Currently in my Ethics in Technology class we’re covering debates. In the past few weeks, we decided on a topic to present to the class, creating three separate propositions from that topic and then discussed those propositions using various ethical systems. Frankly, most of the topics were really interesting and for the most part everyone did rather well though one thing that I did notice is that people tend to get caught up in their own view of things. They have their own view of the situation and almost anything outside of that view is practically considered evil. So much so that they don’t even stop to consider the other side of the issue. This isn’t just confined to the classroom however, as you can usually see this kind of behavior clearly exhibited by people in the world everyday. In the real world I find this stance to be a little disappointing. It often seems that people either don’t know or don’t care about the other side of the issue and frankly it makes their argument weaker as a whole.
In the world of video games, you see this manifest in decision trees that are entirely black and white. Either you are a good guy doing X thing or you’re an evil guy doing Y thing. Not all games are like this, but the majority of them do tend to take this model. I understand the reasoning for it, and it’s really not because game developers can’t do better. Frankly when it’s setup in this manner it’s just much easier for the player to understand. In addition to this, it provides a greater sense of empowerment because there is no uncertainty on the player’s part as to whether they did what they wanted too or not. This sense of empowerment is extremely important in the world of game design as it’s part of the reason why people play games. So in the world of games, it’s actually usually a better decision to build a game in this manner. In a more practical sense though it can feel a little boring at times. So this can be kind of a difficult thing to work through when creating games. What some games will do though, is while the decisions may seem to be perfectly good and evil they will actually have certain ripple effects that will come back and effect the game in a large way later. This is tricky though because the connection between the two events needs to be abundantly clear to the player otherwise they may feel cheated. So while not a perfect solution, it’s still an excellent way to potentially solve this issue for the player. There are a few other ways to explore but these will have to way for another time.