise we are afraid someone else could declare our hobbies illegal? Yes. This is basic political shit here guys. Consent based legality exists so that we can avoid having random things declared illegal every time the party in power or the majority opinion shifts, its not an endorsement of any and all activities you have to be a legal adult to consent to. I don't have to know the name of some random post structuralist to be aware of the kinds of ideas he puts out there. Yes, I know that some people think all opinions about all things are equally valid. Those people are called idiots.

 

But hey, I can't stop you from sucking at the teat of total relativism man, its a free country, and furthermore its probably more productive to write you off as someone with anything valuable to say, even if I COULD somehow stop you.

 

Just to be clear, I understand the argument, made by plenty of people besides Barthes, that anyone CAN derive any meaning from anything, even say, the eyeball being proof of god, quite serious argument made by Christian apologists referred to as irreducible complexity, while at the same time determining that these people have no idea what they are talking about. However I was clearly under the mistaken impression that people posting in a thread called game ethics, actually believed that it was possible to make an unethical game. I could make a game about murdering Jews in the Holocaust where you roleplay a dedicated Nazi officer, and by your definition, that's like, art. Or something. I'm sure you would totally play that as wicked satire if I included, like GTA, just a slight bit of faux self-awareness to give you an excuse. Because otherwise you would just be admitting that you like GTA because you like robbing fake banks and murdering fake people and not because of its oh so clever satire. Yet I suspect that the reception of this game, purely because of its topic, in a hypothetical world where its "quality" was equivalent to GTA, would not receive nearly the same reception. Much like Hatred didn't. Because as much as you want to shield yourself with relativism when talking about GTA, a post-hoc rationalization in the case of the majority of people that make it, the irony of most extreme relativists is that they are secretly deontologists using relativistic arguments to make themselves seem less hypocritical.

 

I mean, maybe you are part of the .1% of actual relativists but I've confronted the satire argument 1000 times, whether about GTA or something else and in the end my picture of reality ends up more accurate by dismissing claims of relativism as fake. I would be irrational to accept your argument without the sort of evidence Hodgman insists he needn't provide because he is on the status quo side of the argument. Well its technically true Hodgman, and/or Oberon, that you don't have to defend the status quo, not for theoretical reasons but for practical ones, a position of power needs no defense beyond itself. But such an argument says something about your character.

 

This probably constitutes some sort of temporary ban offense, if so, go ahead and make it permanent. Because right now you guys disgust me. If I were you, I'd go wash off the slimy shield of faux-relativism quick, lest someone catch its stench on you.


In Topic: Game ethics

06 February 2015 - 09:27 PM

For clarification, are we talking about the ethics presented by the content or by the form? If we're just talking about content, then I'd like to point out that violent video games exist because violence exists in real life. Part of the value of art is that it reflects the world in some way. Games are an artistic and imaginative medium - to constrain them to only depicting ethical behaviour would be like constraining novels or paintings or films to only depicting ethical behaviour.  If we're talking about form and presentation, I refer you to Ravyne's post above.

You're post makes no sense. The problem with games like GTA isn't that they display and simulate negative behavior to and for the player, its WHY they do this. For instance Hodgman's defense that GTA is super clever satire. That's a ridiculously indefensible decision for anyone not invested in believing that so that they can play it without feeling bad about themselves, better to just admit they like GTA for what it really is, but at least it is made with an understanding of the topic. COD serves no artistic purpose. Games can be art, as movies can be art, but not all movies and games or drawings are art in the sense that they convey a deeper meaning. Bodice-rippers are an old and popular genre of book but they aren't art just because someone also wrote an erotic novel that was art. Gone Home is art, though whether its good or bad art is up for debate. But GTA is not art.


In Topic: Game ethics

06 February 2015 - 09:22 PM

 

Almost every human civilization treated women as sex toys and brood mares for most of our history. Does that mean that's a natural part of the human condition? Slavery was a universal cultural thing more or less, existing in most nations in some form and on every continent. Is that also natural?

The examples of other violent games was just to show that violence in entertainment is common, so an argument as to why video game devs should avoid violence should apply to sports/cards/tabletop/TV/books/film/etc as well.
Video games are a neat meeting point of all of those listed media, sharing all their issues.



