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## Morality in Game Design

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### #21Magic Card  Members

Posted 20 April 2000 - 11:41 AM

Yeah, I agree with Mr K. Making a game that takes place in a death camp in Germany sounds sick. However, it''d be neat if the game was, like, you had to eventually free as many people as you could (you know, a graphic adventure game).

I too am trying to understand why people think video games are bad. IMHO, they expand our minds. Take, for example, there''s this boss you''ve been trying to beat, and 4 days later you beat him and you remember how you did it. A kid at school tries to beat you up using similar moves as the boss. If you remember what you did against the boss, you know how you avoided him and when you fought back, you''ll be okay (okay, maybe that''s a bad example .

Top quality games don''t kick ass as well as these.

Prepare to be blown away!
-------------------------

Magic Card

### #22Patrick_99  Members

Posted 20 April 2000 - 11:53 AM

Well they way I look at you make and play the type of games you like and I''ll make and play mine. Rather then get involved in a debate that has the potenial to go on for ever and no one will benfits from it. It''s like the example that was givien below about killing Nazis and Kill Amercians etc some people would be indifferant and then other would be out at the extremes. It just pointless to argue over such a trivial matter. The only time I would try to stop someone from playing a game they liked is if it were affecting there real life in a negative way. Such as trying to them selves in the role of Dukem Nukem and go on killing rampage in a shopping center. I believe something like that really happend a guy got a little to involved with Dukem Nukem 3D and started killing people in a shopping center. The guy even shot a mirror thinking there were power ups behind it. Tragic...Yes...reason to censor games for everyone...No.

### #23Peddler  Members

Posted 20 April 2000 - 02:18 PM

I jumped to the bottom of this thread, so this may be a bit off topic....but I was just wondering if anyone else..occasionly confuses reality with games (for only a brief millisecond of course)

I remember after basically living for 2 months in Ultima Online, I would sometimes think to cast spells at certain times in RL.

For instance, I was skiing and I saw a group of snowboarders making trouble and for a brief second thought I
would cast a fire wall on them as they were all grouped together.

Alright, now i''m either a nut or a real hardcore gamer , but on a serious note...I wonder...as technology increases and people are able to become more and more immersed in games...if people will accidently do things is real life thinking it was a game.

I mean with hmds, ultrarealistic graphics and sound,, and who knows what else...what''s to say that someone won''t suddently take a sharp swerv on the highway, thinking for a second it was a driving game.

-Tim Yarosh
Lucid Games
www.lucidgames.net

### #24MikeD  Members

Posted 20 April 2000 - 11:57 PM

The driving game example is a very real one. I occasinally catch myself slipping into game mode on long trips thinking (only very, very briefly) what it would be like to take a swift right turn off a bridge.
It doesn''t help that I work 9-5 (and then some) on a driving game for my company. The more realistic the game gets the more hazy the line between staring at a small screen (that takes up most of your view) and staring at a windscreen. I keep on getting the urge to use the handbrake way to much for tight turns in RL because of the way the car handles in the game.

I have to say though...looking out my window at the suburban London traffic I don''t think my AI drives that badly at all :o)

Mike

### #25Kylotan  Moderators

Posted 22 April 2000 - 03:31 AM

I agree with most of what you said, but I''ll address the parts where I don''t:

quote:
Original post by stimarco

Yes, parents can make mistakes. So what? The fault still lies with the parents. You''re supposed to *learn* from your mistakes, not cop out and blame them on someone else. It''s not our fault if a father leaves a large, loaded rifle on their bed and their bedroom door unlocked so their toddler can walk in and play. All it takes is common sense; something that appears to be in increasingly short supply.

Learning from one''s mistakes is all well and good, but I think a child''s (or an adult''s) death is just a little too serious to be put down to trial and error, no?

I think, however, the toddler example is not a good one: in this case, the kid would just be playing, and is unlikely to be a FPS expert. Whereas I am addressing more the situations where a person actively chooses to shoot someone for some reason.

quote:
Should countries like the UK be deprived of first-person shooters just because the citizens of the USA can''t be bothered to keep their artillery under lock and key?

