The Ethics of Computer Game Design

Sicart Miguel
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Every choice implies responsibility. Responsibility implies ethical values imprinted in those choices. Computer games have been considered “a series of interesting choices” . Is it possible to think of games as moral objects? Or, more precisely: is the design of computer games morally accountable? Computer game design is the craft of gameplay, the challenge of creating a balanced and enjoyable game. In a way, computer game design is the art of creating interesting, entertaining choices. What are the ethics this activity imprints in computer games? What are the ethics of game design? This paper will argue for the analysis of computer games as moral objects because of the ethical values that can be imprinted in their design. Understanding the importance of design as a creative ethical activity, will allow the analysis of computer games’ rethorics and the ways they are or could be used for conveying engaging ethical experiences. Understanding the morality of the digital expression can show us both the ways for new expressions, and the moral being of computer game as a form of art.


Abusing the Player, and Making Them Like it Too! [Abstract]

Wilson Douglas Sicart Miguel
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

In this paper we suggest an alternative perspective: game design as abusing the player. Inspired by a number of independent and experimental games, we propose the notion of abusing the player as a creative, aesthetic position taken by the game designer. Abusing players means forcing them into adopting the arbitrary or intentionally antagonistic elements of a game. The metaphor of abuse implies that players are pushed outside of their comfort zone and into the realm of an abusive power relation in which they are punished by the game and its designer.


Workshop: Ethics in Videogames [Extended Abstracts]

Zagal José P. Schrier Karen Sicart Miguel
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

This workshop will highlight the experiences of researchers and practitioners who are investigating and designing games in the growing field of ethics and games. In the first half of the workshop, we will lead a discussion of best practices for designing and studying games that enable the practice of ethical thinking and reasoning skills. We will also evaluate possible methodologies and challenges for assessing ethics in games. Finally, we will discuss ethical considerations surrounding the development of games and gamer communities. In the second half of the workshop, participants will engage in a series of hands-on activities designed to put into practice many of the issues discussed earlier. These activities will include exercises in game design as well as game analysis


Family Values: Ideology, Computer Games & Sims

Sicart Miguel
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This article discusses some ideological issues related with the simulation of social systems in The Sims, proposing an interpretation of The Sims as an ideological game. This paper will focus on describing The Sims as a social simulator of a postcapitalist society: what The Sims proposes as an ideological game is a simulation of a specific set of values linked with a capitalist culture. Therefore, it can be considered not as a social simulator, but as a simulator of an ideology of modern capitalist societies. The last goal of this article is, then, to propose an analysis of the relation between rules, gameplay and ideology in certain computer game simulations.