People who enjoy these things [football, etc] are... wrong.
People die, they get brain damage, many athletes get permanent back/leg/arm/etc. problems. The popularity of this stuff tends to tie into tribal identity issues. Do you think people would care as much if the teams weren't assigned to specific cities? They wouldn't.

Who are you tell those people that their lives are wrong. If they're making the informed choice to risk life and limb, that's their problem. Others climb mountains or jump out of planes... Which is stupidly dangerous, but it's some people's dedication. I don't understand them, but to flat out tell them they're wrong?? Wow.
 

As far as proving a negative, you are requiring us to prove a negative, unethical is the negative. You would only have to prove a positive, that it is ethical.

The 'un' prefix is grammaticaly negative... Thats go nothing to to with whether arguing on the side of right or wrong is the positive or negative side.

Violence is media is commonly acceptable at the moment. If you're arguing against it, you're arguing for change. You have to tell people why they should change
change.
 

Its cool though, your identity is tied up in violent sports and games. So having an argument with you is mostly pointless. Its almost impossible to dissuade people from their bad behavior because saying that such and such is bad, when they identify as a person who does such and such, implies something about them as a person, and people don't want to feel like a bad person. Even if they have to fall back on arguments of tradition instead of having an actual defense for their behavior.

That's just ridiculously unnecessary.
I don't watch football, or boxing, or any violent sports. I don't make violent videogames at the moment either. The last year's of my life have been dedicated to trying to find a way to inject fun/drama into a collisionless and weaponless racing game.
The next game to launch that I've worked on is Wander, a non-combat, non-competitive MMO.
It's ok to accept and even present ideas that you don't personally believe in.
I have no idea why people choose to be boxers or footballers, and no idea why people watch it! But I can still defend their freedom to make those choices, as they're not harming me at all.
But sure, if you think that defending them means that my identity must be tied up in bloodsport, then you're not insulting me with that jab at all, you're only telling us about yourself with those words.

 

Well I never said they can't do that, only that its bad and they shouldn't. You didn't really come across as defending a point of view you didn't believe in, I don't read minds. You did say you approved of GTA and didn't really mention beyond that that you didn't agree with what you compared it to. People make informed decisions about drugs all the time that are way less dangerous that various extreme, or even mainstream sports. I suppose if I ask if you support legalizing extreme drugs you will just say yes, given that follows from your logic about extreme sports.

 

As far as telling people why they should change, did you even read my post? The whole part about identity which you clearly commented on was about the pointlessness of getting people to change. The amount of pressure society would have to bring to bear, which would be impossible since conservatives approve of this stuff and liberals are all about free to be you and me, would be relatively equivalent to the pressures against sexism and racism, and after over 150 years, we can see how great women and minorities are treated now. There's no way people would go through that effort for something like dangerous sports.

 

As for unethical vs ethical, both sides are effectively negatives because ethics are arbitrary. "Proving" anything to people who don't want to be convinced is equally pointless for either side. In that its completely [expletive] impossible.


In Topic: Game ethics

06 February 2015 - 10:52 AM

 

I think that this is just too easy. If a child want to play a game, especially if it is forbidden for him, then he will play it, and not even most good parents are IT experts, who are able to control what their children consume.

I'd like to know where the kids are getting fake ID to buy the physical copy of the game, or credit-cards to buy the digital PC copy.

n.b. I was talking specificly about my country where it is marked as an adults only product.

 

If you want to argue that we should censor all adult-targetted products because parents are unable to parent in this day and age, then go ahead....

Or must a game be violent to be fun ?

No, games don't have to be violent to be fun... But some are violent and fun.

Video games are a medium that's still in it's infancy -- we're about where film was in 1920, and still inventing what a video game is. Sticking to shooter tropes is easy, but there's many many great non-violent video games struggling to be seen amongst the gore.
 
Stepping back from video-games, to games in general --
Poker is non-violent, but chess is a war game where foot-soldiers' lives are near worthless when it comes to protecting the monarch...
Baseball is non-violent (unless you have a malicious pitcher), but Gridiron or Rugby are extremely violent, with people occasionally killing each other in hand-to-hand combat, despite their protective equipment.

Is it unethical to play Chess or watch the Superbowl?
 