Well, no. I have already said I don''t favour censorship. But there is a sliding scale from ''acceptable'' violence to ''unacceptable'' violence. I think Doom, for example, is unlikely to be as much of an influence as you never kill anything truly human. Whereas at the other end of the scale, you have things like Soldier Of Fortune, which looks like a great game, but I''m sure it could be a little disturbing... and some sick kid may well want to see what real-life ''gore zones'' are...

I also mentioned above that these issues are a problem with society, rather than with games as such. As you know, we in the UK have the same movies, music, games as the US. But we kill far fewer people. The problem is primarily down to other social values. This doesn''t remove the chance that video games may be a factor in violence. It may just be that here in the UK, we are not violent enough for the games to tip us over the edge.

quote:
Every time a censor removes a choice from you, it means a wall is replacing a door. That door gives freedom of choice: you can open it if you want to see what''s on the other side, or leave it closed if you don''t like the sound of all that screaming.

Some people don''t know what''s good for them, and will step through the door regardless. Sadly, often in these cases, it''s not the people who made that mistake who are the worse off for it - it''s their victims who suffer.

quote:
Art is about creating new doors. Nobody is forcing you to open them.

If every adult was mature enough to both make those choices, and was responsible enough not to take out their frustrations on innocent 3rd parties, I''d agree totally.

### #26Kylotan  Moderators

Posted 22 April 2000 - 03:41 AM

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

Any child that goes off and kills people BECAUSE OF a violent game they played is so maladjusted that they should have been institutionalized a long time prior.

If you think it is easy to spot who is maladjusted that easily, then you are very wrong. But again, I don''t believe I said anyone killed ''because'' of a computer game. The computer game may have contributed to violent instincts, or desensitized them to violence, taught them violence is an effective way of resolving disputes, or perhaps even made them more efficient at being violent.

quote:
I put it to you that eliminating all violence in computer games will not stop school or any other form of actual violence.

I agree that it will not stop it. I put it to you that it would reduce it.

quote:

If people can''t take responsibility for their actions (and note that this includes the act of having a child), then we''re collectively screwed. Every time an institution is charged with exercising responsibility on behalf of the people, the people suffer.

Guess what? Game developers are people too. There''s more to preventing violence than watching a child 24/7. No amount of control will prevent people acting violently if you''re indoctrinating people with it. The key is to not teach them these things in the first place.

Posted 23 April 2000 - 05:57 PM

RAPE?

I have been kind of forced into thinking about the subject of morality in games recently because my current plot calls for the main character to endure being raped. I''ve had more than one person refuse to even think about the rest of my game because of this one plot event. This is supposed to be a terrifying, tragic moment, and I feel that the plot wouldn''t be as moving without it. Plus the rape itself is what gives the main character the key to regain her freedom and whomp the rapist - I think this is a _good_ moral. :/ So what does everyone think? Should I perservere, or go looking for a new plot?

(BTW, I am female. No, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT a rape fantasy.)

### #28Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*  Guests

Posted 23 April 2000 - 06:10 PM

hey, theres a game develpment project in singapore abt writing non violent games ... no violence in it at all !
However, some doubt that it will ever be interesting (It has to be a 3D action game)

### #29MikeD  Members

Posted 23 April 2000 - 11:59 PM

Sunandshadow I think it''s perfectly okay to have adult storylines in games. The concept of having a design with a pivotal part of the plot concerning something as deeply unpleasant as rape is not unthinkable and if told well can have a positive effect on the player.
I wrote a long post regarding what it is about different game types that make it okay to have a game about slaughtering people (unreal tournament/half-life) but not about rape. I came to the conclusion that it''s the mentality behind how you derive the fun (or at least the experience, games don''t have to be fun, horror movies aren''t really _fun_ but they are a good experience) not the plot that the fun revolves around.
(btw I ended up not posting this message, maybe I will later)
I don''t think it would be okay to have an FPS style game revolving around being a serial killer in the same way that I don''t think it would be okay to have a game revolving around being a serial rapist. The kind of enjoyment you get from an FPS is one of adrenaline not cold hearted killing which forgives a lot of it''s graphic nature.
There is no design that I can think of where it''s reasonable to use rape as it''s main plotline if you play the antagonist because the only kind of enjoyment you can get out of that is one that should not be found in computer games (IMHO).

