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Do players keep real life morality in video games?

Introduction

Whether morality governs the actions of video game players and the moral implications of video games has been widely discussed over the past few years. Increased application of virtual reality and development of violent games has raised the question whether violent video games promote violent behavior among players. The behavior exhibited by players in real life and in the virtual is governed by morality. So, do players keep real life morality in video games? Is their honor amongst gamers? This paper seeks to answer these questions and argues that real life morality and honor is impacted by the player’s actions.

Morality in video games

Moore (69) states that video games provide players with immersive experience and presents stories that future both evil and good. Narrative arcs in video games are complex and video game players have to put themselves in certain positions in the respective characters they play. In this positions, video game players empower themselves with skills in decision making as well as well as moral perception. Video games provide a platform upon which theories on the universe and the human self can be explored. Moore points out that exploring the fantasy worlds created by video games enable players get wind of the moral fabric that holds in both the fantasy and real words. Moral truths are constant in both the virtual and real world, and this means that players have to act with morality as per the characters they take in a game. A villain character acts with the morals that govern bad people in the real world while heroes abide by the moral codes that good people express in the real world.

Just like in the real world, morality principles also exist in the virtual world of video games. Morality in these games makes it possible for players to make choices during game play. The morality system in games enables players decide which path to follow in order to overcome obstacles and draws the players into the virtual world. Video game players have a choice of following their own moral rules or those created by the game developers. Being able to chose between the two enables them find out what set of rules are best to follow. A recent study has shown that most video game players apply the same moral codes they apply in real life situations in video games (Forest). The study argues that video game players treat the games like real life situations, meaning the actions they take in the games reflect their moral values in the real world. This shows that video game players are governed by the same set of morals that governs them in the real world.

Video game players are able to remake the games and come up with their own set of rules. In additionally, some games give players a lot of freedom and do not have a well established moral system that must be followed in order for the game’s ultimate goal to be arrived at. Shulzke (45) points out that games are half-real and that although the world players play in are fictional, the actions portrayed by the players in the virtual world determine the relation the players have with the game in the real world. Video games make it possible for players to explore different ways through which moral problems in both the virtual and real world can be resolved. The complex moral dilemmas that some games present require players to act with discretion. This is achieved through creation of compelling situations in the virtual world that would require the players to test their real life values. This is a clear indicator that players are moral beings, and that they have to apply real life morals in games from time to time.

In Ender’s games, players are presented with an open world, where they are able to make real life choices. The choices they make determine their individual survival, the survival of the human race as well as their position in general. The games Ender and other children engage in echoes the real life situations where no one is obliged to follow any given set of moral rules. Moral rules are those that are widely accepted in the society and by following the rules set forth in a game, players show that they accept the moral codes set in the virtual world, although they are free to against them. For every decision made in a video game, there are certain consequences. This means that players have to think, just like in real life scenarios, before making a choice.

Video games present players with certain rules that they have to abide by in order to achieve the game’s ultimate aim. Morality has to do with what is right. By acting according to the game’s rules, the players prove that real life morality is also maintained in Video games. The virtual world is different from the real world, meaning that the set of rules applicable in the virtual world are different from the ones applicable in the real world. However, the set of rules in both the worlds seek to govern the actions of the same individuals or individuals. This means that they have to act with the same moral codes in the virtual and real world. Experiences resulting from video games are able to arouse ethical reflection and create ethical ‘experiences (Murphy & Zagal, 69). This is achieved through the games’ ability to encourage players to engage in certain behaviors while discouraging others. It thus follows that players keep the real life morality in video games in order to achieve the game’s ultimate aim.

Video game players are moral beings and have to abide by the moral laws. In the virtual world of games, they have to act in a way that will ensure they progress to the next level. Their actions have to promote the greatest good for themselves and their allies in the game. This means that they have to make the right decisions, and this is where real life morality comes in play. Recent studies have shown that immoral actions in the virtual world elicit guilt feeling among players in the real world. A study conducted by the University of Buffalo, led by Prof Matthew Grizzard, found out that the feeling of guilt in players, following incidents of immoral actions in video games, made them more moral sensitive in the real world (Wollaston, 2014. This proves that video game players keep real life morality and that their actions have an impact on their morality.