The fact is that many people do happen to enjoy safe, recreational violence. That's part of humanity. Uncontrolled violence is a horrible thing, but safe outlets for it seem to be important in almost every civilization.
There's endless industries that cater to the enjoyment of safe or pretend violence, including but not limited to video games.
Personally, I think that trying to portray all of these forms of entertainment as unethical is a bit extreme... and it's not up to me to prove a negative.
 
Some people like getting into a boxing ring, some people like watching a dozen athletes throw each other into the dirt in pursuit of an egg, some people like pretending to shoot hordes of nazi zombies, some people like to play cops and robbers.
If you want to argue that catering to these people is unethical, go for it.

 

Football is violent and dangerous, that's an indictment of football, not a defense of GTA or COD. Is football less unethical than the gladiatorial games of the late Roman Empire? Yes. Does that mean that it is ethical? No. Almost every human civilization treated women as sex toys and brood mares for most of our history. Does that mean that's a natural part of the human condition? Slavery was a universal cultural thing more or less, existing in most nations in some form and on every continent. Is that also natural? No. Is football as bad as those things? Probably not. But if you want to use an appeal to tradition or cultural universals then you'll have to accept the logical consequences of that form of argument.

 

Humans enjoy lots of things that are unethical and/or unsafe. Watching crowds cheer as some person knocks another person's teeth out or knocks them unconscious does disgust me. The same for watching people cheer 300 pound guys slam their heads/shoulders into each other for entertainment. Yes, football and boxing were/are subjected to outside regulations for safety. Because people that had a problem with it generated a controversy and forced it upon them, the same as any other regulation, say, on businesses.

 

People who enjoy these things are wrong not about enjoyment but about acceptability. They aren't as wrong as the people who promote or make money off of violent spectacles, but they are still wrong. Video games are physically safe recreational violence. Violent contact sports are not. People die, they get brain damage, many athletes get permanent back/leg/arm/etc. problems. The popularity of this stuff tends to tie into tribal identity issues. Do you think people would care as much if the teams weren't assigned to specific cities? They wouldn't.

 

As far as proving a negative, you are requiring us to prove a negative, unethical is the negative. You would only have to prove a positive, that it is ethical.

 

Its cool though, your identity is tied up in violent sports and games. So having an argument with you is mostly pointless. Its almost impossible to dissuade people from their bad behavior because saying that such and such is bad, when they identify as a person who does such and such, implies something about them as a person, and people don't want to feel like a bad person. Even if they have to fall back on arguments of tradition instead of having an actual defense for their behavior.


In Topic: Game ethics

06 February 2015 - 08:07 AM

All the devs I've worked with professionally are intelligent, educated people, which tends to mean they're thoughtful and progressive... Which means, yes, they consider the ethics of their work.

In the Indie world this means a lot... But in the corporate world you don't often have very much control over the product at all. If you think the level of violence or sexuality or stereotypes should be changed, there's often not much you can do. Even resigning in protest won't change anything... Hence the same pulp keeps on being pumped out.

Regarding GTA specifically, in my country it's clearly marked as an adults-only product, so any concerns about the effects of violent media on children aren't really relevant. It becomes an issue of bad parenting if someone is giving restricted products to their kids.
i.e. The ethical issue there is about the inappropriate purchasing and use of a product, not the production of that product.
Also, the GTA games are comedy. Dark comedy. Absurd dark comedy sharply satirizing American culture. If your sense of humour isn't compatible with that kind of deliberately over-the-top debauchery and satire, that's fine, but many other well adjusted adults are able to safely enjoy such humour. I'd actually say that the kind of satire in GTA is actually extremely culturally important, and that overall more games need to express similar statements.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people who play GTA are not thinking about its supposed criticisms of American society while playing it. Adults may play GTA be we all know that its not marketed towards adults. It makes it profits off from being "edgy" to attract the standard teenage to college male demo. GTA is satire like that Onion joke about Quvenzhane Wallis being George Clooney's next screw is satire. It's almost the ultimate expression of the Chappelle effect. As far as the cultural importance of GTA, lulz. Even if you accept the argument that GTA is intended to be satire, and that it's intended satire is not totally lost on its audience, its message is not new or original, its not portrayed in a compelling way.

 

Lots of the satire is supposed to be based on Rockstar's self awareness, as if self awareness was difficult. "How great is Jimmy?" Uh huh, top tier guys, a jobless loser playing violent games in your violent game played by a lot of jobless teenagers and college kids.


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