The one problem in your game design is due to capitalism and the demographic of game players. Game players, or at least a large proportion of them, are under 18 and a rape centralized plotline would not be allowed to sell to that group. I would imagine that would put a lot of people off to start with before you even got to the fact that it''s a new, unproven, game concept which puts most publishers off straight away.

I''m not writing this to put you off though and you have my best wishes in trying to get this design through.

Mike

Posted 25 April 2000 - 10:15 AM

quote:
Original post by MikeD

The one problem in your game design is due to capitalism and the demographic of game players. Game players, or at least a large proportion of them, are under 18 and a rape centralized plotline would not be allowed to sell to that group. I would imagine that would put a lot of people off to start with before you even got to the fact that it''s a new, unproven, game concept which puts most publishers off straight away.

I''m not writing this to put you off though and you have my best wishes in trying to get this design through.

Mike

Thank you How many minutes of game time would the scene need to be to qualify as central, do you know? This shouldn''t be more than 5, and much of that will be the Bad Guy laying out his ultimatim.

### #31MikeD  Members

Posted 26 April 2000 - 12:41 AM

I think it''s more how much the game and the plot revolve around the rape than how long the scene in the game lasts. If everything the character does afterwards is based on this one scene i.e. the storyline follows on to how the character acts afterwards/gets their revenge, then it could qualify as being central to the plot.
If it''s only a small part of the overall plot then it''s less important.

Mike

### #32Bert Halligan  Members

Posted 26 April 2000 - 02:11 AM

I don''t think we are yet at the stage where games are really going to corrupt people that much. Soldier of fortune was mentioned and I think that shows the direction games are going in. What will happen when as someone said we can''t distinguish between games and reality. Think of soldier of fortune XXII set in the equivalent of the holo deck in star trek where you gat an exact replica of killing someone which seems totally real. The question is what type of people would enjoy doing that or by that time will too much FPS playing have desensitised us all into enjoying it. I hope not.

On the political side of things if gaming is to become a mainstream media art form (which I think it will) then we can''t avoid sensitive issues. How many controversial books and films have been written/made throughout history that addressed sensitive issues and made people think about things they might not have thought of before. If you strongly disagree with something then why not make a game that addresses that. I don''t think you could do it too explicitly at the moment or you would probably just be shooting yourself in the foot but hopefully when the industry matures and grows you would be able to do so and still have an audience. Untill then certain issues can be addressed more abstractly but shouldn''t be avoided.

On a side note, Peddler your post scared me quite a bit. I hope you don''t play FPS games and own a gun.

### #33Ninja Boy  Members

Posted 26 April 2000 - 02:50 AM

I beleive that the game your talking about, the prison camp game should be destroyed! I beleive that that peice of crud is terrible. It puts people into control of a camp that killed and injured about 6 million jews in WWII.

though I like games like "Goldeneye 007" and "Half-Life" I still don''t like games that all you do is kill people. Running around a shooting up people is what is getting some of these kids to do stuff. Colombine! Look at that! A bet those kids were shoot-em-up game gurus! I can see you liking a game, but when you go so far as to act like the person in the game!

Plus some of it is the the people selling the guns. How do kids get a hold of dangerous weapons like that!? Their parents may have one but the parents shouldn''t let the kids know!

"blow up a lawnmower plant, save a lawn gnome!"

### #34m1dn1ght  Members

Posted 28 April 2000 - 06:16 PM

Frankly I''ll put in what I and my team deem fit to put in, nothing more, nothing less.
My morals don''t come into the picture. If I voluntarily apply for a Mature (18+) rating by the ESRB, I''ve done my part for morality. Frankly I like playing bloody games, simply as a good outlet for my stress

I think the real morally bereft people are retail companies and parents. Having worked in the business I know that salespeople are expressly told (off the record) to sell their Mature rated product to anyone, no matter how old or else they won''t meet their daily sales quota. (Which can easily be $4000-$5000 in sales per day for a small branch).
And of course the irresponsible parents that come in and buy their kids these games themselves without even glancing at content.
Not an opinion: this happens, and is everyday reality.

### #35MikeD  Members

Posted 30 April 2000 - 02:39 AM

So m1dn1ght, you realise that the 18+ certificate game you create WILL be sold to underage kids but because you apply for that certificate you are under no moral obligation even though you know it means nothing?

