Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The poster is done and just needs to be double-checked for correctness. The final part of my paper is taking a little longer than I wanted but ideally it should be up by the end of the day today.

B. F. Pons

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Hello everybody, its been a busy day!

I first did some comments on the other U.Discover Scholar's blogs, then started working on my poster. While looking for pictures, I came across 2 new articles which I read and one new book (really new, as in published a month and a half ago) which I ordered off interlibrary loan. After that, I went back to my poster. Fairly productive day if I do say so myself.

On that note, I posted the link to my Poster in progress. I have only one more bubble block to finish which corresponds to the rest of what I want to work on for my paper. I'm planning on me, more or less, being done by Monday.

B. F. Pons

Friday, July 17, 2009

Paper Update

I finished making corrections to the rough draft that I had posted. I am still working on the other sections but I just wanted to touch up what I had so far. Right now, the 4 sections are 5,200ish words. Hopefully, I will get a lot done during the weekend and will have more additions to post.

B. F. Pons

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update - Formal/Informal Rules of Video Games

Just to let you all know, I updated with the next section of my paper. I am now up to about 4,860 words so yippie!

B. F. Pons

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Change of Plans

Hello all,

Even though I did not accomplish what I said and hoped I would but I want to assure you all that it was not spent in vain. I read a new book that I got from the library and a new article I received from interlibrary loan. Moreover, I worked on my presentation for next week's meeting and my condensed paper I plan on submitting for publication. So even though I haven't done much writing, I still have been working diligently on my project for U.Discover.

B. F. Pons

Monday, July 6, 2009

Outline Update

Just to let everyone know, the finished detailed outline is up! I've been working all day so I think I'm going to relax for a bit. Either by tomorrow or Wednesday, I plan to have the rule section finished and if I am super-ambitious, I might be able to finish the section about refining what type of ethics are we dealing with when it comes to video games. Once this is done, I will start working on my presentation, which I have to give for the other U.Discover scholars during next week's lunch-time meeting.

Wish me luck,

B. F. Pons

"It's a trick question. The bread is poisoned. Also, it's not your real family. You've been cuckolded by a stronger, smarter male."

In response to the question: "Would you steal bread to feed your family?"
"It's a trick question. The bread is poisoned. Also, it's not your real family. You've been cuckolded by a stronger, smarter male."
-Dwight K. Schrute

A little out of place, I realize this, but over the July 4th Weekend, I was able to catch up on some The Office episodes I missed during the school year. I just loved this quote from the episode "Business Ethics" so much that I had to post it.

Back to this blog, I would just like to update with the fact that I am re-reading through the articles I have with a more focused mission of what I am looking for. I am doing this for my current task of adding quotes and arguments from these articles into a detailed, yet not very organized or good looking, outline at the bottom of my paper. Though this is taking a little longer than I expected, I realize that it will be worth the work in the long run. I figure, since I already have 2,000 words, I do not have to worry about the length of my draft, so I can focus in on what I want to say. Moreover, with all the articles cited and quoted, when I have a chance to go back to my paper, there will be not much left to do. All I will have to do is connect the points together and add my own analysis. It will be very useful so I have everything I want to say in front of me with little notes of how I want to say it. And, I won't have to worry about seeing something later one that I want to add to the article but now don't have a place to put it.

After the outline, I am planning on finishing the section on the formal and informal rules in a video game. So expect updates on when the outline and/or the next section has been finished and uploaded to the link.

B. F. Pons

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Midnight Update

Just wanted to let everyone know that I updated my paper today. But with this update, I have good news and bad news. Good news, I finished almost everything I wanted to say about the magic circle. Bad news, it's now up to 2,000 words. The reason this apparent good news is bad relates to the fact that I have only really delved into one mini-section of many on which I wanted to touch. Granted, I knew I would write more than 8-9 pages and I was planning on writing one major paper then condensing that into something for U.Discover, but I did not anticipate the paper to get this big, this quickly. So for this reason, I am currently planning on refocusing my presentation topic to something more like...

Rules of the Magic Circle: Ethical Judgments of Two Worlds.


Rules of the Magic Circle: Can We Make Ethical Judgments in a Virtual World?

Just a brainstorm idea for a title. Essentially, I will answer the same question I came in with, "how can cheating be unethical in a virtual world," but I will answer it in a different context. Instead of focusing on the ethical judgment of cheating, whether cheating itself can be ethical or not, I will look towards how a video game can be an "ethical body." (A term I use in my paper. Haven't read it...shame on you). Using the concept of the magic circle as well as the formal and informal rules of a game I will establish that a video game has certain codes which ought to be followed, similar to moral codes which we follow on a day to day basis. Moreover, I will also discuss the relationship of virtual ethics to our real ethics, for instance with cheating.

