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gasto

Has there been any game that explores philosophical questions?

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Has there been any western or eastern philosophy videogame that you know of. That deals with tough existential questions, remaining skeptic and perhaps exhorting non conventional thought processes implemented in its gameplay, rather than explained through text or cut-scenes?

Edited by gasto

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Thanks for the information. The second link seems most relevant. The games of the first link seem quite the typical combat gameplay, which is probably mindless shoot'em-up, with incidental philosophical story line.

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Yes there have definitely been games that explore philosophy.  This was kind of a popular thing to do in RPGs of the SuperNintendo Era (Soul Blazer series, Final Fantasy series, Crono Trigger...) and in PC adventure games in the 90s.  I dunno about remaining skeptical though; video games usually have to have an internal definition of what's right and what's wrong so that they can reward the right thing and penalize the wrong thing, or so that a big bad guy representing the wrong thing can be defeated in a final battle.

Edited by sunandshadow

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Black and White allowed the player to be a good or bad deity. Several role-playing games also track alignment as you play. Although philosophy isn't emphasized, I feel like the player is exploring the concepts of good and evil as they play.

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You want it to be like a college philosophy course in game form?  I'm not sure what that would look like, so I can't say whether I've seen it before.  Are you trying to make players think about something in a specific way?  No reason a hack&slash game can't provide settings for existential crisis, but it seems to me that you'd have to either make the game an on-rails lecture.  If you have a "victory condition" of, "Behave like a knight of infinite resignation", then you're flunking all your aesthetes, but also flunking your lateral thinkers and your pragmatists and your world-explorers and your compulsive seekers of game content and none of them really know why your game sucks so hard.

 

If you want to present heavy literary content, I'd say do it in cutscenes.  I remember the first Assassin's Creed game had a great character development arc for Altair when his conception of the Creed changed and he re-interpreted it for himself.  It had a kind of Euthyphro feel for me, but you could skip all the cutscenes and never catch that subplot and just stab dudes in the neck all day, and that was good too.

 

So if you're going to cram books down people's throats, you might be better off putting on a tweed coat with leather patches on the elbows.  If you can write a story or develop a character that entertains and engages and personifies a school of thought, that's great.  If you can represent some conflict or crisis in a metaphorical way through situations that the player confronts in gameplay, that's better still.

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The Stanley Parable explores the concept of free will, as well as being a clever critique of the lack of meaningful choices available in most video game narratives.

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