Video Games as Spiritual Activity

If we are in a general way permitted to regard human activity in the realm of the beautiful as a liberation of the soul, as a release from constraint and restriction, in short to consider that art does actually alleviate the most overpowering and tragic catastrophes by means of the creations it offers to our contemplation and enjoyment, it is the art of music which conducts us to the final summit of that ascent to freedom.

– Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

I’ve seen it in the passionate music and epic stories of Final Fantasy. I’ve seen it in the comradery of split-screen deathmatches in Goldeneye. I’ve seen it in the power struggles and great friendships of the silent Tibia. Hell, I’ve seen it in Guitar Hero. Playing (and creating) video games, in a similar sense to listening to (and creating) music, can be a unique way of letting the physical dissolve and allowing the spirit to flourish. It can show us who we are and what we are about on the most fundamental level.

In the world-historical sense, playing video games and skateboarding are utterly absurd activities. In a more subjective and, dare I say, eternal sense they can show us a glimpse of what it means to be human and how the human spirit transcends the purely physical.

How Video Games Satisfy Basic Human Needs

We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.

– Hermann Hesse

This is love. I have my self-consciousness not in myself but in the other. I am satisfied and have peace with myself only in this other and I AM only because I have peace with myself; if I did not have it then I would be a contradiction that falls to pieces. This other, because it likewise exists outside itself, has its self-consciousness only in me; and both the other and I are only this consciousness of being-outside-ourselves and of our identity; we are only this intuition, feeling, and knowledge of our unity. This is love, and without knowing that love is both a distinguishing and the sublation of this distinction, one speaks emptily of it.

– Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a form that wants to become a work through him. Not a figment of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands the soul’s creative power. What is required is a deed that a man does with his whole being.

– Martin Buber

Dancing Mad

Embrace your destruction… It is the fate of all things.

I will destroy everything… I will create a monument to non-existence!

Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life, knowing that they must someday die? …Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?

And did you all find your “somethings” in this broken world that just won’t die?

Bleh! You people make me sick! You sound like lines from a self-help book! If that’s how it’s going to be… I’ll snuff them all out! Every last one of your sickening, happy little reasons for living!

Life… Dreams… Hope… Where do they come from? And where do they go…? Such meaningless things… I’ll destroy them all!

– Kefka Palazzo

The Psychology of Video Games

Getting-Gamers-Large

Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People who Play Them

Video games are big business. They can be addicting. They are available almost anywhere you go and are appealing to people of all ages. They can eat up our time, cost us money, even kill our relationships. But it’s not all bad! This book will show that rather than being a waste of time, video games can help us develop skills, make friends, succeed at work, form good habits, and be happy. Taking the time to learn what’s happening in our heads as we play and shop allows us to approach games and gaming communities on our own terms and get more out of them.

With sales in the tens of billions of dollars each year, just about everybody is playing some kind of video game whether it’s on a console, a computer, a web browser, or a phone. Much of the medium’s success is built on careful (though sometimes unwitting) adherence to basic principles of psychology. This is something that’s becoming even more important as games become more social, interactive, and sophisticated. This book offers something unique to the millions of people who play or design games: how to use an understanding of psychology to be a better part of their gaming communities, to avoid being manipulated when they shop and play, and to get the most enjoyment out of playing games. With examples from the games themselves, Jamie Madigan offers a fuller understanding of the impact of games on our psychology and the influence of psychology on our games.

About the Author

Jamie Madigan, PhD, has become an expert on the psychology of video games and seeks to popularize understanding of how various aspects of psychology can be used to understand why games are made how they are and why their players behave as they do. Madigan has written extensively on the subject for various magazines, websites, blogs, and his own site at www.psychologyofgames.com. He has also consulted with game development companies and talked at conferences about how game developers can incorporate psychology principles into game design and how players can understand how it affects their play. Finally, he has appeared as an expert on the psychology of video games in dozens of print, radio, and web outlets such as The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, BBC Radio 5, the BBC, The Guardian, and more. He is a lifelong gamer.

Reflections on Another World

During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition called war; and such a war is as of every man against every man.

To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the cardinal virtues.

No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

– Thomas Hobbes

tibia map


What is Tibia?