I know that this new topic does not have much to do with cheating specifically, but from my research and personal opinion, I just feel this is not only a much more pressing matter, giving video games an ethical context, it is also inherent to the ethical judgments of cheating. Before I can embark on evaluating if cheating in a video game is ethical or not, one must establish that playing video games produces an action which can be determined to be ethical or not. The prerequisite premise is too demanding to ignore.

As I stated before, I would still like to finish the paper in its entirety though U.Discover. Which means from I-V in the Outline. I mention this so that no one gets the impression that I am retreating from my original project or taking the easy way out. This is merely a way to present my research in a simple, focused, and understandable manner. It is also fortunate that most of what I am covering in the rules and magic circle sections of the paper tie into how we ethically judge cheating.

Hopefully I not making a bad decision on this one but I am hoping it will work out for the best for everyone,

B. F. Pons

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Paper

This will be the link that will hold my paper... and it will be updated whenever I make significant progress on it! I am planning on it being the same link for every draft that is due for U.Discover so I will place it in some box on the right for future reference.


B. F. Pons


I thought at the very least I should update with something today. Therefore, I present my current Outline/Table of Contents.

I. Introduction
II. Finding Ethics in Video Games
IIa. The Magic Circle
IIb. The Informal and Formal Rules of a Game
III. Cheating and Transcending the Magic Circle
IIIa. Types of Players
IIIb. Types of Cheating
IIIc. Ethically Problematic Cheating
IV. The Ethics of Cheating in Video Games
IVa. Moral Precedent and Virtue of the Player
IVb. Gaming Ethics Applied to Video Games
IVc. Balancing the Magic Circle, Cheating, and Fair Competition
V. Conclusion

Do not fret! I am planning on uploading the first part of my paper later tonight...hopefully.

B. F. Pons

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life and a New Direction

Hello everybody,

I was planning on posting something more substantive than this earlier than today, but recent events in my life have made it this way. On Monday, June 22nd, my Grandmother passed away after 6 long years of battling cancer. Thankfully, I was able to spend time with her last week during her final days. Because of her passing, I essentially had to drop everything and attend to the duties a grandson has. I just wanted to briefly remind all those reading my blog to be aware of the fragility of life and to cherish it everyday. Even though everyone in the program enjoys research in some manner, research is not the only thing in life. Life is more than data, articles, hypothesizes, and conclusions. Life is also about love, friendship, and living the best life you can.

On to the real meaning of this blog, the ethics of cheating in video games. While I was busy the last two weeks and even busier the last five days, I have had time to only think of my project. Therefore, I currently do not have anything tangible to present. I would, however, like to try something using this interesting tool known as a blog. I know exactly how hard it is to come up with something to comment on about other person's blog when you have not been actively researching that topic. Hence, I propose the following question for the other U.Discover scholars or any other random person reading this blog to comment on.

"Should I switch the main focus of my U.Discover presentation, 2,000-2,500 word paper, and poster to just the ethical dimension of video games, what is cheating and how can it be ethical in video games, or both?"

It's not a question of cutting down on research, I still plan on writing about everything. I just feel the amount of information out there would be much greater than 8 to 9 pages. Instead of cutting out interesting findings on both the premise of my paper and the following question arising from that premise, I would just enhance my focus on a certain area for presentation. I will also give further definition of what this means for my project.

The main premise that I felt always needed establishment is that video games have an ethical nature to them. Most wonder how this is possible when actions in a video game take place in a virtual world, with no consequence to us. Everyone I have talked to about my research as commented on this half of my proposal. The most interesting question I have heard is whether "video games have another set of morals in them?" Cheating, instead of being the focus of analysis, becomes the conclusion. Cheating would then be a transgressive activity that not only affects the virtual world, but it also reflects on the player of the video game. And, in at least this context, video games have some moral dimension to them.

Now I realize that I will probably to everything the same as I was planning, but from my most recent discussions, I am very interested on what you, the public, have to say about my inquiry.

When you comment, I would like your answer and why you think I should switch or stay the same. Also, if there is something you don't understand about either this possible change or my topic, you are always free to ask me questions!

Hopefully, the ease of commenting on a blog will help me answer my problem, and at the same time, giving the other members of U.Discover something on which to comment.


Monday, June 22, 2009

The Hardest 250 Words Ever

With the evolution of technology, video games have become an increasingly popular medium for play and self-expression. Though increasing with popularity, only a few academics have strived for connecting video games to greater psychological and philosophical concepts, such as education, aesthetics, and ethics. The main trouble facing video game studies resides in the populous’ incorrect belief that a virtual world cannot affect our “real” world, whether physically or morally. This paper will argue for the general position that video games do have a moral context by evaluating the ethical consequences of cheating. To establish an ethical framework within the virtual world, the paper will first define and elaborate on the theory of the magic circle as well as the formal and informal rules present while playing a video game. Cheating, along with other actions that could be considered cheating, will be evaluated in respect to how it affects the now established ethical framework in video games. After narrowing the down to the type of cheating which poses ethical concerns, the second area of analysis will grapple with the traditional ethical judgment of cheating being immoral with gaming ethics, a belief that victory should be the ultimate goal regardless of the means used. In the end, this paper will conclude with the belief that while cheating, in general, sets a bad moral precedence for an individual's integrity or virtue, cheating done to another person is the only form of cheating with an ethical impact. Moreover, cheating which can lay within the formal rules of the game and still provide a sense of fair competition with other people can be ethically acceptable. (270)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Research Update: Bibliography

Hey everybody,

I'm still here in Iowa and it was a rougher day at the hospital than most. Because of this, I was able to only get half of what I wanted to get done today. I have consolidated my resources and have produced a Bibliography of the articles and books that will most likely be included into my paper and research poster. I will post this now and hopefully will have time to work on an outline, which will help be organize a thorough abstract.


Bergstein, Brian and Matt Slagle. "As Currency of Online Games Gets Real, Cheating Can Turn into Fraud." HeraldTribune.com (October 2, 2007), .

Buchanan, Elizabeth A. and Charles Ess. "Introduction: The Ethics of E-Games." International Review of Informational Ethics Vol. 4. (2005): 2-6.

Consalvo, Mia. "Cheating Can Be Good For You: Educational Games and Multiple Play Styles." On the Horizon 13, no. 2 (2005): 95-100.

---. "Rule Sets, Cheating, and Magic Circle: Studying Games and Ethics." International Review of Informational Ethics Vol. 4. (2005): 7-12.

---. Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.

Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1950.

Kimppa, K. K. and A. K. Bissett. "The Ethical Significance of Cheating in Online Computer Games." International Review of Informational Ethics Vol. 4. (2005): 31-38.

Langlois, Brian. "Gamer Ethics: What's Cheating and What's Fair Game?” March 19, 2008. (accessed May 29, 2009) .

McKay,Quinn. The Bottom Line on Integrity: 12 Principles for Higher Returns. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2004.

Reynolds, Ren. "Playing a 'Good' Game: A Philosophical Approach to Understanding the Morality of GamesInternation Game Development Association (2002), http://www.igda.org/articles/rreynolds_ethics.php. (accessed May 25, 2009).

Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.

Sicart, Miguel. "Game, Player, Ethics: A Virtue Ethics Approach to Computer Games." International Review of Informational Ethics Vol. 4. (2005): 13-18.

Taylor, Laurie N. “Gaming Ethics, Rules, Etiquette, and Learning.” In Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education, by Richard E. Ferdig, 1057–65. Idea Group Inc, 2008.

Walz, James T., Orlando V. Griego, and George S. Babbes. "Does Gaming Lead to Cheating? A Model of Gaming to Cheating." Journal of College and Character Vol. 8, no. 2 (2007): 1-13. (accessed May 25, 2009).

Warner, Dorothy E. and Mike Raiter. "Social Context in Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs): Ethical Questions in Shared Space." International Review of Informational Ethics Vol. 4. (2005): 46-52.

Wolf, Mark J. P.“Morals, Ethics, and Video Games.” The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to Playstation, and Beyond, 283–91. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Woods, Stewart. (2007). “Playing With An Other: Ethics in the Magic Circle.” Cybertext Database. (accessed May 23, 2009) .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Research Update

Hello all,

Even though I am in Iowa visiting my grandma in the hospital, I have had opportunties to get work done. Just wanted to let you know that all the preliminary reading I had is almost done. Time depending, I will upload a Bibliography of the research I have read. If lucky, I will supply a preliminary outline of the paper I am going to write. Following that, I will work on the abstract due for U.Discover.

B. F. Pons

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm Back

Hello all,

I'm back from Europe (Currently luggageless)! I got a little work done but couldn't update due to little free wifi hotspots and my only tool holding the internet being an iTouch (not the best for significant work). I am dead tired so I will update tomorrow if I can. I will be officially be moving to Vermillion tomorrow so we will see if I will be able to update at all.

Until later,

B. F. Pons

Monday, June 1, 2009


Hello all,

I am going to start my journey to Germany in about 13 minutes! I just wanted to let you guys know I will continue working on my project out of the country and will do my best to post as regularly as possible.

