I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled Video Games and Ethics - Actual Questions

So now that my final is done, I'd figure I'd leave this here and let TAY have a whack at it. This isn't by any means the most in depth ethics or moral test I've seen, but at least it might draw up some fun conversations pieces.


This is the main question: Do video game developers have ethical obligations?

Now my main problem with the question is how simple it was to answer: Yes. What would've been more interesting is all the other moral and ethical questions that have permeated the industry throughout the years.


For example:

  • Violence and video games.
  • Women's portrayal in video games.
  • On-disc DLC or Day One DLC.
  • DRM (Such as always online or limiting installs)
  • Sexuality in games. Like homosexual relationships in games.
  • Sex in games in general.
  • Taboo subjects: Things that come to mind are baptisms and Bioshock Infinite, Six Days in Fallujah, Depression Quest, Super Columbine Massacre RPG, and That Dragon, Cancer. (My professor was utterly surprised that there were games about depression and cancer.)
  • Censorship in games.

Now apply the main question to these following ones:

1) What are the main arguments from both sides of the issue?

2) Which ethical theory plays a more prominent role in the issue, Social Contract theory or Divine Command theory? Explain.


3) Explain Utilitarianism and show what a Utilitarian response to your question would look like? Could a Utilitarian argue for both sides of the issue?

4) Explain both versions of the Categorical Imperative and show what a Kantian response to your question would look like.


5) Explain Care-ethics and show what a feminist response to your question would look like.

6) Explain your own answer to the question and how it relates to the ethical theories from the course. Are you a multiple-strategies Utilitarian, a Kantian Absolutist, a blend of Social Contract theory and Care-ethics, or something totally different?


So while this is a rather simplified look at ethics and morals and how they relate to video games, it does bring up a the fact that video games are no longer the 'kids toys' that they were marketed as back in the 80's and that there are a lot more mature and important issues that now come along with our pastime.

Feel free to rant, rave, critique, and bring up any other ethical and moral issues that you know of dealing with video games in the comments.

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