You’ll never forget your first dragon. Tibia is an online fantasy world in which you may escape the mundane realities of your boring life. Thousands of people plug into this Matrix-esque world (it is literally a matrix) every day to mindlessly murder trolls and goblins in the vain effort to increase their skill numbers. Tibia offers a huge world to explore and more ways to die than Dark Souls (“Did you bring a rope?”). If killing the local creatures isn’t enough for you, then you will be pleased to learn that you also have the freedom to murder other players at will and loot their corpses, offering the sweet satisfaction of ruining their day while at the same time improving your own. But beware, for every time you die you will lose a small part of yourself and become that much weaker.

tibia_screenshot_3


If you find yourself being murdered more than you see fit, then you also have the freedom to band together with other adventurers (unless they be secret spies from a foreign land). Tibia is a world in which lost souls bring out the true nature of men (or children? – certainly not women). From political alliances to rogue assassins for hire, this is a land where might makes right. And might is here defined as he who can sit in his computer chair for the most amount of time. The illusory sense of progress is not to be underestimated. The most elite players have transcended the urge to piss for days and may even starve to death while staring at the wall for the sake of increasing their numbers faster than yours seem to decrease.

tibia_screenshot_6


Sure, you may rent a house (if you prefer to throw your things all over the floor), but other lost souls may also threaten to erase you and your entire virtual family from the annals of Tibian history unless you turn over the deed. You may scavenge dungeons and slay dragons for hours, only to be murdered on the way back home, effectively losing your spoils and spirit. You may wander the world for days on end, solving puzzles and catering to NPC’s riddles, only to be rewarded with a worthless virtual achievement. You may innocently offer help to a poor lost Brazilian, only to find that their God-damned cohorts are waiting in ambush to trap and murder you with geometrical precision.

tibia screenshot 9


Of course, there is something to be learned from your time in the fantastical land of Tibia: trust nobody, not even yourself. Each time your health reaches zero, whether it be from the slow tick of poison or the blade of another lost soul, the game reminds you of why you are spending your days sitting in the same chair, in the same clothes, staring at the same screen: “You are dead.” Perhaps your mundane life is not so bad after all.

you_are_dead_rl_by_yuguni-d4f2jf8


This is what is sad when one contemplates human life, that so many live out their lives in quiet lostness… they live, as it were, away from themselves and vanish like shadows… The most common form of despair is not being who you are… The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.

– Soren Kierkegaard

Video Games as Creation

Supreme Court Sees Video Games as Art

June 27, 2011|By John D. Sutter, CNN

kratos

The “God of War” games from Sony are considered violent, but the Supreme Court says such games still have protection as art.

Maybe it helps for the nation’s highest court to say it, too?

Video games are art, and they deserve the exact same First Amendment protections as books, comics, plays and all the rest, the U.S. Supreme Court said Monday in a ruling about the sale of violent video games in California.

California had tried to argue that video games are inherently different from these other mediums because they are “interactive.” So if a kid has to pick up a controller and hit the B button — over and over again until he starts to get thumb arthritis — to kill a person in a video game, that’s different from reading about a similar murder, the state said.

The Floating Continent

Kefka Palazzo

kefka

  • Phooey! Emperor Gesthal’s stupid orders! Edgar, you pinhead! Why do you have to live in the middle of a stinking desert?!? These recon jobs are the pits! …AHEM! There’s SAND on my boots!
  • Oh, Edgar… You know you only stand to lose from trying to hide her from us! Hee-hee-hee… I truly hope nothing happens to your precious Figaro!
  • Fire! Fire! Heh-heh-heh!
  • Oh? Then…welcome to my barbecue! Hee-hee-hee!
  • Son of a Submariner! You’ll pay for this!
  • Once Leo’s gone, I can turn this water into a flowing river of poison! Anyone who touches it’ll be pushing up daisies! Hee-hee…
  • (About the prisoners of the castle his men are to poisoned) Who cares? They’re the ones who were stupid enough to get caught by the enemy!
  • “Wait,” he says… Do I look like a waiter?
  • Hee-hee… Nothing beats the sweet music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison! Uwee-hee-hee!
  • I’m a god! I’m all-powerful! Uwee-hee-hee… I’ll collect more Espers I’ll extract their magic… And then… … … I’ll revive the Warring Triad! I’ve already drained all your powers! You’re useless to me now! You too! Take a hike!
  • Gah! How dare they put me in a place like this! …Hmph! I just can’t believe it! What a bore.
    • while imprisoned
  • Read my lips – mercy is for wimps! There’s a reason “oppose” rhymes with “dispose”…If they get in your way, kill them!
  • Oh dear…you wanna fight me?! This is just dreadful!
  • How ’bout a little Magitek mayhem?
  • I don’t care for the appearance of this pitiful little hamlet… So burn it!!
  • This little hamlet has too much boring and not enough burning… TORCH EVERYTHING!
  • I’d say you’re all charged up, boys and girls…or whatever… Say, remind me to show you my Magicite collection someday! You might see a few familiar faces!!! Now for a little Magicite hocus-pocus…!
  • Ooh! They’re warm to the touch! What treasures!
  • You really are a slow one. And always, always…ALWAYS such a little goody two-shoes!!!
    • to General Leo before killing him
  • Ouch! B-blood… Blood! Blood!!! You vicious brat! Argh… Grrr…! You know, you really are a stupid… Vicious… Arrogant, whiny, pampered, backstabbing, worthless… LITTLE BRAT!!!
    • to Celes after she stabs him on the Floating Continent
  • Run! Run! Or you’ll be well done!
  • Oh dear… Well, I guess I was a bit hasty in calling you a useless old man before… NOW you’re useless!
    • after killing Emperor Gestahl
  • I’ve acquired the ultimate power! Observe…Such magnificent power! You’re all nothing more than fleas compared to me now! Embrace your destruction… It is the fate of all things.
  • I will destroy everything… I will create a monument to non-existence!
  • Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life, knowing that they must someday die? …Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?
  • Why do you build, knowing destruction is inevitable? Why do you yearn to live, knowing all things must die? (Alternate version of the previous line which appears in the Anthology FMV)
  • And did you all find your “somethings” in this broken world that just won’t die?
  • Bleh! You people make me sick! You sound like lines from a self-help book! If that’s how it’s going to be… I’ll snuff them all out! Every last one of your sickening, happy little reasons for living!
  • Hee-hee-hee! But what fun is destruction if no “precious” lives are lost?
  • .. Dreams… Hope… Where do they come from? And where do they go…? Such meaningless things… I’ll destroy them all!
  • The end draws near…
    • Just before using his “Forsaken” attack for the first time.
  • ..Dreams…Hope…Where do they come from? And where do they go? None of that junk is enough to fulfill your hearts! Destruction…Destruction is what makes life worth living! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Let’s destroy everything!

