Gene Koo sets up the problem: We are wired to react morally to the people we see, but we have trouble extending that to people at a distance. Yet, we have to broaden our moral embrace if we are to make it through another century. So, Gene wonders whether games might help:
Computer games offer at least two possible responses to our collective human predicament. First, they can open players’ eyes to the moral implications of systems by experimenting with them and witnessing the results. Games might offer moments of reflection and of epiphany, connecting personal morality with systemic awareness. A player might see how tweaking health care policies affects a family’s lives, or how environmental regulation could shape the destiny of a polar bear. Games might lead people to begin to see a soul within the machine.
And perhaps systems might begin to learn lessons from game design. Why must the computer systems that exercise more and more control over our daily lives be morally inert? If computer games â€” mere software â€” can lead players to weep, perhaps the mechanization of our world needn’t be soulless…
Gene’s not saying that games will save us. He’s suggesting that morally designed games might help.
So, before you point to all the games that seem to abrade our conscience â€” Grand Theft Auto, just about every first person shooter ever made, even PacMan if you look at it from the point of view of the dots â€” you might want to note that The Sims has sold 100 million copies.
Categories: Uncategorized dw