Video Games: Training for Psychopaths… Maybe Saints?

In Norway, a high school teacher is using video games to teach ethical frameworks, reports Laura Hudson for FiveThirtyEight:

The first time I played the “Walking Dead” video game, I killed an elderly man. It seemed like the right thing to do….

Later, some unnerving statistics appeared on the screen: how my choices compared to everyone else who had played the game. I saw a long, red bar of discord stretch out next to my decision to kill Larry. Over 68 percent of players had disagreed and refused to take his life. I gulped. Until that moment, I’d felt certain I made the right decision. Now I wasn’t so sure….

The data doesn’t just influence players, it’s also an important tool that allows developers to tailor the game as they’re making it. In every episode, there are decision points designed as narrative barometers, opportunities to gauge how the audience feels — and whether they’re having the reactions Telltale [Games] hoped for.

Read more about how the role playing aspect of inhabiting different perspectives and the complex moral dilemmas of deciding who to kill or to let kill introduces relational ethics, consequential ethics, and the ethics of duty and virtue. What do you think about using video games as ethical training grounds?


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