Franz Kafka

kafka

Aphorisms (1918)

Many of these statements in Kafka’s notebooks were later published posthumously in Parables and Paradoxes (1946), and The Blue Octavo Notebooks (1954) as translated by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, Original German text

  • The true way is along a rope that is not spanned high in the air, but only just above the ground. It seems intended more to cause stumbling than to be walked upon.
    • 1
  • All human errors are impatience, the premature breaking off of what is methodical, an apparent fencing in of the apparent thing.
    • 2; Variant translation: All human errors are impatience, a premature breaking off of methodical procedure, an apparent fencing-in of what is apparently at issue.
  • There are two main human sins from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence.It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise; it is because of indolence that they do not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return.
  • 3, (20 October 1917); as published in The Blue Octavo Notebooks(1954); also in Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings (1954); variant translations use “cardinal sins” instead of “main human sins” and “laziness” instead of “indolence”.
  • Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.
    • 5; variant translations:

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

  • As quoted in The Unfinished Country: A Book of American Symbols(1959) by Max Lerner, p. 452; also in Wait Without Idols (1964) by Gabriel Vahanian, p, 216; in Joyce, Decadence, and Emancipation (1995) by Vivian Heller, 39; in “The Sheltering Sky” (1949) by Paul Bowles, p.213; and in the poem “Father and Son” by Delmore Schwartz.
  • There is a point of no return. This point has to be reached.
  • The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual.That is why the revolutionary spiritual movements that declare all former things worthless are in the right, for nothing has yet happened.
    • 6
  • One of the first signs of the beginnings of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from the old cell, which one hates, to a new one, which one will only in time come to hate.
    • 13
  • A cage went in search of a bird.
    • 16
  • If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without climbing it, it would have been permitted.
    • 18; (9 November 1917) a slight variant of this was published in Parables and Paradoxes(1946): If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without ascending it, the work would have been permitted.
  • Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.
    • 20 (10 November 1917)
  • From the true antagonist illimitable courage is transmitted to you.
    • 23
  • Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities for escape, again, are as many as hiding places.

There is a goal, but no way; what we call a way is hesitation.

    • 27
  • When one has once accepted and absorbed Evil, it no longer demands to be believed.
    • 28
  • The ulterior motives with which you absorb and assimilate Evil are not your own but those of Evil.

The animal wrests the whip from its master and whips itself in order to become master, not knowing that this is only a fantasy produced by a new knot in the master’s whiplash.

