Learning morality through gaming – The Guardian

Inner life

If you’re looking for answers to life’s big philosophical questions, try playing a video game, says Jordan Erica Webber

Out of this world: Garrett Hedlund gets caught up in a cyberworld in Tron: Legacy (2010). Photograph: Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock Inner life Learning morality through gaming

If you’re looking for answers to life’s big philosophical questions, try playing a video game, says Jordan Erica Webber

In his 2014 book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald wrote that a contributing factor to Edward Snowden’s decision to leak classified information from the NSA was his consumption of video games: “The moral narrative at the heart of video games was part of his pre-adolescence and formed part of his moral understanding of the world and one’s obligation as an individual.”

Whether or not you agree with Snowden’s actions, the idea that playing video games could affect a person’s ethical position or even encourage any kind of philosophical thought is probably surprising. Yet we’re used to the notion that a person’s thinking could be influenced by the characters and conundrums in books, film and television; why not games? In fact, games have one big advantage that makes them especially useful for exploring philosophical ideas: they’re interactive.

As any student of philosophy will tell you, one of the primary ways of engaging with abstract questions is

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