Gellman (2009) points out that video games arouse emotions among players. He argues that violent video games make it possible for players to emotionally adapt to such scenarios in real life. The players have to be guided by instinct and in most games, they have to fight against villains, with the ultimate aim of emerging as heroes. It thus follows that they have to maintain their real life morality because the games are a stimulation of real life scenarios. Additionally, hurting other virtual players or getting hurt as a virtual player arouses emotions among players. Real life morality is exhibited amongst players in that they will be happy to defeat characters pitted against them and at the same time be dejected when they fail against the characters they are competing against. The ultimate aim of video games is to emerge as a winner, which in turn bestows honor on the players and the characters they are playing. Just like in real life, the players have to maintain morality in order to achieve the hero’s status.

In Ender’s game, the players are trained to defend the human race using mind games and stimulations of real life scenarios. The ultimate aim of the program is to defend the world from alien invasion. The players have to maintain real life morality in the games due to the implications the games would have on the future of humanity. By choosing to defend their own in the game, they prove that real life morals are maintained in the game. According to Thompson, morality and ethics are closely related. He points out that technological advancement has resulted to more ethical dilemmas than ever thought before. He argues that video games provide a break from reality and that they offer a base on which human morality can be explored. Additionally, he points out that ethics adds to realism of the game. Since the game in “Ender’s games” sought to depict a real life situation, it can be argued that morality came in play. The players had to keep the real life morality in the game just like they would in real life. The lives of the children at the training facility are centered on playing games. They know that the lives of others depend on how successful they are at the games. For them, engaging in the game is not fun, but an important aspect of their lives. It thus follows that they have to apply real life morality due to the serious nature and implications the games have on their future.

Brey (5) points out that the use of virtual reality has raised ethical concerns that range from application of the technology to real life implications of utilizing virtual reality. He points out that virtual reality allows users to do actions that would otherwise be unwelcomed in real life. Virtual reality gives players freedom to do what they desire to do. In “Ender’s games,” the simulations allow the players to come up with the best strategies that would see them win. The players have to act within a given set of rules and regulations. The fact that winners are eventually awarded, points out that players have to act with moral discretion. Not only should they ensure that fellow team members are safe, but they have to achieve the ultimate goal, which is to win the game. Brey argues that virtual reality based games have raised concerns because they cause antisocial or immoral actions in the real world. In “Ender’s games,” the aim is to defend the human race and the actions depicted in the game would not be considered morally wrong even in the real world. This means that the players’ engagement in the virtual world is guided by real life morality.

Video game players are able to develop strong bonds and relations. This is despite the fact that they usually compete against each other sometimes. In Ender’s games, Strong bonds and relationships develop between the players, even though the wars they engage in are virtual stimulations. The fact that the players also get emotional shows that they act with the same kind of morality as in real life situations. Murphy and Zagal point out that some actions in video games are rewarded while others are discouraged. Good actions are always rewarded while bad actions are discouraged. In “Ender’s game”, the players have to draw a clear line between good and bad actions. The ultimate good action is to defend the human race from alien attack. Those who excel in doing so are rewarded. Establishing strong bonds with other players and doing what the game requires in order to be awarded shows that video game players keep the real life morality even in the virtual world.

Constitutive rules in video games make it possible for players to act according to certain moral requirements. The rules restrict players from using certain methods to achieve the ultimate price. It is these rules that make the video game worthwhile and challenging. The final game the Ender engaged in did not have any constitutive rule. The only rule was to defeat the buggers. Ender unknowingly destroys the entire race of buggers together with his allies. In his reflection after the incident, he admits that he would not have participated in the game had he known it was real. The scenario presented in this game shows that there is a narrow distinction between the games and reality and that morality must come in play in both situations. By regretting his actions, Ender’s shows that the players in the game were guided by morality and had to take care of each other even in the virtual world.

Morality in Ender’s games

In “Ender’s games”, the players are subjected to computer simulations as part of their training. They are subjected to situations where they have to protect their own kind. By choosing to defend their own in the game, they prove that real life morals are maintained in the game. According to Thompson, morality and ethics are closely related. He points out that technological advancement has resulted to more ethical dilemmas than ever thought before. He argues that video games provide a break from reality and that they offer a base on which human morality can be explored. Additionally, he points out that ethics adds to realism of the game. Since the game in “Ender’s games” sought to depict a real life situation, it can be argued that morality came in play. The players had to keep the real life morality in the game just like they would in real life.

