Boundaries, Trust and Reputation in Virtual and Illicit Markets

Fleet Robert
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

The current narrative in criminology is that drawing behavioural parallels between groups observed in virtual markets and groups within illicit markets is hampered by the lack of legal frameworks to outline and describe criminal activities. Without a legal framework it is a struggle to distinguish normative behaviour from deviant behaviour. However, this paper argues that rather than lacking legal frameworks, virtual worlds have an extensive set of formal and informal social controls that approximate the legal and social regulations placed on illicit markets in the physical world. Both the virtual market and illicit markets are punctuated by their use of violence as a tool to resolve disputes, protect markets and enforce financial transactions in the ongoing absence of legal regulation. Therefore, that if the criminological narrative can be adapted to recognise the parallels between the two markets, then the opportunity exists to study the behavior of individuals and groups in a controlled and well observed setting contained in virtual markets. This will provide insights into the structures and relationships between illicit market groups in the physical world.


Ethics at Play in Undertale: Rhetoric, Identity and Deconstruction

Seraphine Frederic
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper focuses on the effect of ethical – and unethical – actions of the player on their perception of the self towards game characters within Toby Fox’s (2015) independent Role Playing Game (RPG) Undertale, a game often perceived as a pacifist text. With a focus on the notions of guilt and responsibility in mind, a survey with 560 participants from the Undertale fandom was conducted, and thousands of YouTube comments were scraped to better understand how the audience who watched or played the different routes of the game, refer to its characters. Through the joint analysis of the game’s semiotics, survey data, and data scraping, this paper argues that, beyond the rhetorical nature of its story, Undertale is operating a deconstruction of the RPG genre and is harnessing the emotional power of gameplay to evoke thoughts about responsibility and raise the player’s awareness about violence and its consequences.


Fictionalism and videogame aggression

Tavinor Grant
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

Videogames undoubtedly contain a great deal of apparent violence and aggression. This depictive content has frequently led to both public moral condemnation and the scientific investigation of the possible effects games have on aggression and violence beyond the context of gaming. This paper is not concerned with either the moral or the empirical questions of the effects of game violence, rather it concerns a conceptual problem with the analysis of in-game aggression. The frequently unacknowledged status of almost all videogames as fictions has important implications for our understanding of the content of games and the attitude of players toward it, and has proved a very poor starting point for understanding the function of apparently aggressive and violent gameplay. This paper investigates how the fictional nature of videogames affects the analysis of game aggression and violence, both undermining various assumptions of scientific accounts of game violence, but also leading to promising avenues of investigating the role of fictional aggression in gameplay.


Good Violence, Bad Violence: The Ethics of Competition in Multiplayer Games

Nguyen C. Thi Zagal José P.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Most game studies research on ethics and games examines the ways games encode, express, and encourage ethical reflection and ideas through their systems, mechanics, and representational elements. However, not much attention has been paid to the ethical aspects of games as/when they are played by more than one player. In this article we use literature from the philosophy of sports to discuss how competition can be framed as an ethical activity and how doing so allows us to examine commonly used value-laden terms such as ganking, spawncamping, and trash talking. We propose the idea of the ideal moral competitive game: a game in which the best moves or plays are coincidentally those that result in the best possible degree and type of challenge for my opponent. From this baseline we then articulate a preliminary ethics of play, centered on competition that can be productive for examining and understanding the ethics of inter-player interactions.


