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)


  1. This is a very interesting study, especially since most teenagers can relate to the video game aspect of the paper. To make sure I understand right, you believe that cheating on a video game does not mean that the person has poor morals? I was also wondering what kinds of games you are looking into this kind of information on.

  2. That is correct. My main concern is if cheating in video games can be discussed in terms of morals and ethics. The integrity of the players, however, is not in question because I am actually planning on arguing for some cheating to be ethically acceptable. The games I play on a regular basis will probably be the ones referred to most often. (These include, but are not limited to Super Smash Brothers, Pokemon, Grand Theft Auto, Guitar Hero, and Halo) But, there are other excellent examples found in my research that I plan to use in my paper and poster. (World of Warcraft and Second Life to name just two.)

    Thanks for the comment,

    B. F. Pons