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Mr K

Morality in Game Design

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There has been lots of discussions about violence in computer games lately, how they "effect" people and so on. I'm interested in what people consider to be moraly wrong to make a game about. What are the limits? What subject do you simply not make a game about? A couple of years ago there was some discussions about a certain type of "underground" games. Games that put the player in control of death camps in Germany durng WWII. Is this kind of games moraly wrong or are they ok? I, myself, consider this kind of game to be totally out of line and so moraly incorrect it just can be! However, we have something that is called freedom of speech, so I would like to hear from you what you consider right and wrong! -- Mr K Edited by - Mr K on 4/15/00 8:10:50 AM

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Well, in my example with the Transformers, the good always wins from the bad. Some games twist this idealism. Is this bad? I think it is!

Ofcourse, it does not encourage evil thoughts, but it CAN HURT lots of people!

Games get more realistic each day, and there will be a day that game developers have the power and technology at their hands to make a game that is indistinguishable from real life.



"I Can''t change the world, but you''ll hear my voice!"

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I would never make a game that would teach kids/people bad "things" I''m currently working on a drug dealer game =)
But it will have a funny look and you won''t learn anything that would change someone. i.e. you won''t be able to shoot people. Or somethint like that.

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This is a very interesting question, I think. If you were to ask me if a game in which you were in charge of a Nazi Death Camp, of course I would say it was utterly atrocious and evil. But if you showed me a gory, bloody game in which you KILLED Nazis, chances are I''d OK it (it''s been done many times).

Because I don''t tend to make or play particularly violent games (like First Person Shooters) I go by this philosophy:

"The violence and ''bad'' things expressed in a game should only be enough to get your point across."

For instance, in the game I am making right now, Enigma. It starts out with a woman being murdered. This is incredibly important as it drives most of the game, but I don''t spend five minutes showing the blood spurt out. I put in what is neccessary for the game and story, then move on. I feel that this is how all games should be.

just my $.02

Alex
Atypical Interactive
www.atypical-interactive.com

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I have to agree with Alex above, games that fights evil are most probably ok. If the player played a Nazi in Wolfenstein and went around and killed English or American soilders it would probably be subject for a huge discussion (and ID wouldn''t be were they are today).

Several years ago there was a game called Hell, ok, I never played it, but there was lots of demons and ocultism, and I think even the devil himself made an apperance. In Sweden during that same time there was one Church how wanted to ban this game as they claimed it touch how to worship the devil. Well, since I never played it I can''t be sure, but I do not think this game actually touch you how to do it.

Anyway, I beleive as long as the player fights on the good side game developer can get away with most kind of stuff. It''s when the player joins the other side you have to be careful. However, it is good to be evil from time to time!

And Alex, like the screenshot of your game, very nice!! Looking forward to see a working copy!

-Mr K

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Yeah, but then again: Your morals are not my morals!
Think of it, I am very con-the NATO Bombings on Yugoslavia. Should I make a game where you shoot down NATO''s F16''s and assasinate NATO leaders, many people find it morally wrong. That is their good right, but also a lot of people would agree with it!

The best thing the game designers can do then is make people THINK. Just the same as Geoff does with his articles, which BTW are of great quality. If I were to make a game which handles issues such as death penalty or gun ownership, and if I could change some peoples minds on it, and then even if the game doesn''t sell well, I would be much happier than if the game would top the selling charts and I didn''t pass on the ideals I put in the game.
I am an Idealist, and one way of changing peoples minds is media, whether it be games, music, TV-programmes or books.

Remember that the common thought "Good Fights Evil" is not always applicable! For example in a civilian war such as in africa between the Hutu''s and the Tutsi''s or the civil war in Northern Ireland. Both sides will say that they are the Good ones, and despise the others for being Evil. We can conclude that Good or Evil is just a matter of the point of view you''re at. That makes it all the harder to judge whether or not the game is morally wrong or not.

"I Can''t change the world, but you''ll hear my voice!"

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I know that your morals is not the same as my morals, that''s why I started this thread.

Anyway, but your right (*Angelfish*) if I were to make America bombs the hell out of China, or should I say the communists (This is just and example so don''t get up set). I think this game would sell better in America then in China, as the two countries has diffrent point of views.
(Well, I''m not so sure any original copies would be sold in China anyway, but.. ).

I also think that not the whole world would enjoy a game were you''re suppose to assasinate the Iraqi leader. But then again morals differ around the world.

-Mr K

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But, I mean, if you make a game about bombing China ... is it because you believe it will make a good game or gets a message to the gamer ... or simply to cash in on commi-haters? I don''t think a game should be violent or controversial merely for the SAKE of being violent and controversial. People don''t play violent games just to see the blood ... they''re actually fun! And that''s what games are about, right?

For the most part, I think, gamemakers should stay away from things having to do with current events that could get people very upset. But I will never think that games should be sensored or stifled just because they COULD BE controversial.

Just another one of my humble opinions.

Alex
Atypical Interactive
www.atypical-interactive.com

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There''s always someone who''ll be offended by your game.

Shooting Nazis? There are still Nazis out there. They might be a bit offended.

Shooting demons? What about the Satanists?

Blowing up cute little pink bunnies? Well, most people would like this. Especially if it''s bloody. But I''m sure someone would complain!

E:cb woof!

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quote:
Original post by *Angelfish*

Yeah, but then again: Your morals are not my morals!


Very true.

quote:

Think of it, I am very con-the NATO Bombings on Yugoslavia. Should I make a game where you shoot down NATO''s F16''s and assasinate NATO leaders, many people find it morally wrong. That is their good right, but also a lot of people would agree with it!


I would try and avoid anything which is borderline such as that, personally. I would try and keep my games erring on the side of ''generally accepted'' wisdom. There will never be 100% agreement, but I am not trying to make some political statement with my game. You may decide otherwise.

Hypothetical situations are interesting, though. I saw a wargame recently where the US and Russia join forces to repel a Chinese invasion of Kazahkstan (apologies for misspelling, if there is one). But you can play both sides, which lessens any perceived bias.

quote:
If I were to make a game which handles issues such as death penalty or gun ownership, and if I could change some peoples minds on it, and then even if the game doesn''t sell well, I would be much happier than if the game would top the selling charts and I didn''t pass on the ideals I put in the game.
I am an Idealist, and one way of changing peoples minds is media, whether it be games, music, TV-programmes or books.


I must say that it seems a little insidious for you to say that. If you believe that you can change people''s minds with your game, then you must obviously accept that you can influence their actions and therefore the whole ''can games cause violence'' thing is obviously true. Personally, I''d agree that games -can- influence people, but that is exactly why I''d stay away from that sort of thing. I''d rather purely entertain people with my games. If I want to lecture or teach them, I will talk to them. I don''t want to subvert them in some underhand manner.

quote:
Remember that the common thought "Good Fights Evil" is not always applicable! For example in a civilian war such as in africa between the Hutu''s and the Tutsi''s or the civil war in Northern Ireland. Both sides will say that they are the Good ones, and despise the others for being Evil. We can conclude that Good or Evil is just a matter of the point of view you''re at. That makes it all the harder to judge whether or not the game is morally wrong or not.


And I would argue this also means you shouldn''t try to ''convert'' people with your games/movies/books etc. After all, -you- may be the one who is ''wrong'' about what is ''good''.

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