The Videogame Ethics Reader

Edited by Jose P. Zagal

Essential reading for anyone interested in the moral dimensions of contemporary play.
—Chris Bateman, game designer, philosopher, and author of “Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames” and “Imaginary Games”…a thoughtful book for anyone interested in the importance and impact of games in our lives.
—Drew Davidson, Director, Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh Carnegie Mellon University

Videogames are the dominant art form of the 21st century. How we go about designing and creating them, what we choose to say and express with them, and how we engage with and play them, reflects and informs our behavior and broader understanding of morality and ethics.

In this book, Zagal has collected a series of essays that offer an amazing array of perspectives and views. Game designers, sociologists, legal scholars, media theorists, game researchers, philosophers, and more, all offer their views and insights on varied and diverse sets of issues. Topics include potential effects of violent content in videogames, cheating and anti-social behavior, business practices in the games industry, social and cultural diversity and representation in games, moral values in games and gameplay, freedom of expression, and how games are uniquely positioned as an art form to encourage players to reflect on ethics and morality.

The Videogame Ethics Reader is a unique collection of writings on videogames and ethics by leading scholars and practitioners. It includes game analyses, case studies, and thought-provoking essays that serve as a valuable companion to traditional ethics textbooks. This book provides an entry point for thinking, deliberating, and discussing ethical topics surrounding videogames and their accompanying technologies. It also serves as a springboard for examining how this relatively new medium can provide us with insights on many of the moral and ethical questions that have been with us for centuries.

José ZagalDr. José P. Zagal is a game designer and scholar. He serves on the faculty at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media where he teaches a variety of courses on game design and analysis, online communities, and ethics. In his research he explores the analysis, design, and use of videogames for encouraging ethical reasoning and reflection. He is also interested in supporting games literacy through the use of collaborative learning environments. His book on this topic, Ludoliteracy: Defining, Understanding, and Supporting Games Education was published in 2010. Zagal is a member of the executive board of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA). He has published many articles on videogames in leading journals in the field of game studies and regularly presents on these and other topics at international conferences.