Since there is philosophy of literature and philosophy of film I was wondering if someone could describe the current state of the philosophy of video games since there doesn't seem to be any articles in Standford encyclopedia of philosophy for it.

  • 1
    Maybe SEP has no entry on it because there is no Phil of VG... Sep 8, 2020 at 13:10
  • 1
  • 1
    Unfortunately (IMO) you are right. See J R Sageng etc, The Phil of Computer Games (Springer 2012) Sep 8, 2020 at 14:01
  • 1
    I don't think query means "philosophy of video games" per se, but philosophical discussions of the structure and implications of video games, which is fair enough and might fall under philosophy of media and language or issues like identity or cybernetics. But this kind of stuff is more in line with critical theory and culture studies in the lineage of Debord or Adorno. And distasteful to the philosophical purist. Sep 8, 2020 at 22:01
  • 1
    This question might only be sensible to digital natives. There seems to be a small and slipshod effort to create such a discussion. Older, non-digital thinkers won't see the relation to philosophy. If this idea is interesting, you might want to think of video games as interactive narrative. Essentially, you'd be interested in literary criticism.
    – J D
    Sep 9, 2020 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


RPG games in the Dungeons and Dragons style often include interestingly precise examples of moral disjunction, given in dialogue trees and attendant play. IMHO, the implicit ethical philosophy, here, is one that is usually much more sensitive to possible moral neutrality than established technical theories, which are often used manipulatively (person A wants person B to do X, so A tries to eliminate a neutral option vs. X so that B is preemptively guilt-tripped into X'ing) with an eye towards incessant absolutism and rigorism.

So hopefully, a generation raised on morally detailed, interactive narrative will be inspired thereby. (Unfortunately, in part, we got QAnon instead 🤣)

There's also the "gaming as art" question. SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS is sometimes seen as an example of a game where the method of play is more than just a means to "winning," and in fact the game's narrative doesn't allow for true, final victory---defeat is inevitable, so that the final moment of play expressed this defeat directly (you can flail around but the enemy object in the scene succeeds regardless). So is the gameplay itself used as a medium for aesthetic expression as such? Were the notorious camera angle flip-flops depreciators of this aesthetic? Etc. I have had too many social problems over the last decade to track the field better, so I can't testify well to many other possible examples of games-as-art, though.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .