Question of the Day

At Kotaku, Joshua Wise has a lengthy post about the morality of video games and the efforts of some designers to create reinforcing moral systems in gaming environment. He then proposes an alternative model:

As Aristotle said, the more a person does the good, the more they like doing the good, and conversely, the more a person does evil, the more they are inclined to continue to do evil. Both reason and experience back up Aristotle' s observation. If a person acts in a pattern of charity, they will become the kind of person who is inclined toward charity. If a person habitually degrades other people, they will find it difficult to think well of someone new they meet. One can make an argument for this easily observed reality from theological, philosophical, psychological, and physical grounds. Given this, perhaps the next evolution of the morality system in games should be one which pushed a player toward a particular choice depending on their tendencies. If the player has thrown someone out of the window the past three times he or she has argued, shouldn't that be what he or she is inclined to do this time?

Implementation could be achieved in game by either limiting the player's time to make a choice, and by weighing the way he or she starts off making the choice, i.e. it's easier to click that part of the screen, or you have to go a farther distance with the cursor to get to the alternate choice. This would allow the user to make choices both in line and out of line with his or her tendency, but it would also show how making choices shapes what is most natural for a person. It would also be a good indication to the player of what kind of road their character is heading down. There may come a day, the game might say through this interface, where you are so far gone that the good choice will be utterly out of reach in the time you have. Or it might say that there is a time ahead when that bad choice is so distant from your own character and morality, that it is well nigh impossible for you to make that choice.

So, basically, a player could direct his player at will, but would have to show some sort of moral consistency (something that we've previously discussed).

Would you like to see such a system -- or any other moral system -- in video games?

Link | Image: Eidos

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