That''s rubbish.

You can''t throw responsibility away like that, that''s a lack of morals not a moral basis.
If you said you didn''t think these games would hurt anyone then fine, that''s your opinion but just because there''s a useless governing body out there it doesn''t mean you can throw any obligation you think you would otherwise have away.

MikeD

### #36m1dn1ght  Members

Posted 01 May 2000 - 05:46 PM

Actually no that not what I''m saying MikeD. I''m not throwing away my moral obligation. Now personally I''d hate to see gore and violence removed from games. Yes it''s an added effect and doesn''t make a game. But what many people are asking of developers is the equivalent of Hollywood editing everything rated above a "G" until it meets the G-rating parameters. There are adult movies, as well as adult games, and if a kid plays it then someone has screwed up, but it''s sure as hell not the game developer.
Yes I agree there is some stuff too contraversial to show, but I''ll leave that up to whoever''s discretion. This isn''t the topic I''m on though.
Yes maybe I could have added a parental lock, or something similar. But in the end it bears as much weight as the rating. Yeah, I stand behind the rating system, even if it won''t work most of the time, it does work for a few people.
By applying for a mature rating by myself, means that I am making a game for ADULTS not children. You can''t put me on the block for that man. Sorry.

### #37Landfish  Members

Posted 03 May 2000 - 04:29 AM

When the ESRB was first created, it was stated that the labels were warnings intended for THE PARENTS to watch for. They are the ones upon whom the responsibility falls, according to the very people who made the warnings labels.

Anyone who makes the assumption that the Columbine Shootings were at all related to games is ignoring the details. These people did not shoot other students because they were desensatized to violence. They planned for weeks to go in a massacre as many people as they could. It wasn''t that they didn''t know it was wrong. It was that they knew it WAS wrong.

I don''t know what kind of desensatiztion would cause the kind of idiocy you need to have to think such an act is worthwhile. But you sure as hell don''t get it from gaming. Making the (incorrect) assumption that the must have been Quake players is just ridiculous (and wrong, too!)

Other than my 2 cents, I read the posts (betcha thought I didn''t!) and was really intrigued by SunandShadow''s idea. I find rape to be completely unwholesome and disgusting, but I believe that since it does happen frighteningly often, then it does have a place in fiction. To censor yourself from dicussing such topics is like just wishing they didn''t happen. War happens. Make a game about fighting in or ending a war. Tyranny happens, there are plenty of games about displacing tyrants (read: the 80s). Rape happens. If we portray it as the disgusting act that it is, we''ve done something far better than not portraying it at all.

I am also working on a game where on of the characters has been raped. It''s a long term project, but I am still interested in what people think of that.

Where does the Landfish live? Everywhere. Is not the Landfish the Buddha?

### #38Kylotan  Moderators

Posted 03 May 2000 - 08:29 AM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

When the ESRB was first created, it was stated that the labels were warnings intended for THE PARENTS to watch for. They are the ones upon whom the responsibility falls, according to the very people who made the warnings labels.

So, if I decide to set up a regulatory body, I get to make the decision about who is responsible instead of me?

### #39Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*  Guests

Posted 03 May 2000 - 08:55 AM

>quote:
>----------------------------------------------------------->--------------------
>I put it to you that eliminating all violence in computer >games will not stop school or any other form of actual >violence.
>----------------------------------------------------------->--------------------
>
>
>I agree that it will not stop it. I put it to you that it >would reduce it.

I disagree. Football (American), Soccer, and even worse Rugby have a worse effect. If you were to say we should limit violent games because they give people adrenaline rushes, why don''t we stop playing Football because they also do too? Why not stop firefighters because they may get an adrenaline rush that may make them kill someone? My point is, that if you cannot see the difference between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, murder and well... not-murder (couldn''t think of a word), then you have more problems than playing Doom, you would need serious help, or a re-programming (no pun intended)

### #40Landfish  Members

Posted 03 May 2000 - 10:06 AM

Kylotan:
Yep. Ain''t it great? (sarcasm...) I''m not supporting the idea, I''m just saying *that''s* why ESRB ratings aren''t enforced by retailers.

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