I'm interested in creating video games that influence people in a positive way. On the surface, this seems like a tech question, but in reality, it's more philosophical. For instance..

  1. Why do games cause many to disengage from the real world?
  2. Why do social games encourage behavior we wouldn't attempt in the "real" world (e.g.: immoral or risky acts)?
  3. What are the key differences between the real world and virtual world that are relevant to these behavioral differences? After all, both can have a real effect (e.g.: my acts can hurt the feelings of real people in a social game)
  4. What makes things fun?
  5. What makes things seem like work?
  6. How can 4 & 5 be reconciled?

How can we leverage our understanding of the above to develop games that encourage the development of morals, success, achievement and problem solving while remaining fun?

  • 1
    This isn't a philosophical question. However, a quick answer to your question is "yes". Look up edutainment. I've used games to teach and learn, and one genre of games that has helped me a lot are typing games, which got my typing speed up to 120 wpm! Not bad for a guy who failed typing in high school :D – R. Barzell Oct 15 '15 at 17:21
  • Also, I wouldn't let your passion for productive games be your guide. If you get into the industry, chances are you'll need to work on whatever they tell you to work on, so you're likely to spend your time on non-productive games. For you to realize your vision, you might have to pursue it independently, as a labor of love. – R. Barzell Oct 15 '15 at 17:29
  • 2
    not worth an answer, but: every game including the need of cooperation between players are a playground for learning and applying moral concepts. Even more if they include factions. WoW is a place where you can get an idea of which people are highly immoral in quite a short time, for example. – Philip Klöcking Oct 15 '15 at 18:31
  • 1
    @ChrisAscencio ok, I edited it and added some more tags. It's more obviously philosophical, I hope it still preserves the spirit of your question. – R. Barzell Oct 15 '15 at 19:59
  • 1
    I could imagine an adventure game or an RPG in which the player's character is presented with moral choices that have consequences for the other characters. This would have to be handled very skilfully: it would be pointless just to have something like "you stabbed this person, so your reputation goes down 5 points". Like a good novelist, you would need to provide enough story and depth that the player cares about the characters in the game and doesn't want them to be hurt, or maybe does want some of them to be hurt if they deserve it. – Bumble Oct 16 '15 at 3:57