  • 29
  • In a certain sense the Good is comfortless.
    • 30
  • Self-control is something for which I do not strive. Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.
    • 31
  • Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross. In this they are at one with their antagonists.
    • 33
  • His weariness is that of the gladiator after the combat; his work was the whitewashing of a corner in a state official’s office.
    • 34; variant translation: His exhaustion is that of the gladiator after the fight, his work was the whitewashing of one corner in a clerk’s office.
  • Previously I did not understand why I got no answer to my question; today I do not understand how I could believe I was capable of asking. But I didn’t really believe, I only asked.
    • 36
  • The way is infinitely long, nothing of it can be subtracted, nothing can be added, and yet everyone applies his own childish yardstick to it. “Certainly, this yard of the way you still have to go, too, and it will be accounted unto you.”
    • 39
  • It is only our conception of time that makes us call the Last Judgment by this name. It is, in fact, a kind of martial law.
    • 40
  • Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made. That is not the sort of belief that indicates real faith.
    • 48
  • Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible in himself, though both the indestructible element and the trust may remain permanently hidden from him. One of the ways in which this hiddenness can express itself is through faith in a personal god.
    • 50; Der Mensch kann nicht leben ohne ein dauerndes Vertrauen zu etwas Unzerstörbarem in sich, wobei sowohl das Unzerstörbare als auch das Vertrauen ihm dauernd verborgen bleiben können. Eine der Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten dieses Verborgen-Bleibens ist der Glaube an einen persönlichen Gott.
  • The mediation by the serpent was necessary: Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.
    • 51
  • In the struggle between yourself and the world, second the world.
    • 52, Im Kampf zwischen Dir und der Welt, sekundiere der Welt.
    • Aphorism 52 in Unpublished Works 1916-1918
    • Variant translations:

In the struggle between yourself and the world, back the world.

In the struggle between yourself and the world, side with the world.

In the fight between you and the world, back the world.

  • One must not cheat anyone, not even the world of its victory.
    • 53; Variant translation: One must not cheat anybody, not even the world of one’s triumph.
  • There is nothing besides a spiritual world; what we call the world of the senses is the Evil in the spiritual world, and what we call Evil is only the necessity of a moment in our eternal evolution.

One can disintegrate the world by means of very strong light. For weak eyes the world becomes solid, for still weaker eyes it seems to develop fists, for eyes weaker still it becomes shamefaced and smashes anyone who dares to gaze upon it.

  • 54
  • There are questions we could not get past if we were not set free from them by our very nature.
    • 56
  • One tells as few lies as possible only by telling as few lies as possible, and not by having the least possible opportunity to do so.
    • 58
  • The fact that there is nothing but a spiritual world deprives us of hope and gives us certainty.
    • 62
  • Expulsion from Paradise is in its main aspect eternal: that is to say, although expulsion from Paradise is final, and life in the world unavoidable, the eternity of the process (or, expressed in temporal terms, the eternal repetition of the process) nevertheless makes it possible not only that we might remain in Paradise permanently, but that we may in fact be there permanently, no matter whether we know it here or not.
    • 65; a slight variant of this statement was later published in Parables and Paradoxes(1946):

The expulsion from Paradise is in its main significance eternal:

Consequently the expulsion from Paradise is final, and life in this world irrevocable, but the eternal nature of the occurrence (or, temporally expressed, the eternal recapitulation of the occurrence) makes it nevertheless possible that not only could we live continuously in Paradise, but that we are continuously there in actual fact, no matter whether we know it here or not.

  • What is gayer than believing in a household god?
    • 68
  • Theoretically there is a perfect possibility of happiness: believing in the indestructible element in oneself and not striving towards it.
    • 69
  • The indestructible is one: it is each individual human being and, at the same time, it is common to all, hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings.
    • 71
  • If what was supposed to have been destroyed in Paradise was destructible, then it was not decisive; but if it was indestructible, then we are living in a false belief.
    • 74
  • Test yourself on mankind. It is something that makes the doubter doubt, the believer believe.
    • 75
  • Association with human beings lures one into self-observation.
    • 77
  • Sensual love deceives one as to the nature of heavenly love; it could not do so alone, but since it unconsciously has the element of heavenly love within it, it can do so.
    • 79
  • Truth is indivisible, hence it cannot recognize itself; anyone who wants to recognize it has to be a lie.
    • 80
  • Why do we complain about the Fall? It is not on its account that we were expelled from Paradise, but on account of the Tree of Life, lest we might eat of it.
    • 82, a slight variant of this was later published in Parables and Paradoxes(1946):

Why do we lament over the fall of man? We were not driven out of Paradise because of it, but because of the Tree of Life, that we might not eat of it.

  • “Paradise”
  • The whole visible world is perhaps nothing more than than the rationalization of a man who wants to find peace for a moment. An attempt to falsify the actuality of knowledge, to regard knowledge as a goal still to be reached.
    • “Paradise”
  • We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt.
    • 83, a slight variant of this was later published in Parables and Paradoxes(1946):

We are sinful not merely because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we find ourselves is sinful, quite independent of guilt.