Exploring the Cause of Game (Derived) Arousal: What biometric accounts of player experience revealed

Schott Gareth Marczak Raphaël Neshausen Leanne
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

In the context of a three-year research study into game violence, designed to query the strong association between policy-oriented effects research and responsive regulation measures, a mixed methodology was employed to examine player experience with ‘violent’ texts (as introduced in Schott et al., 2013a). Guided by the supposition that ‘explor[ing] the extent to which the public’s perception of causal links between game playing and various social ills’ might be ‘moderated or even undermined by [knowledge of] how players actually respond to and negotiate their way through the content and characteristics of the medium’ (OFLC, 2009, p. 24), our study contains a number of data or ‘entry’ points. The aim is to characterize the multi-dimensional nature of players’ experiences. This paper addresses the outcome of utilizing one measure in particular, biometric measures (GSR), as a guide for determining what aspects of Battlefield 3 (Electronic Arts) should be examined in accounts of player experiences. Our method of applying biometric data is outlined and what it was able to reveal in terms of the occurrence and cause of arousal for players is discussed. The paper reflects on what a broader and textually neutral method of accessing game-play experiences in the context of a ‘violent’ game reveals about play. A key outcome of taking this approach to detecting what aspects of a game had the most impact on players, is how GSR led us away from content that is more commonly highlighted and prioritized in the classification of games like Battlefield 3 - as an engagement with ‘violence’.


(Re)Mark(s) of the Ninja: Replaying the Remnants

Côté Pierre-Marc
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The author makes an appraisal of the videogame Mark of the Ninja (Klei 2012) through the analysis of its construction of temporality. Appropriating the framework of litterature scholar Éric Méchoulan, time is described as the anachronistic folding of the past upon the present. The theme of time and memory in the game is paralleled with Méchoulan’s media-archeological approach to western metaphysics, insisting on the material processes and ethics of thought, mediation and transmission. As the game applies such treatment of the mythical past of the fictional world, it is also aesthetically molding the experience of gameplay through marks as objects for an archeology of gamespace. It leads to critical approaches to cultural legitimacy and violence that nonetheless leaves the pleasures of narrative and play intact. Finally, the author uses David Bohm’s concept of suspension, showing how the articulation of contemplation and gameplay performances makes time for critical play.


PWNED: Motivation of South Koreans Who Engage in Person vs. Person Gameplay in World of Warcraft

Sheard Adam Won Young-Shin
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

This research explores the two most prominent theories regarding the motivations for South Koreans to engage in player vs. player gameplay in Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. The data collection process consisted of an ethnographic approach with the researcher immersing himself in World of Warcraft player vs. player gameplay to observe and interview gamers over the course of a year. Results showed that while interviewees displayed motivations that could be considered as psychopathic, the majority of player vs. player motivation stemmed from the innate need of players to validate their masculinity through violence.


Computer games and violence: Is there really a connection?

Endestad Tor Torgersen Leila
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

The relationship between videogames and violent behaviour was analysed in a representative sample of 9889 Norwegian youth ageing from 13 to 18 years. Videogames were separated in eight different categories. A hypothesis of the relationship between videogames and violence was put forward as a starting – point for reasoning. A unique correlation between violent videogames, specifying first person shooters and action games, and violent behaviour was found. By controlling for age and gender, the effect of first person shooter games disappeared for youth in - between 9th to 12th grades, and the action videogames remained as the significant predictor. Only first person shooter was a significant predictor in 8th grade.


“I Like the Idea of Killing But Not the Idea of Cruelty”: How New Zealand youth negotiate the pleasures of simulated violence

Schott Gareth
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

‘For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat … It fills the eye. It commands you. You hate it, yes, but your eyes do not’. The aim of this paper is to account for the experience of a two-year research project, funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand. This project sought to interrogate commonly articulated beliefs concerning the contribution of games to the ‘debauched innocence of our young’. Akin to the seemingly incompatible sentiments expressed in the opening quotation, the project broadly acknowledged the complexity of players’ relationship with violence as it is articulated in interactive digital games. To achieve this the project prioritized the experiences and perspectives of young people on the nature and function of what is commonly understood as ‘violent’ content within games. Despite forming the readership of popular culture, young people are commonly denied a voice by the very ‘authorities and opinion makers’ that chastise their practices. This paper highlights how players variously contested the term ‘violence’ for its expansive nature and the appropriateness of the way it is unquestioningly and legitimately employed to express what happens in games.