B. F. Pons

Friday, May 29, 2009

Preliminary Schedule

Hello all and welcome to the Ethics of Cheating in Video Games Blogspot!

To give a quick update on my progress, I am almost done going through the 3 books I received through interlibrary loan and collecting the most pertinent information from those books. I am also going to meet with my faculty sponsor tomorrow and see what he has to say about the project. For those of you who do not know my adviser, his name is Vaughn Huckfeldt and he is a professor of philosophy here at the University of South Dakota.

The second item I will post today is my temporary schedule that I will try to adhere to during this summer. We have ten weeks for U.discover so that is how I will break my schedule down.

Week 1 - Gather and collect as much information as I can find on my topic.
Week 2- Germany (Brainstorm and write out outlines in my free time).
Week 3- Germany (Brainstorm and write out outlines in my free time).
I will also start on the introduction to the 2,000 -2,500 word paper.
(On a personal note, I get to move into my new apartment when I get back from Germany!)
Week 4- I need to go to Iowa to take care of my Grandmother for a little less than a week. So after the meeting on Tuesday, I will drive to Iowa and bring all my materials with me. During this week, I will advance my progress on my paper, go through all my articles and book chapters, and highlight everything I wish to cover in my paper and on my poster.
Week 5- Write the first draft of the paper.
Week 6- Work on the Powerpoint for my poster and go through my paper.
Week 7- Continue working on the poster and the paper. Give/work on my10 min presentation to the rest of the U.Discover scholars.
Week 8-Continue working on the poster and the paper. Give/work on my10 min presentation to the rest of the U.Discover scholars.
Week 9-Finalize the poster and work on the final draft of the paper. Possibly give my10 min presentation to the rest of the U.Discover scholars.
Week 10- Present Poster on July 27th from 4-6 P.M.

Moreover, something that usually helps me personally is if I just lay out everything that needs to be done for this project, along with other tasks that will eventually tie into what I am doing.

  • Paper
    • Major Paper
      • Write out everything I find relevant to the topic into the paper.
      • Work on setting up the problem and my personal solution.
    • 2,000-2,500 Word paper
      • After the major paper is written, I will condense everything into a paper 8 to 10 sides long.
      • This is what I will use as my presentation paper.
      • It will have the most important points that I discovered from my research.
  • Poster
    • Well, I don't know exactly how I will achieve this since we have not had our poster seminar yet in the U.Discover meetings, but I do know I have to make one.
  • Work on my old Video Game Papers
    • The ultimate goal I have with this research is that I can combine everything I have done and create a substantial work on the Aesthetics and the Ethics of Cheating in Video Games. One can find all the research I have conducted on Art and Aesthetics of Video Games in my Wikispace found in the right hand column of this blog.
Until Later,

B. F. Pons

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Post

Hey everyone, (most likely just the other U.discover people)

My name is Brendan (Bo) Fox Pons and this is the first post of my Ethics of Cheating in Video Games blog for the U.Discover program here at USD. My main issue that I will wish to tackle with my research is the question of whether or not we can classify actions, such as cheating, in video games as ethical or not. Even though today was the first day that we have had a meeting for this program, I have already done a little research on my own and am getting more and more excited about this project as I continually find information. Before anyone accuses me of being an over-achiever, I would like to mention that I will be unfortunately gone for two of the ten weeks that we will be working on U.Discover. I simply had to make up a lot of time before we started.

So far, I have received three books from interlibrary loan and many more are on their way. I have also found numerous articles on GoogleScholar which have been useful up to now. Along with fancy articles to quote in my research paper and poster, these articles have been filled with information and terms of which I have never heard or considered. My original ethical judgement of cheating in video games was that cheating on the personal level was amoral while cheating in multiplayer and interpersonal competitive games would be deemed immoral. While this general thesis has not drastically changed, the terminology which I can phrase this position has changed. I currently hold that due to the effects of the magic circle, a state which one must follow the rules of the game and ignore the conventions of real society, cheating should be, on some level, viewed as transgressive against the integrity of the game and equally as immoral as cheating in real life, but with cheating at merely a personal level, the personal effects of cheating in games and their following ethical judgements cannot not be so easily discerned. I have also learned that ethical complications do not only occur with interpersonal competitions, such as playing Halo 3 or Call of Duty online, but cheating can also effect real-life currency. Games such as Second Life have players buy virtual currency which could then be re-transferred into real currency. When players cheat in these games, not only is one cheating in the game, but that player is also cheating in real life by acquiring money that would not be rightfully theirs. Even though this issue still fits with interpersonal relations, the real-life monetary aspect to games was one that I did not consider and that I was thankful for discovering.

Hopefully, this brief post has been semi-educational and has fostered some interest in my research,

B. F. Pons