The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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ZeroAX
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Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no...

by ZeroAX Tue May 28, 2013 2:11 pm

Are there any good examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no other medium could?

This came to my mind a little way back, when I was playing Deus Ex Human Revolution and there was so much talk about how people were protesting that they'll be left behind by the humans who got augmentations (a real future social issue, and one which you can compare with similar present problems).

The thing is, even though the game touched on a very good issue for a science fiction story, it missed a great opportunity. It should have put you through a difficult situation, first as a normal human and then as an augmented one. Then you would see how tempting the idea to augment yourself would be, but also (if the story would spend more time on this issue) how hated you would be by other normal humans, and all that told through gameplay.


Anyway that was just an example, but I was wondering if anyone has ever played a game which touched on real life issues in a way which would make it a totally unique (and superior for getting the point across) experience compared to movies, books or other more story focused media?

All that spring to my mind are just missed opportunities.
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by o.pwuaioc Tue May 28, 2013 2:13 pm

Any implementation of the trolley dilemma would count.
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by ZeroAX Tue May 28, 2013 2:30 pm

No I don't mean what stuff COULD work on games, I was asking more of stuff already done in games. As in made released games, not stuff we'd make if we designed games.
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by o.pwuaioc Tue May 28, 2013 2:40 pm

Yeah, and plenty of games have introduced the trolley dilemma (vaguely speaking, more generally given users moral dilemmas).

At it's most basic level: http://www.pippinbarr.com/games/trolley ... oblem.html

But even decision making in games like Fable and Bully offer moral dilemmas that differ from other media. I'm sure others can think of better examples, as I haven't really kept up with modern games.

The new Lara Croft comes to mind, too. The vividness of her deaths depend on your actions, so in a way you feel partially responsible for their death. All games should theoretically allow this, but instead of getting upset at dying, I just get ticked. Dying in games is an inconvenience, not something to get upset about. But when games dramatize it - oh! also like in Sonic - it places more responsibility onto the gamer, something that books and movies cannot really do.
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by J T Tue May 28, 2013 3:00 pm

Cart Life captures the mundane dreariness of a low wage existence almost as well as being an actual newspaper stand owner. Just reading about it or watching it wouldn't feel as oppressive as playing it.

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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by ZeroAX Tue May 28, 2013 3:37 pm

Ah, leave it to indie games to push the medium forward where big budget games wouldn't go :)
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by Hatta Tue May 28, 2013 4:29 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:Yeah, and plenty of games have introduced the trolley dilemma (vaguely speaking, more generally given users moral dilemmas).


The hard part is getting them to be seen by the player as moral dilemmas. As a player, I don't care whether one virtual human dies or six (or 6 billion), all I care about is what gets me more XP. There are no moral dilemmas in games at all, only differing strategies.
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by o.pwuaioc Tue May 28, 2013 4:41 pm

Hatta wrote:
o.pwuaioc wrote:Yeah, and plenty of games have introduced the trolley dilemma (vaguely speaking, more generally given users moral dilemmas).


The hard part is getting them to be seen by the player as moral dilemmas. As a player, I don't care whether one virtual human dies or six (or 6 billion), all I care about is what gets me more XP. There are no moral dilemmas in games at all, only differing strategies.

Well, it depends. In GTA, I entirely agree. But where actions have consequences, it can matter. At very simplistic level, I recall the scene in Fable where you have to choose between the guard or his brother, a bandit. A little story plays out. Who do you choose? They both offer gold and XP. Choosing the guard will make you "good", but the brother has the more compelling story. I wish games would take it even further. Some Sim and strategy games do this.
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by ZeroAX Tue May 28, 2013 4:49 pm

I think the good and evil counters completely ruin moral dilemmas in video games. The ending of infamous 2 had a very good decision to make, but by having you choose between good and evil, it had pretty much taken the decision for you. No time to think for yourself, no nothing.

But then again it was just a usual hero choice. I would love to see racism explored through games. (other than the games themselves being racist, which is pretty much well explored already)
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Re: Examples of gaming touching on real life issues like no.

by o.pwuaioc Tue May 28, 2013 4:52 pm

That's why trolley dilemma was my first thought. Moral ambiguity is the key here. What may seem good may not be good.
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