  • Also quoted in this form in The Parables of Peanuts(1968) by Robert L. Short, and Like a Dream, Like a Fantasy: The Zen Teachings and Translations of Nyogen (2005)
  • Evil is a radiation of the human consciousness in certain transitional positions.It is not actually the sensual world that is a mere appearance; what is so is the evil of it, which, admittedly, is what constitutes the sensual world in our eyes.
    • 85
  • The whole visible world is perhaps nothing other than a motivation of man’s wish to rest for a moment — an attempt to falsify the fact of knowledge, to try to turn the knowledge into the goal.
    • 86
  • A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light.
    • 87
  • Two possibilities: making oneself infinitely small or being so. The second is perfection, that is to say, inactivity, the first is beginning, that is to say, action.
    • 90
  • Towards the avoidance of a piece of verbal confusion: What is intended to be actively destroyed must first of all have been firmly grasped; what crumbles away crumbles away, but cannot be destroyed.
    • 91
  • The first worship of idols was certainly fear of the things in the world, but, connected with this, fear of the necessity of the things, and, connected with this, fear of responsibility for the things. So tremendous did this responsibility appear that people did not even dare to impose it upon one single extra-human entity, for even the mediation of one being would not have sufficiently lightened human responsibility, intercourse with only one being would still have been all too deeply tainted with responsibility, and that is why each things was given the responsibility for itself, more indeed, these things were also given a degree of responsibility for man.
    • 92
  • There can be knowledge of the diabolical, but no belief in it, for more of the diabolical than there is does not exist.
    • 99
  • We too must suffer all the suffering around us. We all have not one body, but we have one way of growing, and this leads us through all anguish, whether in this or in that form. Just as the child develops through all the stages of life right into old age and to death (and fundamentally to the earlier stage the later one seems out of reach, in relation both to desire and to fear), so also do we develop (no less deeply bound up with mankind than with ourselves) through all the sufferings of this world. There is no room for justice in this context, but neither is there any room either for fear of suffering or for the interpretation of suffering as a merit.
    • 102
  • Humility provides everyone, even him who despairs in solitude, with the strongest relationship to his fellow man, and this immediately, though, of course, only in the case of complete and permanent humility. It can do this because it is the true language of prayer, at once adoration and the firmest of unions. The relationship to one’s fellow man is the relationship of prayer, the relationship to oneself is the relationship of striving; it is from prayer that one draws the strength for one’s striving.
    • 106
  • “It cannot be said that we are lacking in faith. Even the simple fact of our life is of a faith-value that can never be exhausted.” “You suggest there is some faith-value in this? Onecannotnot-live, after all.” “It is precisely in this ‘Cannot, after all’ that the mad strength of faith lies; it is in this negation that it takes on form.”

There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you.

  • 109; Variant translations: It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Philosophy of Gaming

Jonathan Blow (born 1971) is an American independent video game developer. He is best known for his game Braid, which won the “Game Design” award at the Independent Games Festival in 2006. He is currently developing The Witness, to be released in 2012.

For many years Blow wrote the Inner Product column for Game Developer Magazine. He is the primary host of the Experimental Gameplay Workshop each March at the Game Developers Conference, which has become a premier showcase for new ideas in video games. In addition, Blow is a regular participant in the Indie Game Jam.

In a speech at the Free Play conference in Australia in September 2007, Blow suggested games were approaching the level of societal influence of other forms of art, such as films and novels. One example that Blow cites is World of Warcraft, which he labels “unethical”, stating that such games exploit players by using a simple reward-for-suffering scheme to keep them in front of their computer. In his view, developers need to think about what reinforcement the games are providing players when they reward them for performing certain actions. He emphasized the need for developers to design inspiring new games using “innovative, ethical and personal art.”

In an interview with Jeff Glor CBS This Morning, Blow noted that games could have a “much bigger role” in culture in the future, but current game development does not address this potential, instead aiming for low-risk, high-profit titles.

For more:

Ethical Dilemmas

The Most Dangerous Gamer

Noteworthy

Indie Game: The Movie is the first feature documentary film about making video games. It looks specifically at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their visions with the world.

After two years of painstaking work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes await the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy—the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages. At PAX, a major video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, four-years-in-the-making FEZ. Jonathan Blow considers beginning a new game after creating Braid, one of the highest-rated games of all time. Four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal— to express oneself through a video game.

Indie Game: The Movie is about the creative process and putting yourself out there through your work. It’s a journey many filmmakers, creators, artists, entrepreneurs – many people, can relate to in the digital era.

It’s available on Netflix and probably easily obtainable for free illegally on the web.