For next week’s 5a7 Symposium Thorsten Busch will be holding an informal discussion on the design of moral choice and ethical dilemmas in video games. More details below:
Title: “Moral choice in video games?”
Abstract: Many video game companies use “moral choice” as a promotional bullet point on their games. But most of them actually don’t present players with convincing, mature moral decisions. Instead, players usually only get to make “good vs. evil” decisions, mostly in the form of some kind of pseudo-dilemma visualized by obvious feedback like “morality meters”.
From an ethical point of view, this kind of moral reductionism obviously is not very compelling. But instead of just going on a rant on how stupid game designers are (allegedly), I’d like to discuss three questions with the audience:
1. How can we explain the fact that moral choice in games is often designed this way? There might be good reasons for it, like consumer expectations, technical and/or budget limitations, etc.
2. From a game critic’s and/or designer’s point of view, is this design even a problem? If so, what could better alternatives look like?
3. From an academic perspective, what kind of contributions could game studies make in order to turn this alleged shortcoming into a research project that is productive for both researchers and practitioners?
Bio: Thorsten Busch is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Institute for Business Ethics in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He currently studies the political role of online social networks from a business ethics perspective. Website: http://www.iwe.unisg.ch/Ueber+uns/Team/Busch.aspx
Where: Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) LAB, EV 11.425, Corner of Guy and St. Catherine O.
When: Wednesday, February 15, 5pm-7pm
Who: Anyone is welcome, please feel free to bring friends or colleagues who might be interested.
What: Open discussion on moral choice in video games with Thorsten Busch.
As always it’s BYOB. Hope to see you there.