Brey (5) points out that the use of virtual reality has raised ethical concerns that range from application of the technology to real life implications of utilizing virtual reality. He points out that virtual reality allows users to do actions that would otherwise be unwelcomed in real life. Virtual reality gives players freedom to do what they desire to do. In “Ender’s games,” the simulations allow the players to come up with the best strategies that would see them win. The players have to act within a given set of rules and regulations. The fact that winners are eventually awarded, points out that players have to act with moral discretion. Not only should they ensure that fellow team members are safe, but they have to achieve the ultimate goal, which is to win the game. Brey argues that virtual reality based games have raised concerns because they cause antisocial or immoral actions in the real world. In “Ender’s games,” the aim is to defend the human race and the actions depicted in the game would not be considered morally wrong even in the real world. This means that the players’ engagement in the virtual world is guided by real life morality.

Ender engages in a number of games during his training. He is able to win all the games due to his superior cognitive ability. Morality and cognitive ability are closely linked since morality plays an important role in decision making. Players in Ender’s games had to make the right decisions in order to win. Most of the players who engaged in the games with Ender sought to humiliate. Ender had a great sense of morality and focused on winning, a fact which saw him defeat all his opponents. It thus follows that players of any computer game have to show some levels of real life morality in order to win. “Ender’s games” also questions what is real and what reality is. The game sought to explore the reactions of players in real life situations by simulating the real life events. When playing the first game “buggers and astronauts,” Ender sees it as just being a game. Peter shows his hatred for Ender through this game. This scenario shows how rival players take their rivalry to the virtual world.

The games in Ender’s games are designed for kids who are perceived as being morally upright. They have to protect the human race and are thus presented with a number of ethical dilemmas in this quest. A number of sacrifices have to be made in the games. Making the right kind of decisions in the games requires real life judgment and morality. The outcomes of the games in Ender’s games are also worth noting. Not only do they result into regret, rivalry and jealousy, but they also result into real life deaths. These outcomes show the seriousness with which the games had to be treated with.

Conclusion

In conclusion, video game players exhibit real life morality in the virtual world. Not only do they strive to achieve the ultimate goal of the game, but they abide by the rules set in the games. Additionally, players develop strong bonds with other players and their virtual characters. They are able to exhibit emotions such as happiness, deject and anger, which proves that real life morality comes in play in the games. In “Ender’s Games” players keep the real life morals in the game. Not only are they dedicated to defending the entire human race, but they abide by the games regulations. In addition to that, the fact that good actions are rewarded calls for real life morality when making decisions in the games. By choosing to defend their own in the game, the players prove that real life morals are sustained even in the virtual world. Morality in the games is also shown by the emotions and behaviors such as regret, rivalry and jealousness that the players exhibit.

Points for the Rationale Map

Players keep real life morality in video games:

1st reason- Moral truths are constant in both the virtual and real world

2nd reason- although they might be different from those in the real world, morality principles also exist in the virtual world of video games

3rd reason- video game players treat the games like real life situations, meaning the actions they take in the games reflect their moral values in the real world

Objection- the virtual environment is different from the real life environment, meaning that players are able to violate real life morality without any consequence in their real life.

Supports for reason 1- Just like in the real world, players have to chose between being bad or good

Support for reason 2- The players have to follow a certain set of rules in order to achieve the games’ goals. They have to make important decisions, which like in real life, have a impact on their virtual life.

Support for reason 3- the actions players take in the games reflect their moral values in the real world. The actions portrayed by the players in the virtual world determine the relation the players have with the game in the real world

Rebuttal- Some games offer players great freedom and do not restrict them to a certain set of rules. These enables players remake the games and come up with their own set of rules

Work cited

Adrian, Forest. ‘Videogames And Morality – Separating Fact And Fiction’. The Conversation. N. p., 2012. Web. 19 Jul. 2014.

Brey, Philip. ‘The Ethics Of Representation And Action In Virtual Reality’. Ethics and Information Technology 1.1 (1999): 5—14. Print.

Gellman, Lindsay. ‘Probing The Morality Of Video Games’. Yale Daily News. N. p., 2014. Web. 17 Jul. 2014.

Moore, Cameron . ‘Making Moral Choices In Video Games’. (2011): 69-77. Print.

Murphy, John and Zagal, Jose. «Video games and the Ethics of Care.» International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated
Simulations, 3.3 (2011) 69-81

Schulzke, Marcus. ‘Moral Decision Making In Fallout’. Game Studies 9.2 (2009): n. pag. Print.

Thompson, Adam. Morality Play — Creating Ethics in Video Games», 2014. 3 July 2014, http://www.adamjthompson.com/thought/CreatingEthics.html

Woollaston, Victoria. ‘Do Video Games Make People KINDER?’. Mail Online. N. p., 2014. Web. 17 Jul. 2014.