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G4C: Games Should Make Players Uncomfortable

Games need difficult, negative or uncomfortable experiences to create the kind of empathy and understanding necessary for social change.

So suggests researcher Sam Gilbert of the MacArthur-funded GoodPlay Project, which explores the intersection of ethics and online worlds, virtual spaces and games, speaking on a panel at the Gamasutra-attended 2009 Games For Change conference in New York.

When asked by an audience member, all of these panelists unilaterally agreed that when public outcry comes up around issues like the ethnicity debate surrounding Resident Evil 5 or the real-world war concepts in Konami's canned Six Days In Fallujah, the worst things teams can do is distance themselves from the uncomfortable ethical conflicts under the pretext of making a product just for fun.

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