Blog Archive

Monday, 14 September 2015

Ethics In Video Games

Ethics in video games

Games in Society

Excess playing time-There are many negative effects that can come from playing an excessive amount of video games, with some being physical effects, whilst others being mental effects and even effects that don’t affect you but effect those around you. One physical symptom associated with excess playing of video games is carpal tunnel syndrome which occurs when the main nerve between the forearm and the hand is squeezed, which can occur when playing a lot of computer games, or holding a console for too long. An example of the hugely negative effects of excessive playing of video games is that a three-month-old South Korean girl starved to death after her parents repeatedly left her alone for 12-hour stretches to rendezvous at a local Internet cafe, where they were nurturing a virtual child through a computer game known as “Prius Online.”

Social Isolation- An immediate consequence of playing video games is that it can lead to less social interaction with other people due to the fact that they’re playing video games instead. This can occur especially in children as they want to spend less time out with their friends, and would rather rush back home in order to continue playing a game that they had started. In the long term this can affect their abilities to socialize, and have a lack of social skills later in life.

Cost-On the surface of it, video gaming is already an expensive hobby to pursue, with the cost of buying a console alone can cost £100’s to buy. Add that to having to buy games to play along with that can leave people spending a huge amount of money on video gaming. However, the cost is even greater than that as just in monetary terms you also have the option to buy things within games, sometimes needed to progress through the level, not to mention monthly subscriptions in order to play certain games, and time costs put into playing video games. In South Korea, for example, they have implemented the ‘Shutdown Law’ which stops players under the age of 16 from excessing games after midnight.

Separation from reality- Due to the affects that playing video games can have on peoples social skills, especially in children, it can lead to blurring of the lines between the real world and video game worlds. The time spent on video games can really affect the scope in which these people can interact with other people, leading them to believe that the real world is more like a video game world, and therefore act and behave the way that they would normally inside a video game. An example of this is shown by the fact that younger children who have access to playing or watching games act more aggressively in the class room and act out more graphic scenes from the games that they have either seen or played.

Benefits- Despite the amount of articles in the news that say that video games and video gamers have negative impacts on the rest of society, the truth is that there are a lot of benefits to playing video games. Playing video games can help improve people’s hand-eye coordination and reactions, and drivers have even cited that the reasons that they have managed to avoid head on collisions with other drivers due to their improved reactions from playing video games. Other benefits include perception, memory, attention and decision-making.

Thinking and strategy skills- Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London recruited 72 female volunteers and measured their "cognitive flexibility," described as a person's ability to adapt and switch between tasks and think about multiple ideas at a given time to solve problems.

Impact on ‘Mainstream’ application development- Games and gaming technology is constantly developing, therefore there is always a demand for more advanced hardware and gadgets in order to gain access to these new developments. An example of this is the recently announced HoloLens by Microsoft and Valve in order to allow people to play games in a virtual reality, which allows the games to come to life all around them, instead of just being on a screen. Add this to the increasing number of 3D televisions on display nowadays and it is proof that there is a mainstream impact by gaming.

Psychological factors

Sound- The use of sound in video games helps to create immersion within the game, making it seem more realistic, and helps to draw the player into the world. Sound is also used to help reinforce the feeling of when a gamer has done positively or negatively within the game, with upbeat music for completing a level, or sad, depressing music for a death or failure of some kind. This can help players become better at the game as it lets them know what not to do within the game, or lets them know that they’re doing something right. Sound is usual used to help increase the emotional experience of the game, and thus create a better experience for the gamer.

High Score Listings- In earlier games, high scores were used to make people feel superior about their performance in a video game. However, it could also cause people to become obsessed about being the best and having the highest score. It was documented in the real-life documentary film King of Kong: A fistful of Quarters (, which highlights the emotional struggles of players competing to get the high score within the game. People always like to compare they’re results within any walk of life, and videos gaming is no different. High score listings also act as a positive thing however as they let people come up with new ways to improve themselves and their performance, which can lead to strong problem solving skills later in life.

Competitive Games- Competitive gaming is positive experience for many. Due to the advances of technology it allows people to compete all the time on video games. Being able to communicate cooperate with them allows people to make friends with people they might never have met before. Furthermore, friendly competition helps to bring out the best in each other as each person is trying to outdo the other and perform better. It helps to boost social skills and help to create a group of liked minded friends and associates. However, it is worth noting that within a small number of people competitive gaming can have a negative effect on some people, leading to increased aggression due to not being able to complete certain puzzles or being outperformed by another player can lose people to lose their tempers and act aggressively or even violently. Gamers playing competitive games also showed increased heart rate during and after gameplay. This shows that they are effected by the game and it effects them both psychologically and physically.

Peer Pressure- Something that is more relevant in teenage gamers than any other demographic of video gamer who need to own the latest equipment, be in the newest console or game. This is driven by peer pressure as many people will want to have the best things, else they might be seen in a negative light by their friends. This puts pressure on either the parents, or the teenager themselves to spend a lot of money on these new games and/or consoles. Furthermore, being able to afford the latest gear shows their peers that they are successful and have money available to spend, putting pressure on those who maybe aren’t as fortunate.

Fun- For most people, especially the casual gamer, they play for fun and enjoyment, whether that be just completing a game, or trying to collect everything in a game. Due to the fact that fun is subjective however, people enjoy video games for a multitude of reasons, and everything that goes through a gamers head is that they just want experience fun within the game.

Educational Value- Research into video games has shown that by playing them those people have experienced an increase in basic language skills, English skills, maths skills and social skills. They have also been used to help disabled or severely handicapped people be able to communicate successfully. However, education within gaming is all about how it is used and whether it is used correctly. Video games have also been used to train children with attention deficit disorder to improve their thinking skills. The impact of games within education can only improve, yet only if they are used in the correct way.

Expectations- As technology has advanced within games, as have the expectations within the games. 3D technology allows for better and more realistic looking games, which is what people expect within games nowadays. In games like the FIFA series in which a game is released every year, players expect an increase in graphics, audio and game play every year. This shows that players expect more in terms of game play as well as advances in technology before the release of new consoles and games. The impact that this has is a positive one as this drives the industry and creates jobs on a global scale.  

Leveling- Within games, leveling is a smart concept by games designers as it allows them to award people based on their achievements. Players become more immersed in the gameplay when they have both long and short challenges to complete in the game, whether that be collect all of a certain item with a game, or to complete a quest. These challenges allow the player to feel more immersed within the game, like they are taking to role of the main character.

No comments:

Post a Comment