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  • Author or Editor: Víctor Navarro-Remesal x
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What is video game culture and video games as culture? Culture at Play avoids easy answers and deceitful single definitions. Instead, the collected essays included here navigate the messy and exciting waters of video games, of culture, and of the meeting of video games and culture, and do so from four perspectives: Players: Types and Identities; The Human/The Machine: Agents, Ethics, and Affect; Compassion, Recognition, and the Interpersonal; and Learning through Play. As a form of play, video games can greatly affect our lives. As digital objects, they participate in our digital lives. As both, they have a noticeable impact on our relationships with others, with society, and with ourselves, and this is the scope of this book.
In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World


‘Press x to pay respects’, an instruction in both Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision, 2014) and Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios, 2011), is a contextual action that seems to be included to give depth to the game’s events. But what is really happening in these interactions? Are they designed in a way that encourages the recognition of those to whom we are paying our respect, or do they act as simple requirements to progress? What is the role of the (virtual) Other in ludofictional worlds? In this chapter, we aim to study the player’s encounters with virtual agents and the possibilities they open for recognition and compassion. Authors like Sicart (2009, 2013), Mortensen (2004), and Zagal (2011) have shown that games can encourage ethical reflection and they have established frameworks to analyse ethical gameplay design. Here, we contribute to this discussion by proposing an ethical model based on the concepts of recognition, as discussed by Hegel, Appiah, Butler, or Frankfurt, among others, and of suffering and compassion, as described in Buddhist philosophy. This model distinguishes two levels of suffering in games: ludic and narrative-thematic. It is this second level that can lead to compassionate play. We believe this model illustrates vital parts of the act of play and can help conscientious designers (as described by Flanagan and Nissenbaum), scholars, and players, to discuss and design ethical games.

In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World
In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World