Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay (MIT Press)

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But even more important than these observations and suggestions for general design, Sicart proposes a model for thinking about the kinds of decisions that games provide a special opportunity to examine.

Among other key factors, information is limited and imperfect, the outcome of a given choice not immediately clear, decisions must be made under time constraints and without the benefit of any chance to take things back or try again if the results are unsatisfactory, all of which contribute to a complex decision without an immediately obvious right answer. Almost all major choices we make must account for the fact that we often lack certainty about circumstance or consequence.

Furthermore, any nontrivial problem is a unique collection of specific factors and constraints, the specific intersection of which is a crucial determinant of an ethical response. The framing of a wicked problem acknowledges these complexities and focuses not on the specifics of a given problem, but rather the moral thought process that goes into making a decision. Videogames have the ability to offer players a chance to face such a question and observe the results, potentially providing a foundation for a deeper insight into the patterns of thought used to answer such questions.

Sicart illustrates this with a detailed example drawn from Fallout 3 Bethesda Game Studios, , where players are able to negotiate peaceful coexistence among the residents of Tenpenny Tower and another nearby group. Should the player return later, however, he will discover that one of the factions has backed out of the deal and slain the other residents even after they welcomed them in to share their home While grim, this clearly illustrates what Sicart considers a particularly important purpose of ethical reasoning: considering how possible outcomes may deviate from intentions and expected outcomes.

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That videogames can provide examples of such cases without requiring anyone suffer through the consequences makes them a useful tool in the development of robust ethical reasoning. Wicked problems exist throughout the human experience, and there is a long tradition of wrestling with these kinds of questions through media.

But Beyond Choices proposes that videogames provide a unique way to tackle them that is both supportive of deep introspection and accessible to the general public. For one thing, games present the question directly to the audience and ask them to make a decision themselves, rather than simply agreeing or disagreeing with the decision a character is shown to have made.

And by situating all individual choices within a systemic model, games provide a way to engage the player with an overarching moral system rather than a series of isolated decisions. March In videogame criticism, the worst insult might be "That's not a real game!

In this engaging book, Mia Consalvo and Christopher Paul examine the debates about the realness or not-realness of videogames and find that these discussions shape what games get made and who is invited to play them. Consalvo and Paul look at three main areas often viewed as determining a game's legitimacy: the game's pedigree its developer , the content of the game itself, and the game's payment structure.

Play in the Age of Computer Machinery | Playing Systems: people, play & computers

They find, among other things, that even developers with a track record are viewed with suspicion if their games are on suspect platforms. They investigate game elements that are potentially troublesome for a game's gameness, including genres, visual aesthetics, platform, and perceived difficulty. Finally, they examine the debate around such so-called walking simulators as Dear Esther and Gone Home.

And finally, they consider what purpose is served by labeling certain games "real. Christopher A. October If something is fun, is it pleasant? A way to trick students into learning?

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They position fun at the heart of the aesthetics of games. They begin by outlining three elements for understanding the drive, creation, and experience of fun: set-outsideness, ludic forms, and ambiguity. Moving from theory to practice and back again, they explore the complicated relationships among the titular fun, taste, and games.

They consider, among other things, the dismissal of fun by game journalists and designers; the seminal but underinfluential game Myst, and how tastes change over time; the shattering of the gamer community in Gamergate; and an aesthetics of play that goes beyond games. A former game journalist, he runs the website Buzzcut. Can games measure intelligence?


How will artificial intelligence inform games of the future? In Playing Smart, Julian Togelius explores the connections between games and intelligence to offer a new vision of future games and game design. Video games already depend on AI. We use games to test AI algorithms, challenge our thinking, and better understand both natural and artificial intelligence.

Play Matters - Miguel Sicart - Google книги

In the future, Togelius argues, game designers will be able to create smarter games that make us smarter in turn, applying advanced AI to help design games. In this book, he tells us how. Games are the past, present, and future of artificial intelligence. In , Alan Turing, one of the founding fathers of computer science and artificial intelligence, handwrote a program for chess.

Programmers continue to use games to test and develop AI, creating new benchmarks for AI while also challenging human assumptions and cognitive abilities. By studying how we play and design games, Togelius writes, we can better understand how humans and machines think. AI can do more for game design than providing a skillful opponent.

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We can harness it to build game-playing and game-designing AI agents, enabling a new generation of AI-augmented games. With AI, we can explore new frontiers in learning and play. But how do games create emotion? In How Games Move Us, Katherine Isbister takes the reader on a timely and novel exploration of the design techniques that evoke strong emotions for players. She counters arguments that games are creating a generation of isolated, emotionally numb, antisocial loners.

Games, Isbister shows us, can actually play a powerful role in creating empathy and other strong, positive emotional experiences; they reveal these qualities over time, through the act of playing. Isbister describes choice and flow, two qualities that distinguish games from other media, and explains how game developers build upon these qualities using avatars, non-player characters, and character customization, in both solo and social play.

She shows how designers use physical movement to enhance players' emotional experience, and examines long-distance networked play. She illustrates the use of these design methods with examples that range from Sony's Little Big Planet to the much-praised indie game Journey to art games like Brenda Romero's Train. Isbister's analysis shows us a new way to think about games, helping us appreciate them as an innovative and powerful medium for doing what film, literature, and other creative media do: helping us to understand ourselves and what it means to be human. February Over the past fifteen years, the synthesis of art and games has clouded for both artists and gamemakers.

Contemporary art has drawn on the tool set of videogames, but has not considered them a cultural form with its own conceptual, formal, and experiential affordances. Beyond choices also calls upon heavy philosophical theories and studies, which can be a little hard to comprehend without the right background. However, Sicart does a masterful job of presenting these ideas in an easy to understand way that does not sacrifice their meaning. Overall, the book is meant for game designers that wish to give these types of ethical experiences to those gamers seeking them out. Overall though, I highly recommend Beyond choices: The design of ethical gameplay.

Sicart makes a compelling argument for his theory that, if taken to heart by game designers, will make a more interesting game landscape in the future. Any designer looking to make their game standout as art or any game enthusiast interested in learning more about video game design and their potential to help us explore and express our values as human beings should read this book.

Review of Beyond choices: The design of ethical gameplay by David Pettersen. Miguel Sicart. Beyond choices: The design of ethical gameplay.