Games can be good, bad, or some of both. At LionFire Games, we are committed to the pursuit of making games that add meaning and value to people’s lives, while eliminating negative influences.
Introduction to Ethical Issues in Games
by Jared Thirsk
Video Game Addiction
Games can be good and fun, but they can also be a trap for many people. They can appear more fun in the short term than accomplishing real-life goals. Video game addiction is a real problem. Some responsibility lies with the player for choosing how to spend their time, but some responsibility also lies with game makers who purposefully design games around principles of addiction, and then provide little meaningful value once players are addicted.
Violence in Games
Many are concerned with the effect violent games may be having on people who play them. It is a hot button issue, as the latest mass murderers are often found to be fans of violent games. I do think violent games can be a scapegoat, as a very large majority of boys play violent games when growing up, and it is not clear whether violent games lead to violent and aggressive behaviour, or if those with violent and aggressive tendencies are drawn to violent games. I want to understand the issues and research for violence in games, and not promote violent behaviour. It would also be good to identify While I seemed to grow up alright, despite playing James Bond, shooting at villains and their security guards, and playing games where I was an Allied soldier, shooting Nazi’s, and generations before me grew up playing Cowboys and Indians, Sometimes my conscience has trouble killing a spider in my house, but no trouble killing another 1000 Nazi soldiers. While the violent games many of us Evil in Games Games are story telling medium that influence people. They are perhaps the best Lack of Meaning
Storytelling in Games
Just like any other storytelling medium, games tell a story. Stories can glorify heroism or villainry. They can comfort or evoke discomfort. They can be soothing escapism or promote critical thinking. There is a great deal of ethics involved in storytelling, and it applies to games to the extent they tell a story.
Behaviour Shaping in Games
In games, people willingly subject themselves to spending hours playing by the rules someone else made up. The behaviors could be inane or productive,
1. Have a set of Core Principles to provide a foundation for the long term. (See Our Core Ethical Principles document.)
2. Have a more detailed set of ethical game design guidelines to inform the game design decisions when making games. (See Our Ethical Guidelines for Game Design document.)
3. Identify ways to help people through games, so that they can be incorporated into games as possible. (See our Ethical Opportunities document.)
4. Follow and contribute to the public development of discussions of ethics to promote a generally healthier and more beneficial video game industry. (See our Game Ethics blog, which will feature original discussion of ethics, as well as posts linking to 3rd party information.)